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The Original Gerber MP - A Love Story

Discussion in 'Multi-tools & Multi-purpose Knives' started by tangstamp, Dec 3, 2018.

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  1. tangstamp

    tangstamp

    113
    Jun 29, 1999
    In March of 1991, Gerber patented the “Pocket Tool with Retractable Jaws”, 5142721. This was marketed as the Gerber Multiplier. The Leatherman Pocket Survival Tool had been on the market for more than 10 years by this time. I had only recently discovered multitools after picking up a copy of Popular Mechanics magazine, seeing them on the cover and reading the story inside. I was hooked.

    I have never been someone who buys a pocket knife or multi-tool and walks away settled. Gradually, I buy one of everything, it seems. I can never pick just one. In this case, I was fascinated by the sliding pliers jaws on a multitool, so I moved quickly to buy mine. I became addicted to the flick-of-the-wrist motion to extend the pliers jaws, the “sssslick” sound of the sliding jaws motion, then depressing the release buttons to retract and repeat. I enjoyed the Gerber Multiplier and it became a favorite.

    Over time, other multitools and brands came and displaced the Gerber from its place in my rotation. Gerber changed and “improved” the Multiplier so that palms would not get pinched between a closing handle and added an ingenious locking mechanism that would prevent implements from collapsing while in use. Never mind that the Multiplier’s design meant no implement could ever close on a finger or hand. The Multiplier evolved into the MP600 we know today, serving as the best selling tool to our military. In the knife and multitool world, the MP600 is a true classic workhorse and is still built in America.

    My point in sharing my thoughts is that the original Gerber Multiplier was beautiful in its execution, comfortable to hold and carry, elegant in its design, and had the essentials a good multitool should have. Plus it was safe to use, even without a locking mechanism. It could even be disassembled and cleaned, if the user wanted to do so. Combine that with Gerber’s Limited Lifetime Warranty and exceptional customer service and you have an idea why we call them Gerber Legendary Blades.

    If you have not used your original Gerber Multiplier in awhile, I ask you to consider giving it another try. Sometimes, the basics are all you need. Sometimes, when you strip away all the extra engineering, you can see the true beauty and elegance of an original idea. If you have never held the original Gerber Multiplier, you can still find them on eBay for a reasonable price. You may even find them NOS. Grab one while you still can. I think it is one of those tools that just got it right the first time. The original Gerber Multiplier is compact, light, packs the essentials, and just plain fun.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel

    Feb 11, 2016
    I had one very similar to the middle one but with a flat pliers tip.

    My dad had bought it back in the mid 90's and carried it as long as I could remember growing up.
    He gave it to me a few years ago and I put it in my toolbox since the blade was sharpened on a grinder, had a broken driver, and because I love my leatherman fuse.

    Last year I took it out of my toolbox to use it's SIMONDS file, and it just fell apart when I opened it.
    The rivet for the pliers had failed.

    I like the idea and design of the flick open, but I just don't think any other kind of full sized MT could ever replace my fuse.
     
    tangstamp likes this.
  3. GIRLYmann

    GIRLYmann

    Nov 7, 2005
    Ah, the classic which gave leatherman a run for their money!
    Gotta admit that the flick/sliding plier component was a pretty novel idea.
    But that bead blasted matt gray finish (in my hands at least) was prone to contracting rust blemishes...
    Yup! There is no denying that the gerber multiplier has had quite a remarkable operational history in the cold war for market dominance :)
     
    tangstamp likes this.
  4. Pilsner

    Pilsner Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 28, 2017
    @tangstamp Always a pleasure to read a good account by someone who feels passionately about something, whatever it happens to be. Clearly these tools give you pleasure to own and use, which can't be a bad thing in my book. Thanks for taking the time. :thumbsup:
     
    tangstamp likes this.
  5. tangstamp

    tangstamp

    113
    Jun 29, 1999
    @Pilsner I enjoy multitools and I have a lot of them. Sometimes, I just like going back to the basics, the bare essentials. I hadn't used my Gerber MP in a long time. I tend to gravitate to the Cabela's Leatherman Charge TI, but I picked up the Gerber one day and just fell back into that place when I first fell in love with it. I don't get that same feeling from the PST or the MP600. I get something similar from the Wave. For the moment, I'm all about the original MP and it made me want to share my thoughts. There aren't any other places I know of where people have passions for knives and MTs like me.
     
    Pilsner likes this.
  6. the-accumulator

    the-accumulator

    113
    Jan 24, 2008
    I sought out and purchased on eBay the original Gerber multi plier. It predates the ones in your pictures. It has only one semi-circular cut out per side rather than two like the ones in your photos. It has a brightly polished shiney finish, and It's known as mr. Pinchy! That's a reputation that it earned very well. I enjoy owning it, but I keep it as a piece of History, not as a daily carry. Right now, my daily carry is a Leatherman surge with all the accessories in a belt pouch. Yes, I know it's very large, but it does what I need when I need it. I have no problem, however, appreciating The Nostalgia of the early Leatherman and Gerber multi tools. T-A
     
    tangstamp likes this.
  7. Smaug

    Smaug Gold Member Gold Member

    947
    Jun 30, 2003
    My grandpa got one from my brother and I for Christmas when they first came out.

    I pinched my palm on it so badly that I got a blood blister. The original design was not good at all.

    When the Vic Swiss tool came out, they had the benefit of learning from Leatherman and Gerber, and they pretty much nailed it.

    When the Spirit X came out, I stopped looking. It's perfect.

    I have an MP600 ProScout, and it's loads better than the original Multi-Plier, IMO.
     
    tangstamp, vwb563 and mnblade like this.
  8. tangstamp

    tangstamp

    113
    Jun 29, 1999
    @Smaug I'm sorry to hear that this has been your experience and I might feel the same way, if it happened to me like that, too. I have never, ever been pinched by my MP. I know it happened to a lot of folks, though. I'm glad to hear the Spirit works better for you.
     
  9. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    I cut my teeth on a Gerber Multitool back in the fall of 1999. The model escapes me, though.

    I was a freshman in college and had just joined the rowing crew. The men's team was a club sport, so that meant no money. The only way we could get our boat to regattas was to go with a bolt together two-piece and strap it to the roof of our van.

    I'll never forget the first day the two halves of the boat came out of the boat house, and we began to put it together. I'd never seen it done before. As soon as the two pieces were set on saw horses, a symphony of swwickt as 4 or 5 guys flicked out their pliers and started tightening the bolts. I was amazed. I grew up a contractor's son, so I was well used to tools. Also, I have been a knife knut since I was 6 years old. I had to have one. One of my crewmates told me that Walmart had them for about $20 bucks. I picked up on the next day.

    I have long since lost that tool. I'm also not the biggest Gerber fan, but it was the catalyst that started me down the mulitool path. It's the reason that nearly 20 years later I have carried a tool more often than not every single day.
     
  10. tangstamp

    tangstamp

    113
    Jun 29, 1999
    @Steely_Gunz Thank you for the great story. I enjoyed reading it. I have had moments like that, too. That's why some of my favorite knives/MTs are the ones that look used hard. They just take me back to those moments where I learned to love and appreciate knives and MTs and the good people I've met along the way.
     
    Steely_Gunz likes this.
  11. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi

    167
    Sep 1, 2012
    My first multi tool was a Gerber, back in 1995. I liked it a lot. I still have a nice scar on my finger from the serrated blade. I also remember finding out that it would pinch nice and hard leaving a blood blister if you weren’t careful, but I still thought it was awesome. Had it for many years, and it eventually got placed in my vehicle along with a flashlight in one of those Nite-Eyes nylon pouches. Seemed like I was always going out to the truck to retrieve it for little jobs here and there, and then one day it and the rest of the pouch came up missing. I wish it were still around. The new Gerbers just don’t seem to be of the same quality imo. My primary plier based multi tool these days is an old American made SOG and a Leatherman Crunch. I have some old model Leatherman Waves around in various places too, but that original Gerber is still my favorite.
     
    tangstamp likes this.
  12. tangstamp

    tangstamp

    113
    Jun 29, 1999
    @dmattaponi Thanks for your reply. It's been a little while since my original post and I have really enjoyed the responses. I've started buying up the Gerber MPs I find and building up a small collection. I have a first generation MP in the polished finish. That one feels good in my hand. I have the 2nd generation in the satin finish. I found another that has the Fiskars brand that I would call a 3rd generation. I imagine they will never really be worth anything, but I really enjoy them.

    Don't get me wrong though. I have lots of Leatherman tools, SOG tools, and others. I've had MTs by Al Mar and CRKT and far more knives than I can count, but my Gerber MP is the one I enjoy the most. The Leatherman Wave is second. The Gerber is compact, practical, and has the tools I used the most. It's fun to handle, too. In fact, I'd say Gerber invented fidget toys before anyone else ever heard of them. For fidgeting, the Gerber MP is tough to beat.

    Thanks again for your reply. Merry Christmas.
     
    dmattaponi likes this.
  13. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi

    167
    Sep 1, 2012
    Merry Christmas to you too.
     
  14. drail

    drail

    321
    Feb 23, 2008
    You have not lived until you've had your hand pinched real hard in the old Gerber multi pliers. AYE CHIHUAHUA! It's hard to believe the orginal model got put into production with a defect that terrible. As soon as they changed to the new style I got one. I carried that tool everyday for years and it saved me countless trips back to the truck to get a tool to fix something simple. Especially if you're up on a ladder or a roof or a scaffold.......
     
  15. A.L.

    A.L.

    Jun 27, 2007
    That's some nostalgy right there, because my cousin used to have one of the Gerbers. It's funny how I remember that because I wasn't really a knife/multitool nut back then mostly because I was so young.
     
  16. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Let's see, right now, I own a SOG Para-tool, Leatherman Wave, and three Gerbers. Two modified MP600s and a modified MP400. I've also owned a MT made by Buck and a bunch of no name brand stuff.

    Although I feel the Leatherman is a better piece of kit, I prefer the Gerbers because of the ergonomics and overall design. When I am cold, wet, or tired, the Gerber is just easier to use. I just wish they would use better steel and offer a brushed finish.
     
  17. Scott Deibler

    Scott Deibler Gold Member Gold Member

    39
    Sep 1, 2017
    I bought my first Gerber MP while I was a mechanic in the Army during the early 1990s. It was the stainless finish and was stolen while I was working on a vehicle, so I picked up a black pair. I decided to try the Gerber because everyone I knew had a Leatherman and every set had the tips of the pliers ground down because one had broken off. I saw how beefy the pliers were on the Gerber and it was a no brainer. The one handed opening was great! Often I would realize I needed pliers after I had fished my hand back into somewhere to grab something and didn't want to let go of it. I did learn to respect Mr. Pinchy after one blood blister, but it wasn't a problem after that. It's companion was a Gerber Magnum LST knife, my "mechanic's knife", which I abused the hell out of without and issue.
    [​IMG]
     
    Filoso and sabre cat like this.
  18. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    With me it was just the opposite. Almost everyone had Gerbers. Many were issued. It was a big deal when my unit started issuing them out. Some of the troops got them, some didn't. I didn't. It was all based on the MTOE.
     
    Scott Deibler likes this.
  19. Scott Deibler

    Scott Deibler Gold Member Gold Member

    39
    Sep 1, 2017
    I'm sure it was a big deal. There weren't too many people in my unit in '92-'93 that had mulitools, the time frame when I bought my Gerber, but I started seeing different people using stainless steel pliers and asked to check them out. They were all private purchase Leathermans. They each showed me their's and raved about them, but the tips were odd and I asked about them. "Oh yeah, a tip broke so I ground them down." I saw the Gerber at the PX and bought one instead.
     
  20. the-accumulator

    the-accumulator

    113
    Jan 24, 2008
    I have many MTs and primarily carry Leatherman Wave, Charge, or Surge. I have Gerbers with the broad, heavy plier jaws, but I much prefer the needle nose jaws of my leatherman tools. But, then again, I am not a mechanic, so my needs are certainly different. For those of you who swear by Gerber with the sliding jaws, have you ever tried the Leatherman OHT with the sliding jaws and eight other tools, all accessible without having to deploy the pliers? I have carried the OHT on occasion, but I miss the longer blades and the interchangeable bits of my usual EDCs. Anybody else tried the OHT?
     

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