To the engineers, designers, and all others who push for Leatherman to be a name you can depend on.
I have been a loyal user of the Leatherman brand for many years. Though I must admit in the beginning it was not because of any personal account of durability or firsthand benchmarking, no it was the name. That is not to say it was the name in the way that the latest clothing brand of the season or the pro athlete endorsed shoe is bought; it was in the silent agreement of quality between the customer and the manufacturer. Long before my time the Leatherman Company set out to make a no fail product. A tool that one could, if need be, wager their safety on. This agreement was why I bought Leatherman.
I knew that in buying Leatherman I could be at ease with the expensive purchase, grad students are not known for having money after all. It is that name which rested any trepidation I had when I spent the cost of a student loan payment to buy the one of the most elegant pieces of engineering I have ever seen. The Leatherman MUT; when I liberated that wondrous black tool from its packaging I knew I chose well. What a great addition for my AR15 and the new centerpiece for my everyday carry. Being the scientist I am, I had to see for myself that this was more than a trophy of well a designed marketing campaign. I used a Tunneling Electron Microscope to peer into that black finish and see the crystal structure of the metal. Then Atomic Force Microscopy to get a contour map of the mating surface, oh how smooth they were.
I am a graduate student at a highly regarded medical research university. It is the kind of institution where parents dream of sending the kids because of its flawless reputation both academically and in campus safety. This university, being in a metropolis, is much more vertically oriented than most institutions. As such the convenience of elevators is often thought of as a necessity.
Late one night I found myself in a familiar place; behind a stack of books in dim corner of the library. Everyone had gone home and as the hours moved on I decided it was time for me to retire as well. I gathered my things and headed for the elevator like so many times before. I got on and pressed the lobby button. Strangely the elevator went up a floor but then back down. Between the third and fourth floor the elevator ground to a halt. It certainly was an inconvenient situation but nothing to cause alarm. I know elevators have many fail-safes and I had a phone with plenty of charge and the elevator had a phone in it too. I took a second to find humor in the predicament then went to use my phone to call the campus police. Unfortunately I was far enough inside the building that there was no cell signal. Ever the optimist, I realized I finally get to use the elevator phone and see just what that red button really does. I excitedly picked up the phone and waited for someone to respond on the other end. After some time there still was no dial tone or any indication it was connected to anywhere. I pressed the call button as the logical next step but again nothing.
I decided to sit down and wait for the phone to work; surely in a short time all would be fixed. Over the next hour I sat waiting for the instant my phone had a fleeting signal so I could tell anyone where I was but a signal never manifested. One hour turned into two which quickly became three. Four and a half hours in and I now was getting concerned. I remembered I was carrying my MUT though; the idea of self rescue became very real. I used the driver to remove a small access panel behind the phone but was not able to see anything disconnected. Next I used the blade to pry open the doors enough to get my fingers in and open it the rest of the way. I could only manage to hold the weight of the doors for a few seconds but it was long enough to see that I was only a couple feet below the next floor. I was able to unscrew the punch and wedge it under one side of the doors to keep it open. The outside doors were the final obstacle. Nervously I reached up with the MUT and used the bolt override to wedge into the door seam and pull them apart. Since the punch held the other doors I tried it again with the knife blade but it snapped right at the serrations, definitely not its intended use. I held fast and wedged the pliers into the track.
Success! All I had to do was toss my backpack up and then climb out myself. I lifted up but as the weight shifted the elevator moved down a few inches. Talk about pure terror. I scurried up and had an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. Now my ordeal was over, I played the cards I was dealt and won. I just had to get my multi tool back and I would be on my way. However the biggest disappointment of the night came when I took the weight of the doors. This caused the pliers to become loose and I watched as my implement of rescue fell to the bottom of the elevator shaft. That was the worst feeling of the entire experience.
I have never written a company before to compliment them on their product but this experience required it. While my situation was not the most dire, I would rather not think of how it could have gone had I not had a Leatherman with me. Again I want to thank everyone that had a hand in the design of it. I truly believe another product would not have held up as long as yours did.