back to article Roman 'Leatherman' spied on web

And there you were tinking that the Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife in your pocket was a relatively modern invention. Not so - the Romans had multi-tool gadgets too. Case in point: the "compound utensils" held in the collection of Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Musuem, snaps of which were recently posted on the institution's website …


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  1. Code Monkey


    Next you'll be telling us the Romans invented the spork

    1. Laurie

      They did...

      ...It was called the SPQRK. Didn't catch on though, no-one could pronounce it.

  2. Lottie


    That's pretty damned awesome!

    Next you'll be telling us they had gaffer tape!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What, no rating? And no price? What review is this?

    So the second image is the original and the first is a replica?

    Wonder what all the non-knife pointy things were for. Eating utensil or more something for a field medic? Oh, and now for some SCA nuts to make a replica and _try it_.

    The implications are interesting. Their mechanical tech level was apparently higher than we think. Then again they did manage to hide it pretty well underneath all those slaves they had to find some use for. In that they were holding themselves back; our tech is in large part both cause and effect of high labour expenses and therefore driving force behind more tech.

    Tangentially, what if we run out of cheap labour pools to abuse?

  4. Munchausen's proxy

    But did they invent security theater?

    I wonder if the Romans had guards on the roads telling the traveler he had to check that implement on the pack wagon.

  5. Adrian Jones

    But does it have...

    A thing for getting puer exploratores out of equi ungula?

    (Yes, I used Google translate. I could've been a judge, if it wasn't for etc. etc.)

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: But does it have...

      Normanus Thelwellum has a lot to answer for...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Are they on ebay?

    1. ravenviz

      Re: are they on ebay

      Probably, and totally disappearing from the historical record!

  7. FanMan


    no amphora-bung remover? - or that thing for scraping hedgehogs off chariot wheels?

  8. LuMan


    It's a good job aeroplanes weren't invented until a few (hundred) years later. You'd never have got through the security gate with one of those!!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Isn't that "spatula" actually an awl. Even modern swiss army knives have them (for some reason unknown to me).

    For the ignorant:

    "Awl: A small point tool used for making holes especially in leather."

    1. Jerome 0


      AKA the thing that poor Olive was run through with.

  10. Bluenose

    So Swiss Army Knife patents

    As this is clearly prior art the Swiss Army must be panicing over their patented knife. Any tolls out there should clearly be looking to head for East Texas now.

  11. Al Taylor

    All you needed

    was one of these and a couple of pairs of clean subligaria and the (Roman) world was your oyster.

  12. whats the point of kenny lynch?


    that bloke use one of these in the movie 'se7en'?

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