1,800-Year-Old Roman Multitool
- Charlie Sorrel
- Wired Magazine: November 8, 2010
What have the Romans ever done for us? Well, it turns out that back somewhere between A.D 201 to 300, a clever Roman, probably named MacGyvericus, invented the multitool. And not just some weird, old-fashioned multitool, either. MacGyvericus’ tool is startlingly similar to the modern Swiss Army Knife, now part of the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England.
Like the common Swiss tool, the Roman version has a lot of foldaway implements stowed inside: a knife, spike, pick, fork and a spatula. Unlike the modern-day equivalent, the Roman Army Knife has a useful spoon on the end, making it likely that this iron and silver artifact, found in somewhere in the Mediterranean countries, was meant for eating with.
What it is is 100 percent awesome, and just makes me love the Romans even more. Sure, they invaded and occupied my home country and occupied it for years, but they brought with them central heating and civilization, two things that England lacked back then. When the Romans left, the country slipped back into dark times, where it became insular and xenophobic, and it remains so today. At least, though, the cold and rainy nation still has central heating and folding knives, although the latter is now used primarily by gangs of marauding teenagers as they roam the rainy twilight streets in search of old people to stab.
Photos: Fitzwilliam Museum