Of course, this is also one of the most overlooked tools, even to me, a guy who uses it constantly. There are the odd times that I grab an EDC combo on the way out the door that doesn’t include the toothpick, and I usually end up regretting it pretty darn quick! Usually, I’m saved by a trusty SwissCard in my PDA case, but not always.
The Variations in Victorinox toothpicks. Not the tip styles and the head angles.
What’s really interesting is that the toothpick seems to be such an important tool that it basically defines the modern SAK- how many times have you heard a variation of the infamous “It’s a real Swiss Army, it has a toothpick” whenever someone else pulls out a SAK. It doesn’t matter that there’s a picture of a monkey on the scale and it’s got a tanto pointed blade, as long as it has that toothpick, it’s a real SAK to many folks. In reality the discerning SOSAK member knows that the real Swiss Army Knife (The Victorinox Soldier and Wenger SI) has no toothpick!
Another interesting point is that the toothpick is a relatively recent addition to the cellidor models. Introduced in the 60's after the shackle was removed from the design, the toothpick has had a couple if minor design changes, but it’s anyone’s guess when and why they were made. Most noticeable is the small hook on the end of some. Originally I assumed the few that I had like that were simply excess plastic from the moulding process, but as more and more showed up it became obvious that they were made that way on purpose. I should have known that Victorinox wouldn’t have skimped on even the smallest detail like the proper cleaning of a toothpick!
Wenger toothpicks are smaller and simpler with the only major variation being the angle of the head.
I always find it amazing that simple things like a toothpick are the kinds of details that many manufacturers would overlook, but are far too rich and important to the end user to do without once they got used to having them. Sure a $300 tactical folder may look cool, and you can cut through a luxury SUV with one swipe, but can you get that bit of spinach out of your teeth? I think not!