January 2001 News

Popular Micra® now comes in colors Scissors-based product full of features, surprises

January, 2001, Portland, OR—When it comes to packing a bunch of features into a small multi-purpose tool, it would be tough to beat the Micra. Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. introduced its tiniest product in the fourth quarter of 1996, creating a gift-buying frenzy in the cutlery category.

Now Leatherman® is expanding the appeal of the Micra with the formal introduction of three colors available in addition to the traditional stainless-steel finish. A durable polycarbonate cladding on the handles gives consumers to option of carrying a Micra in green, black, blue or red.

The Micra represents a departure for the company in that it is less than half the size of any other Leatherman product and is based on spring-action scissors rather than needle-nose pliers. According to company president Tim Leatherman, these unique scissors "are simply the best found on any multi-purpose tool. Nothing else of comparable size gives you scissors this big, this strong or this effective."

Several space-saving features help the Micra close to 2.5 inches long while weighing just 1.75 ounces. Company engineers have made the tweezers part of the handle and developed a flat screwdriver for Phillips heads. The small screwdriver and the bottle opener are combined into one blade. "All these features are representative of our commitment to producing innovative products for our customers," says Mr. Leatherman.

Other tools and blades include a clip-point knife, nail file/cleaner, medium screwdriver, ruler and lanyard attachment. The Micra is manufactured in the United States of 100 percent stainless steel and is covered by a 25-year warranty. Its suggested retail price is $29; the colored exteriors add $2 to the MSRP.

Outdoors enthusiasts account for a large portion of Leatherman's market. Leatherman tools are also popular among electricians, boaters, stagehands, farmers, do-it-yourselfers, emergency services personnel and an ever-expanding range of professional and recreational users. The company is finding the new Micra commands even broader appeal.

The original Pocket Survival Tool™, now known as the PST®, was developed by Tim Leatherman following a low-budget journey through Europe. 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 1998'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.