January 1999 News

Crunch® introduces locking pliers to the folding multi-purpose tool

January, 1999, Portland, OR—A new Leatherman multi-tool scheduled for public release in the fall of 1999 introduces several unique features. Crunch, according to the company, is a new kind of Leatherman made for the most demanding professional or do-it-yourselfer.

Foremost among the features Crunch offers is a set of locking pliers. It is the only folding tool with locking pliers currently being offered. With jaws that open to clamp on a 1" diameter pipe, Crunch will give a combination of compactness and usefulness previously unavailable to multi-tool owners. Suggested retail price is $98.

"We've been working on this concept for many years," says company president Tim Leatherman. "I really like the idea of clamping and locking the pliers in position, leaving both hands free to continue working. I think our customers will be surprised how useful this feature really is."

All interior blades lock as well. This includes a serrated knife, file, Phillips screwdriver, three slotted screwdrivers and a bottle opener. Each tool blade opens individually, locks positively in place, and is unlocked by a push-button mechanism. Other features include wire cutters, hard-wire cutters, ruler, lanyard attachment, wire stripper, and a hex bit driver built right into the end of one handle. All that comes in a six-ounce tool that folds down to four inches, the same length as the original Leatherman PST.

Outdoor enthusiasts account for a large portion of Leatherman's market. Leatherman™ tools are also popular among farmers, electricians, boaters, stagehands, do-it-yourselfers, emergency services personnel and an ever-expanding range of professional and recreational users.

The original Pocket Survival Tool®, now known as the PST™, was developed by Tim Leatherman following a low-budget journey through Europe in 1975. He found himself frustrated by the limited strength and abilities of the "scouter's knives" available at the time. Upon his return to the United States, Leatherman decided to put his engineering background to use. A self-taught machinist, he eventually had hundreds of prototypes scattered around his home shop. "I was trying to build a pocket tool that met not only my needs, but the needs of others as well," says Tim. "I always thought there might be a business in this thing."

Finally, having developed a pliers-based multi-purpose tool that exceeded even his own rigorous standards, Leatherman and Steve Berliner founded Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. in 1983. The PST® proved very popular, and the product line has expanded several times since then, notably with last year's multi-tool hit, Wave®. Last year, the company expanded the multi-tool concept by introducing the compact, colorful Juice® line.

Today, Tim Leatherman continues in his role of company president and is deeply involved in product development, quality, and production management. The company employs about 400 residents of the Portland, Oregon, area and markets its tools in more than 70 countries.