Innovation runs in our DNA

In this Swiss Fact Article, we’d like to talk a bit about a few famous Swiss inventions.
Some of them, you may already know. For others, it may surprise you that they originated in Switzerland.

Swiss Army Knife

It probably comes as no surprise that the Swiss Army knife was invented in Switzerland.
The soldiers needed a foldable tool that could open canned food and help disassemble their rifles.

The Swiss Army Knife was patented in 1897 by Karl Elsener. He called his brand Victorinox, after his mother Victoria and the stainless steel (inox) material.

Swiss Inventions: Swiss Army Knife

It is a world-famous example of smart design and utility.
What started out as a rather simple knife in the 1890s evolved into the multi-option tool we know today.

Some even include LED lights & USB drives now.

Helvetica Font

The Helvetica font is one of the most popular typefaces ever invented.
Created in 1957 by Max Miedinger & Eduard Hoffmann, many like it for its clean style.

In 2007, the MoMA in New York actually celebrated it with a “50 Years of Helvetica” exhibit.


VELCRO® was invented in the 1940’s by Swiss engineer George de Mestral. He had noticed how cockle-burs got stuck to his pants & his dog’s fur. It made him wonder if this might be useful in commercial applications.

After many years of research and testing, he designed VELCRO®’s hooks & loops based on the same principle and obtained the patent in 1955.


Cellophane was invented by Swiss chemist Jacques E. Brandenberger at the beginning of the 20th century.
After 10 years of testing & perfecting, his cellophane was patented in 1912.
One of their first big clients was American candy manufacturer Whitman who used cellophane to wrap their candy.

Swiss inventions: Cellophane

Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil was invented at the beginning of the 20th century to replace tin foil. It was cheaper and easier to press into thinner sheets.
It also had the advantage of not transferring a metal taste to the food.

The patent for aluminum foil was taken out in 1905.
But it was only in 1910 that its production in Emmishofen, Switzerland by Swiss company Dr. Lauber, Neher & Cie.
It was first used in 1911 to wrap Toblerone chocolate bars & Maggi stock cubes.

Innovators in Switzerland

Switzerland continues to lead the world in innovation, regularly topping the European Patents Office (EPO) ranking for patent filings per capita.

Switzerland tops EPO Patent ranking
Source: Patent Index 2019 | European Patent Office

As you can see, innovation runs in our DNA. At EKKO-MEISTER, we are always exploring new ways to create more customer value in-house.

Get in touch to find out how we can help you!