Victorinox developed the 74 mm series of pocket knives in the early 1950s, at the same time as the 58 mm Classic series. Although these two forms appear similar on the outside, they are structurally very different.
The construction of the 74 mm pocket knife with several layers of tools goes back to a design by Carl Elsener, who applied for a patent for it in the USA in 1952. With this design, a spring did not have to be fixed with a rivet, but was mounted "floating", a so-called " floating spring". This allowed one tool to move around the spring foot and one around the spring head.
In the 74 mm size there were essentially four different tool configurations and therefore different types of pocket knives. There was also a combination that was only available for a very short time at the beginning and then disappeared again.
The 74 mm series never reached the popularity of the 58 mm pocket knife series, nor did it reach their wide variety. The special size was probably the decisive factor, as it ranged between the very small and fine pocket knives of the 58 mm series and the larger 84 mm and 91 mm officer's knives. For most people, the size of the 58 mm was probably enough for the handbag, the bunch of keys and for the occasional use of tools, as it was easier to stow away and at the same time cheaper to buy.
In addition to Cellidor / Celluloid and Alox, mother-of-pearl, horn and gold were also used as scale materials. There was also a wide range of steel scales with various guilloche patterns. Optional toothpicks and tweezers were offered for certain bowls.
Exclusive tools were developed for the 74 mm series which, in this form and function, were not found in any other pocket knife. This included in particular the orange peeler with the special screwdriver that was used in model no. 656.
Similar to the 58 mm models, the majority of pocket knives also disappeared in 74 mm over time. At the moment there are only 2 models in production.
On photos, the two sizes 58 mm and 74 mm can be easily distinguished by their tools. Except for the big blade, all other tools are completely different. This is mainly due to the fact that the design and construction is different. In the 58 mm series, each tool has its own spring, while in the pocket knives in 74 mm, two tools can share a spring because it is "floating" mounted.
The 74mm series was just as popular for promotional use as the smaller 58mm series. The advertising space for pocket knives was larger, but so were the retail prices. In contrast to the 58 mm series, the use of steel scales was very popular with the 74 mm series. These could be ordered in a wide variety of patterns, with an additional engraving on the knife blade or directly on the bowl in the engraving field provided.
Below is a comparison of 1958 retail prices and the effect of whether or not a model had scissors.
Retail prices of certain models in 58mm and 74mm in the 1958 catalogue
No. 620 r+
No. 650 r+
Due to the large price difference, it can be assumed that the 74 mm models without scissors were used for advertising purposes.