Some 1,800 years before the production of the first official Swiss Army knife the Romans built their own multi-tool that both stands the test of time and is really cool.

Many times people (myself included) get so pumped up and excited about latest and greatest inventions that we fail to reflect on history, but this ancient knife is truly something to marvel at.

This multi-tool, which dates back to sometime between 200 AD and 400 AD, features a spoon, fork, blade, spike (probably for eating snails), toothpick and spatula. The surprisingly well-kept tool is made entirely from silver except for an iron blade.

According to the History Blog, multi-tools like this one weren’t uncommon in ancient Rome, but they were typically made from bronze and had significantly fewer parts. That’s why it appears as though the owner of the knife was probably much wealthier than others at the time and may have even been a traveler.

It was discovered in the Mediterranean around 20 years ago. In 1991, it was acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum in the UK where it will be on display. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend you check it out.

So, although we usually call nearly every knife multi-tool a Swiss Army knife, this is evidence we should really be calling something like a Roman knife. Nevertheless, I somehow doubt Roman knife will ever catch on.


Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at
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