By Jean-Marc Pinto on Friday 25 June 2010, 15:23 - Permalink
This German traditional pocketknife is historic
He is a pocket companion of our German neighbors since the period of Emperor Guillaume II who reigned from 1888 till 1914.
During the 2nd world war it was a knife which the American soldiers brought back of Europe as "spoils of war". The German soldiers carried logically, rather often this knife.
It is made since 1867 to Solingen.
This knife in thus more than 140 years of existence and it is surprising even today of modernism.
Why this name : "Mercator K55K" ?
During my visit of the workshops of Otter Messer I was able to obtain precision on the choice of this name.
"Mercator" is the translation in Latin of "trader". "Trader" being the english meaning of the German name of his designer, Mr Kaufmann.
The first one K is for Heinrich Kaufmann, the founder of the company. The number of the street Hochstrasse, the address of the parent company of the company Kaufmann and Söhne was 55. The 2nd K is the initial of " Katze " (cat), stylized animal which we find on a side of the handle.
This cat and the black color of the handle make it nickname "Black cat" or " Jumping cat " by the Americans.
Below a very ancient Mercator K55K
Today a variant without the cat is also produced and is rather intended for the German customers.
Always during my visit of workshops, I had the occasion to photograph an old advertising in a book redrawing the history of the house Kaufmann.
Versions multi-tools existed, but are not any more produced today, to my knowledge.
The one blade version is always made in the perfect respect of the original model by Otter Messer, Solingen.
As a complement here is a link to a video that compare the Mercator K55K with the famous french Douk Douk Knife and another Otter Messer production « the anchor ».
I besides found a video on YouTube which shows its manufacturing > Manufacturing of a Mercator K55K