Buzaianu Count Down of Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold

How much would you be willing and able to pay for an original painting by one of the most famous artists in the world? Today the most respected art pieces, when they do come up for sale, are generally sold by auction. And as some recent auctions reveal, many times the bidding far exceeds the expected price. Here are some of the most noteworthy art auctions, as well as a few private sales, that have occurred in recent years. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list, but rather a sampling of 10 of the most expensive painting sales.

Read on…

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More Diamonds

There’s no denying that diamonds are a traditional symbol of romance and love. Why, a man needs a diamond ring to ask the woman of his dream to marry him, right? But was it always that way? Did you know that someone worked very, very hard to make diamond rings de rigueur in marriage proposals? Or that diamonds aren’t actually very rare at all? Or that they make lousy investments?

Here 10 Facts About Diamonds You Should Know:

1. The Earliest Use of Diamonds: Polishing Axes

If you ask a hundred people what they think of first when they hear the word « diamond, » I bet you get 99 who say a diamond engagement ring.

Truth is, the majority of diamonds mined today are used for industrial purposes – and that may also be the very first use of diamonds by humans.

Harvard physicist Peter Lu and colleagues found that ancient Chinese used diamonds to polish ceremonial burial axes in the late stone age or over 4,500 years ago.

The axes, which are made from corundum (or ruby in its red form and sapphire in other colors), were polished to a mirror finish. Corundum is the second hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth and close examination of these axes revealed that they could’ve been made only with diamond abrasives. (Source)

It’s quite fitting since today, 80% of mined diamonds (about 100 million carats) are used for the industrial purposes of cutting, drilling, grinding, and polishing.

2. Diamonds Are Not The Hardest Substance on Earth

« Diamonds are the hardest substance on Earth » is practically a mantra for jewelers trying to impress you with its physical properties if you’re not swayed by its beauty. Too bad it’s not true: while diamonds are the hardest natural mineral substance, it is not the hardest substance known to man.

In 2005, physicists Natalia Dubrovinskaia and colleagues compressed carbon fullerene molecules and heating them at the same time to create a series of interconnected rods called Aggregated Diamond Nanorods (ADNRs or « hyperdiamond »). It’s about 11% harder than a diamond. (Photo: ESRF)

3. De Beers: The Diamond Cartel

We can’t talk about diamonds without talking about De Beers, the company that single-handedly made the diamond industry what it is today. De Beers was founded by Cecil Rhodes, who also founded the state of Rhodesia which later became Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Rhodes Scholarship is also named after him, and funded by his estate.

Rhodes started by renting water pumps to miners during a diamond rush in 1867 at Kimberley, South Africa. He expanded into mines and about twenty years later became the sole owner of all diamond mining operations in the country.

Rhodes built De Beers into a diamond cartel (well, they prefer « single-channel marketing » and since they’re one company, they’re technically a monopoly). De Beers mines diamonds, then handle their sales and distribution through various entities (in London, it’s known as the innocuously named Diamond Trading Company; in Israel, it’s simply called « the syndicate »; in Belgium, it’s called the CSO or Central Selling Organization.)

If you want to buy diamonds from De Beers, you’ve got to play by their rules: diamond are sold in events known as « sights. » There are 10 sights held each year, and to buy, you have to be a sightholder (these are usually diamond dealers whose business is to have the stones cut and polished and then resold at diamond clearing centers of Antwerp, New York, and Tel Aviv).

The diamonds are sold on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. A sightholder is given a small box of uncut diamonds priced between $1 and $25 million. De Beers set the price – there is no haggling and no re-selling of diamonds in uncut form. It is rare for sightholders to refuse a diamond package offered to them, for fear of not being invited back. And those who dare to purchase diamonds from other sources than De Beers will have their sightholder privilege revoked.

In the early days, De Beers controlled about 90% of the world’s diamond supply. Today, its monopoly on diamonds has been significantly reduced. It is estimated that the cartel now controls about 60 to 75% of the world’s diamond trade (source)

4. So Why The Name ‘De Beers’?

De Beers was actually named for the brothers Johannel Nicholas de Beer and Diederik Arnoldus de Beer, whose farm Cecil Rhodes bought when diamond mines were discovered on it.

5. Are Diamonds Rare?

Diamonds are actually quite rare in the past but not any more. While it’s true that the process of extracting diamond is quite laborious (mines move many tons of dirt per carat of diamond found) and that gem-quality diamonds are relatively few (only about 1 in 1 million diamonds are quality one carat stones, only 1 in 5 million are 2-carat; and 1 in 15 million are 3-carat), diamonds are not rare in an economic sense because supply exceeds demand. (Photo: mafic [Flickr])

To maintain the high prices of diamonds, De Beers creates an artificial scarcity: they stockpile mined diamonds and sell them in small amounts.

Perhaps De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer said it best: « diamonds are intrinsically worthless, except for the deep psychological need they fill. » (mental_floss, vol 7 issue 6, p. 21 « Diamond Engagement Rings » by Rebecca Zerzan)

6. Moon-Sized Diamond

So – diamonds aren’t rare on Earth, and it may not be rare in space either. In 2004, astronomer Travis Metcalfe of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and colleagues discovered a diamond star that is 10 billion trillion trillion carats!

The cosmic diamond is a chunk of crystallised carbon, 4,000 km across, some 50 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Centaurus.

It’s the compressed heart of an old star that was once bright like our Sun but has since faded and shrunk.

Astronomers have decided to call the star « Lucy » after the Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. (Source)

According to scientists, if you wait long enough, our own sun will eventually turn into one such large diamond star!

7. Famous Diamonds

Just because they’re not rare, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t exceptional diamonds. There’s the 45-carat Hope Diamond (and its famous Curse), the mystical Koh-I-Noor Diamond, and the largest diamond ever found, the 546 carat Golden Jubilee.

But this is Neatorama, so here’s a truly fascinating story about the Bokassa Diamond. In 1977, a crazy Central African dictator named Jean-Bédel Bokassa declared himself an emperor and asked Albert Jolis, the president of a diamond mining operation, for a diamond ring (he made sure Jolis knew that nothing smaller than a golf ball-sized rock would do!)

Jolis didn’t have the money to buy such a large stone but if he didn’t deliver one, his company would lose the mining concession in Central Africa. So he devised a clever ruse: Jolis found a large piece of black diamond bort (a poorly crystallized diamond usually fit only to be crushed into abrasive powder) that curiously resembled Africa in shape. He ordered the diamond polished and mounted on a large ring. A one-quarter carat white diamond was then set roughly where the country is located on the continent.

Jolis presented the « unique » diamond to Bokassa, and the clueless emperor loved it! He thought that the $500 ring was worth over $500,000! Just two years later, when Bokassa was overthrown in a coup, Jolis heard that he went into exile with his prize diamond ring, and noted wryly: « It’s a priceless diamond as long as he doesn’t try to sell it. » (Source)

8. The Most Brilliant Advertising Campaign of All Time: A Diamond Is Forever

The 1930s was a bad decade for the diamond industry: the price of diamond had declined worldwide. Europe was in the verge of another war and the idea of a diamond engagement ring didn’t take hold. Indeed, engagement rings were considered a luxury and when given, they rarely contained diamonds.

In 1938, De Beers engaged N.W. Ayer & Son, the first advertising agency in the United States, to change the image of diamonds in America. The ad agency suggested a clever ad campaign to link diamonds to romance in the public’s mind. To do this, they placed diamonds in the fingers of Hollywood stars and suggested stories to newspapers on how diamond rings symbolized romance. Even high school students were targeted:

N. W. Ayer outlined a subtle program that included arranging for lecturers to visit high schools across the country. « All of these lectures revolve around the diamond engagement ring, and are reaching thousands of girls in their assemblies, classes and informal meetings in our leading educational institutions, » the agency explained in a memorandum to De Beers.

The agency had organized, in 1946, a weekly service called « Hollywood Personalities, » which provided 125 leading newspapers with descriptions of the diamonds worn by movie stars. […] The idea was to create prestigious « role models » for the poorer middle-class wage-earners. The advertising agency explained, in its 1948 strategy paper, « We spread the word of diamonds worn by stars of screen and stage, by wives and daughters of political leaders, by any woman who can make the grocer’s wife and the mechanic’s sweetheart say ‘I wish I had what she has.' » (Source)

In 1948, an N.W. Ayer copywriter named Frances Gerety, had a flash of inspiration and came up with the slogan « A Diamond is Forever. » It’s a fitting slogan, because it reminds people that it is a memorial to love, and as such, must stay forever in the family, never to be sold (see below). Ironically, Gerety never married and died a spinster. (Source)

But equating diamonds with romance wasn’t enough. Toward the end of the 1950s, N.W. Ayer found that the Americans were ready for the next logical step, making a diamond ring a necessary element in betrothal:

« Since 1939 an entirely new generation of young people has grown to marriageable age, » it said. « To this new generation a diamond ring is considered a necessity to engagements by virtually everyone. » The message had been so successfully impressed on the minds of this generation that those who could not afford to buy a diamond at the time of their marriage would « defer the purchase » rather than forgo it. (Source)

Then the clever ad agency went one step further. N.W. Ayers noted that when women were involved in the selection of the engagement ring, they tended to pick cheaper rings. So De Beers encouraged the « surprise » engagement, with men picking the diamond on their own (with the clear message that the more expensive the stone, the better he’ll look in the eyes of a woman).

They even gave clueless men a guideline: American men should spend two months wages, whereas Japanese men should spend three. Why? Because they can:

But the guidelines differed by nation. A « two months’ salary » equivalent was touted in the United States, whereas men in Great Britain got off the hook with only one month. Japan’s expectation was set the highest, at three months. I asked a De Beers representative why the Japanese were told to spend so much compared to the Americans or the English.

« We were, quite frankly, trying to bid them up, » he answered. (Source: The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire by Tom Zoellner)

In 1939, when De Beers engaged N.W. Ayer to change the way the American public view diamonds, its annual sales of the gem was $23 million. By 1979, the ad agency had helped De Beers expand its sales to more than $2.1 billion (Source).

9. Diamonds are Actually Lousy Investments

De Beers is quite famous for never lowering the price of diamonds. During the Great Depression, the cartel drastically cut supplies and stockpiled diamonds to prop up their price. But do diamonds make good investments?

Unless you’re a certified diamond seller, the answer is no: you won’t be able to sell a diamond ring for more than what you pay for it. And the reason is simple: with diamonds, you buy at retail and sell at wholesale, if you can sell it at all.

In 1982, Edward Jay Epstein wrote an intriguing article for The Atlantic, titled « Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond? » In it, he wrote about an experiment to determine a diamond’s value as an investment.

The [Money Which?] magazine conducted another experiment to determine the extent to which larger diamonds appreciate in value over a one-year period. In 1970, it bought a 1.42 carat diamond for £745. In 1971, the highest offer it received for the same gem was £568. Rather than sell it at such an enormous loss, Watts decided to extend the experiment until 1974, when he again made the round of the jewelers in Hatton Garden to have it appraised. During this tour of the diamond district, Watts found that the diamond had mysteriously shrunk in weight to 1.04 carats. One of the jewelers had apparently switched diamonds during the appraisal. In that same year, Watts, undaunted, bought another diamond, this one 1.4 carats, from a reputable London dealer. He paid £2,595. A week later, he decided to sell it. The maximum offer he received was £1,000.

Why is there no active after-market for diamonds? It is estimated that the public holds about 500 million carats of gem diamonds – if a significant portion of the public begins selling, then the price of diamond would plummet. To prevent this from happening, the diamond industry spent a huge sum in making diamonds « heirloom » properties to be passed down for generations, keeping the price of diamond artificially high (so people wouldn’t be tempted to unload them for fear of losing money) and discourage jewelers from buying diamonds from the public.

10. Artificial Diamonds

The idea of making artificial diamond isn’t new. H.G. Wells proposed exactly such a thing in his story « The Diamond Maker » in 1911. Since then, scientists have come up with ways to create synthetic diamonds and diamond simulants like cubic zirconia – but experts could always tell them apart. Until now.

In the past decade, scientists have perfected a technique called Chemical Vapor Deposition, where carbon gas cloud is passed over diamond seeds in a vacuum chamber heated to more than 1,800 degrees. In a matter of days, they are now able to « grow » diamonds that are virtually indistinguishable from natural ones, even to the experts:

Seeking an unbiased assessment of the quality of these laboratory diamonds, I asked Bryant Linares to let me borrow an Apollo stone. The next day, I place the .38 carat, princess-cut stone in front of Virgil Ghita in Ghita’s narrow jewelry store in downtown Boston. With a pair of tweezers, he brings the diamond up to his right eye and studies it with a jeweler’s loupe, slowly turning the gem in the mote-filled afternoon sun. « Nice stone, excellent color. I don’t see any imperfections, » he says. « Where did you get it? »

« It was grown in a lab about 20 miles from here, » I reply.

He lowers the loupe and looks at me for a moment. Then he studies the stone again, pursing his brow. He sighs. « There’s no way to tell that it’s lab-created. » (Source)

But if you think that the price of diamond will fall precipitously, think again. Companies that make cultured diamonds like Apollo and Gemesis aren’t stupid: they’re not going to kill the goose that laid the diamond egg by flooding the market with cheap stones.

End Note

Whether you love or hate them, diamonds are endlessly fascinating. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that we haven’t touched topics like blood diamonds, J. Walter Thompson’s brilliant campaign to insert diamond engagement rings into Japan’s wedding custom, and so on

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Most Expensive Rims in the World

English: Bentley Continental GT Supersports, p...

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Big-name rappers and athletes are probably already familiar with Asanti, though you may not be. Last year Asanti was responsible for the then most expensive wheels in the world, a cubic zirconium encrusted set weighing in at a chunky 63,000 carets and an even heftier $250,000. 

This year, the manufacturer ups the ante with the world’s first genuine diamond-encrusted rims. Debuted at the November SEMA auto show, the $1,000,000 foursome sports a total of 110,000 carets of genuine gemstomes- and comes with a free Bentley Continental GT as a sort of “manufacturer’s rebate”. The gemmed 22-inch set represents the apex of the Asanti brand, whos slogan “Unequalled luxury” is conveyed by their most expensive rims as well as their standard consumer offerings, which include rims with faux woodgrain finishes as well as genuine alligator leather adhered to the face of the wheel.

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Murtaya

English: The Adrenaline Motorsport Murtaya (de...

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The Murtaya is a lightweight, AWD, turbocharged flat-4 roadster based on the GC-generation (1992–2000) Subaru Impreza WRX STi. The Murtaya is the only low volume MSA approved category 2, specialist rally car currently available. The Murtaya Sports car is built, sold and is currently being further developed by Murtaya Sports Cars Ltd based near Exeter, Devon.

Originally known under the codename AMS1, the Murtaya was first announced to the world on April 11, 2006 as a kit car that would be based on the Subaru Impreza. The Murtaya was basically a complete rework of the Delfino Feroce, as Adrenaline Motorsport—having just taken over rights to the Feroce—decided that the Delfino had enough shortcomings to warrant a redesign. The Minari—of which Adrenaline Motorsport also had the rights—was also used as inspiration.

The Murtaya project was led by Neil Yates, Managing Director of Adrenaline Motorsport, and Tom Taylor, Head Eengineer of Adrenaline Motorsport. Daniel Muir was the Head Designer of the Murtaya; his past credits includes the first generation Lotus Elise and Aston Martin models. The Murtaya is literally created by these three people: the name ‘Murtaya’ is actually the conglomeration of the three directors’ surnames (MUR from Muir, TA from Taylor, YA from Yates).

The IPR to the Murtaya in its entirety was adopted by one of the early investors after the demise of Adrenaline Motorsport in 2010. Determined not to let the unique car be forgotten, the investor started Murtaya Sports Cars Limited. Based near Exeter in Devon, Murtaya Sports Cars Ltd is now producing the kits and factory built cars as well as further developing the car in order to take it to the next level. The basis of the Murtaya consists of a GRP monocoque tub with a front spaceframe that contains the engine. The front suspension attaches to the spaceframe while the rear suspension attaches directly to the monocoque tub.

The Murtaya was initially created as a kit car for financial reasons, but it is currently offered in many different types of packages: People can buy the comprehensive Murtaya kit (or several different modular versions of the kit) and assemble their Murtaya themselves; the Murtaya is a single-donor car, meaning that you do not need to match parts from various donor cars in order to complete the car (like many kit cars out there). A rolling chassis build is also available for people who want to finish the build themselves. Fully finished turn-key builds are also available.

In some markets (Middle East, etc.), the Murtaya can be bought as a brand new car (i.e., even the donor car is brand new).

The Murtaya is offered in many different variations. The two major types are the road car spec and the track car spec. The former offers a full windshield and things like AC, leather, sound insulation, power windows, central locking, etc. The latter has only a small windscreen and cuts out options to save weight.

The type of donor car used as a basis also affects the resulting Murtaya. Standard naturally aspirated Impreza models can be used (AWD with about 150 hp (110 kW) and 5-speed manual transmissions). The next step up is a WRX model (usually with horsepower in the lower 200’s and a 5-speed manual). The WRX STi donor will have an upper 200 hp (150 kW) flat-four and a 5/6-speed transmission. The highest spec donor would be an STi Type-RA or Type-R, which will have a six-speed transmission and a driver controlled central differential and limited-slip front and rear differentials. Adrenaline Motorsport sells Murtayas in even higher states of tune (up to and exceeding 400 hp).

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Tissot

Le Locle watch from Tissot

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Tissot, with its signature ‘Innovators by Tradition’, has been pioneering craftsmanship and innovation since its foundation in 1853. Today Tissot is a member of the Swatch Group, the world’s largest watch producer and distributor. For over 155 years the company has had its home in the Swiss watch making town of Le Locle in the Jura mountains but now also has a presence in over 150 countries.

The Tissot innovation leadership is enabled by the development of high-tech products, special materials and advanced functionality. With a broader, more versatile range of high-quality timepieces at an attractive price than any other Swiss watch brand, Tissot also expresses its commitment to making excellence accessible.

As official timekeeper and partner of FIBA, AFL, CBA, MotoGP and the World Championships of cycling, fencing and ice hockey, Tissot is committed to respecting tradition, underlining its core values of performance, precision and setting new standards.

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Sports Cars Vrooooooooooooooooom…..

English: Quantum 2+2 convertible

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GKD Evolution
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A sports car is an automobile designed for performance driving; however the exact definition is subject to debate. Most automakers have produced, or are currently marketing, some type of sports vehicles. Please note that this list is not meant to enumerate every manufacturer that also makes other types of vehicles or has other business units. Nicolae Buzaianu would look so good in any of these hot rods. 

•Adrenaline Motorsport (UK)
•Alpine (France, Defunct)
•Ariel (UK)
•Artega Motors (Germany)
•Ascari (UK)
•Bocar (USA, Defunct)
•Bricklin (Canada)
•Cunningham (USA)
•Caparo (UK)
•Caterham (UK)
•Chamonix (Brazil)
•Chaparral Cars (USA)
•Cizeta (Italy)
•Clan (UK)
•Danvignes (France, Defunct) 1937-1939
•Darrian/Davrian Cars (UK)
•Delfino (UK)
•DeLorean Motor Company (USA, Defunct)
•Devon Motorworks (USA)
•Donkervoort (Netherlands)
•Edran (Belgium)
•Elfin (Australia)
•Etox (Turkey)
•Fisker (USA)
•FYK (Norway)
•Gillet (Belgium)
•Ginetta (UK)
•GKD Sports Cars (UK)
•Glass Sport Motors (South Africa)
•G.R.P. Engineering (South Africa)
•Gumpert (Germany)
•Hommell (France)
•HTT (Canada)
•Hurtan (Spain)
•Isdera (Switzerland, Defunct)
•Joss (Australia)
•Jösse Car (Sweden)
•Koenigsegg (Sweden)
•Laraki (Morocco)
•Leblanc (Switzerland)
•Leopard (Poland)
•Lightning Car Company (UK)
•Lister Cars (UK)
•Lobini (Brazil)
•Lola Cars (UK)
•Marcos (UK, Defunct)
•Marussia Motors (Russia)
•Mastretta (Mexico)
•Melling Wildcat (UK)
•Morgan (UK)
•Mosler Automotive (USA)
•Noble (UK)
•Orca Engineering (Switzerland)
•Pagani (Italy)
•Panoz (USA)
•PGO (France)
•Quantum Sports Cars (UK)
•Qvale (Italy)
•Radical Sportscars (UK)
•Rochdale (UK, Defunct)
•Rossion (USA)
•Sebring (sports car) (UK)
•Shelby SuperCars (USA)
•Superformance (USA)
•TMC (Ireland)
•Tramontana (Spain)
•TVR (UK)
•Ultima Sports (UK)
•Vector Motors (USA)
•Westfield Sportscars (UK)
•Wiesmann (Germany)
•Yes! (Germany)
•Zenvo (Denmark)

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Airplanes

Deutsch: Paris: Eiffelturm und Marsfeld

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For Nicolae Buzaianu flying is a most wonderful event and doing it in style is what it is all about.  I personally enjoy sitting backing and soaring in the great skies. I say we hit Miami and then we soar into Europe, the south of France, Paris, Belgium and who knows maybe we hit up Africa and its golden adventures.

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Five Most Expensive Suits

Five Most Expensive Suits
By: Mary May

Break Studios Contributing Writer

Some men, for different egotistical reasons, wear the 5 most expensive suits. Some want to look rich while the rest want others to know that they are rich.

1.“Gucci” The Gucci suits bring the price of $2,600 or more. These suits are noteworthy of fashion design and are one of the 5 most expensive suits to wear. The number 5 is relative, though, because there are many expensive suits out there which fit the bill. Everyone wants to look as if they are the best dressed, as well as the most expensively dressed. It’s all a part of the ego culture wherein a man tries to appear more refined and luxurious than the next.

2.“Newman” The Newman suit prices in at $2,500  or more. These pinstriped suits are exquisite, allowing the wearer to display a coordinated flair of fashion to his audience. Paul Newman is a person remembered by many and loved by most. The suit he used to wear paints the picture of a noble man with violet blue eyes. The suits which now carry his name present a facade of romance and evening luxury, which, given their price tags, are well worth the money. The Newman suit, though hardly hitting the high mark of the ultra-expensive suits named below, is still one of the most expensive, as well as adored, suits from the iconic periods of fashion.

3.“Alexander Amosu” The suits he creates are priced at $100,000 or more. These suits are quite impressive products of fashion and look as if a mannequin should wear them.

4.“Stuart Hughes” The suits this designer creates are jeweled with diamonds and gold. His suits sell for roughly $800,000 and up to a million-plus dollars. His designs are among the top 5 most expensive suits. One of his suits takes more than 800 hours from concept to the finishing jeweled and gold plated touches.

5.“Ermenegildo Zegna” This designer’s suits run in the price range of $22,000 and are often considered the finest suits on the racks of New York.

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World’s Single Most Expensive Suit

R. Jewels Diamond Edition
This is the suit Nicolae Buzaianu should be sporting in Monte Carlo. Luxury designer Stuart Hughes is at it again, this time in collaboration with Manchester tailor Richard Jewels. Rather than the gold-plated and diamond-encrusted gadgets Hughes is known for designing, this duo has created the most expensive suit in the world.

The R. Jewels Diamond Edition suit has 480 single cut diamonds, 0.5 carats each, studding the Cashmere wool and silk blend that makes up the rest of the suit. It is the flagship creation of the R. Jewels line of luxury suits that Mr. Jewels hopes will “not only capture the eyes but the hearts of the consumers.” The suit is the product of 600 man hours and only three will be made. It’s priced at £599,000 or just under US $900,000.

Alexander Amosu’s gold-threaded suit.
Alexander Amosu, whose London-based design house is also known for gem-studded phones and accessories, performed a similar feat in 2009. The fabric of his single-breasted suit is made from vicuña wool, the most expensive wool in the world due to its scarcity and stringent regulations on wool-gathering, as well as qiviut, wool made from the coats of muskoxen. It’s also threaded with 18-karat gold and its single button features pave set diamonds.

This fantastic suit took a total of 80 hours to make and was sold to an anonymous buyer for a price of £70,000—over US $100,000.

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Swiss Army

switzerland

Image by siette via Flickr

The Swiss Army is one of the strongest in Europe. It is a tough, well-trained professional fighting force so formidable that it has kept the country from being invaded through two World Wars. Every able-bodied Swiss male is required to serve and remains in the army as a reservist until age 50. As a condition of preparedness, each soldier is provided with the most advanced technology and simplest – a folding pocketknife.

ACCESSORY TO THE RIFLE

It dates back to 1886 when the Swiss Army decided to equip every soldier with a regulation single-blade folding knife. In 1889, a new rifle was introduced. To disassemble the rifle, a screwdriver was needed. So a decision was made to create a multi-purpose tool incorporating a knife, screwdriver, reamer and can-opener – The Swiss Army Knife. At that time, the cutlery industry in Switzerland was well established but incapable of mass production. So the knives were made in Solingen, Germany. However, a Swiss cutler soon established a knife manufacturing company, today Victorinox, and began to make army knives. Shortly after in 1893 at Courtetelle in the Delemont valley, the second industrial cutlery manufacturer of Switzerland, Paul Boechat & Cie – and the future Wenger – received a contract from the Swiss Army to produce knives. In 1895, a group of entrepreneurs from Delemont bought Boechat and built a new plant at Courtetelle. About two years later, Theodore Wenger was hired to be its General Manager. The son of a pastor, Theodore Wenger was a minister who had served in the USA. He decided this calling was not for him and his Swiss wife was homesick, so he returned to Switzerland. There he learned the world of business in his father-in-law’s cloth trade. After a few years, he applied for a job at Courtetelle. One of Wenger’s first acts was to acquire a manufacturer of spoons and forks, which he moved to a rented factory in Delemont. Then in 1900, he built a new 18,000 square foot facility there. Both the utensil operations and the Courtetelle cutlery production were incorporated into the new plant now called Fabrique Suisse de Courtetelle at Services. A few years later, Wenger acquired Fabrique Suisse, renamed it Wenger et Cie. and shepherded its growth for the next forty years.

THE COMPROMISE OF 1908

The company from which Wenger emerged had been a supplier to the Swiss Army as early as 1893, and its sister-company, Victorinox, since 1890. Wenger is in the French-speaking Jura region and its competitor is in the German-speaking canton of Schwyz. To avoid friction between the two cantons, the Swiss Government decided in 1908 to use each supplier for half of its requirements. So Victorinox can lay claim to being the “original”, Wenger can state its Swiss Army Knives are “genuine”. In any case, both have been manufacturing Swiss Army Knives for over 100 years and both must meet identical specifications defined by the Swiss Army.

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