You can’t survive for 85 years without innovative products. It may seem like common sense, but you have to stand out in the crowded world of knives and multi-tools. And we have a long history of doing so. From the first kitchen knife to our latest release, we aim to make highly functional, innovative tools.  

Many legendary knifemakers and engineers have walked through our halls over the years, leaving behind a legacy that can be seen to this day. In this article, we’ll be reviewing some of the most game-changing and groundbreaking designs and patents in our legendary history.   


Even from the start, we decided to do things differently. At that time, pewter was a commonly used metal in culinary knives. We no longer use them today because they contain lead. Still, even before that knowledge, the first designs by David Murphy and Joe Gerber used steel blades and cast aluminum handles. While this may seem common today, this new design was exceptionally well received. You can read more about the origins of Gerber and those original knives here.   


Around 1981, Pete Gerber introduced the LST, which turned the whole pocket knife industry on its head. Credited as the father of the EDC movement, this blade took the industry by storm and flew off the shelves because of its light and functional design.   

Designed by famous knifemaker Blackie Collins, the LST (Light Smooth Tough) was so revolutionary because of the way the handle was made. The handle used glass-filled nylon and was molded instead of being shaped. It was the first ultra-light knife to hit the market. It was paired with a strong and reliable stainless-steel blade. Making it easier than ever to have it in your pocket with you at all times.   

The knife market changed forever, and competitors soon scrambled to have their own versions, but Gerber got there first. The LST is still for sale on gerbergear.com and is one of the many designs we are proud to have made.   


In 1991, the PNW was booming thanks to Grunge music and tech. Still, other innovations were underway when we submitted the US5142721 patent for the Gerber Multiplier. Multi-tools had already been on the market for a good number of years by then, so Gerber took its chance with a tool that had retractable pliers.   

The design had an advantage no other tool could claim, one-handed use. With the flick of the wrist, you could have pliers deployed and ready to go. It was a hit with folks who needed it, like fishermen and backpackers. The sliding jaws design is still a part of many Gerber tools today; the MP600, a favorite of many military members, is the closest to the original you can find. Even the modern Center-Drive has elements of this design with its one-thumb opening sliding jaws.   


Another pair of pliers became famous for their ground-breaking design. When the Dual-Force hit the market, it quickly garnered much attention and fame for its full-size tools, specifically pliers. The jaws on those pliers are uniquely designed to move into two slip lock positions, giving you unparalleled control over every nut, bolt, or tricky item you encounter.   


When the Center-Drive made its way to the market, it came a long way from the original multi-tools of the early 90s. One of the biggest differences was the newly designed Center-Axis Technology™. While many multi-tools come with screwdrivers and bits, they sometimes have different bite and power than the real deal.   

The center-axis driver opens to align like a real screwdriver, yielding maximum torque and rotation. This brings you one step closer to always having the tool in your pocket.   

B.O.S.S. TECH   

Gerber continued innovating with pocket knives after the LST. Decades later, when the Fastball dropped, it brought with it a unique feature that set it apart from the flooded pocket knife market. B.O.S.S. Tech™ uses balls of stainless steel technology that leverages a ball-bearing system, providing Gerber with the smoothest, most consistent deployment to date. Stainless steel balls reduce friction for seamless opening every time. The cage system is designed to keep the balls contained for stable performance over the long haul.  

This extremely quick and smooth blade deployment has made it one of the bestselling Gerber blades year after year.   


In 2023, Gerber turned back to our roots in the culinary space but with the outdoor knowledge we’ve acquired over the decades. As part of the ComplEAT Launch, one of the most innovative and eye-popping new products to emerge was the ComplEAT Cutting Board Set. This camp kitchen-specific cutting board features two cutting boards, two chef-quality knives, and a storage compartment. The best part is that they all lock into place, making it an extremely camping and packing-friendly design that has yet to be seen on the camp kitchen market.   


Patrick Borunda

When I deployed as an Infantry Officer to Vietnam in 1971, I carried a Gerber Combat Knife…essentially a double-edge stiletto. It had spectacular balance for my (small) hands, and I grew very proficient with it.

Unfortunately, it was stolen from my gear in Saigon while returning home. Are there any of these still in your warehouse? How much would it cost me to replace my faithful companion?


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