the year was 1998...
The Spice Girls had conquered the world, only 1/3rd of Americans had a cell phone in their pocket, and cargo shorts were *everywhere*.
Meanwhile at Leatherman HQ, the original Wave multi-tool was moving through the design process under the watch of an up-and-coming engineer named Ben Rivera. Revealed publicly for the first time that same year at SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show), the Wave quickly became the brand’s best-selling model, a title it has held pretty much ever since.
In honor of its 25th birthday, here then are 7 fun facts about the Wave multi-tool that may surprise even Leatherman diehards.
Last-Minute Name Change
The original product brief called for a deluxe version of the Pocket Survival Tool®. But when engineers saw the curved shape of the knife’s blade, the Wave earned a new, more fitting nickname.
A Tsunami Of Success
Hailed as an instant masterpiece by fans, the Wave also won critical kudos from an unexpected source: curators at MoMA, who inducted it into the museum’s permanent collection in 2004.
Secret Feature Found
Our fans are true explorers. Many have found a forgotten, hidden lanyard eye on the Wave. Like adventurers of yore, you can find the treasure online, but it’s more fun to discover it yourself.
Not A One-And-Done
Even though the Wave was great to begin with, everything can be better. In 2004, it evolved with stronger jaws and all-locking features. Thirteen years later, it upgraded to replaceable wire cutters, an improved sheath, and, like a crab leaving behind a shell for a bigger one, a special new title — the Wave Plus.
While the Wave doesn’t have a star on the Walk of Fame (yet), it’s made scene-stealing cameos in everything from The X-Files to Rush Hour. But fame hasn’t changed its hard-working attitude. It’s just as happy in a pocket as a celebrity’s hand.
The Man Behind The Design …
…is now our CEO. Back when he was an engineer, Ben Rivera spent two years creating and fine-tuning the original Wave.
Listen in as Rivera recaps how this iconic tool took form, why it was almost removed from the product line 6 years later, and its lasting legacy.
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