Popular Mechanics (USA)

LEATHERMAN FREE P2

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Price: $105

The Free P2 is a standout for its accessibil­ity— all of the implements can be folded out or in without opening the pliers. In fact, the only reason to open the tool is to use the pliers, which make a satisfying click as the handle locks in place. We rated the pliers, with their tight pivot, strong grip, and replaceabl­e wire-cutting blades, 4.5. The wire stripper, included on the medium screwdrive­r, only really worked on wire of a specific size. However, the notch for hard wire worked well up to 12 gauge. A typical gripe of ours with can openers is that a wide tool frame can interfere with the can. But on the P2, the opener is the last tool on the row, so it’s perfectly positioned for clearance. The scissors cut well and were easy to manipulate when snipping out intricate shapes, while the combinatio­n plain-serrated knife blade was extremely sharp. We particular­ly like the magnets that keep the tool from opening when not in use.

1897 /

1900 / James Catlin Lewis patents the Barnett plier knife, regarded as the first widely available multitool to include pliers.

1909 / Elsener renames his company Victoria, after his deceased mother, and then Victorinox in 1921 to incorporat­e “inox,” the common reference for stainless steel, which was invented that year.

1983 / Tim Leatherman sells the first butterflyf­olding, pliers-based multitool, the Pocket Survival Tool, to Cabela’s.

1991 / Gerber, founded in 1939, introduces the Multi Plier, a unique multitool with sliding, retractabl­e jaws. And SOG introduces the ToolClip, with a fixedposit­ion plier.

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