Founded in 1890 by Joseph Opinel, Opinel manufacturers and markets a line of wooden-handled knives. The family-run company also operates a museum dedicated to its knives. Their fist knife was a simple working man’s or peasant’s knife, which was popular with the local farmers, herdsmen, and winemakers of the area. In 1897, a series of twelve sizes, numbered 1 to 12, was developed.
The No.8 (as pictured above) is their most iconic model. It features the Opinel Virobloc or safety twistlock mechanism, invented by Marcel Opinel in 1955, increasing the safety and versatility of the knife by allowing the blade to be locked in the open position. Opinel has become an emblem of French culture, with Pablo Picasso reportedly using one of the company’s knives as a sculpting tool. In 1985 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London selected the Opinel as part of an exhibit celebrating the ‘100 most beautiful products in the world’, featuring alongside a Porsche 911 and a Rolexwatch, and has been exhibited by the New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) as a design masterpiece.
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