Victorinox – Armée Suisse Spartan with horn scales

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This horn scaled Swiss Army Knife may very well be the oldest one in my collection now that my Elsener Soldier and horn scaled gardening knife have been sold. Based on the tang stamps (VICTORINOX on the main blade and ARMÈE SUISSE on the bottle opener) and some tool details I’m dating this to the 1930s. In that time it was probably named 234H but given its similarities to the modern day Spartan that’s what I’m calling it. And yes, Standard is probably a better name.

Victorinox (Armée Suisse) Spartan – model 234H.

Most distinctive feature is the old style can opener. That style was replaced with the lobster type opener that was used in the 1940s. The bottle opener is the old style as well – I think it’s the first version after it replaced the flat screwdriver from the first 1900s Officer’s knives.

This knife is in pretty good condition considering its age. There are some small imperfections in the horn scales and the blades have a few small nicks. The tip of the triangular awl is bent slightly.

Victorinox (Armée Suisse) Spartan – model 234H – back side with fluted corkscrew

The back sides shows the five turn fluted corkscrew. There is a small cutout in the scale giving access to the corkscrew. The (brass or nickel silver) pins are hand peened.

Victorinox (Armée Suisse) Spartan – model 234H – front with triangular awl and can opener cut-out

I really like the feel of these old knives. They are considerably heavier than their current equivalents, mostly due to the thicker tools and full size liners made from nickel silver.

Victorinox (Armée Suisse) Spartan – model 234H – side view showing the taper

The outer liners on this particular knife (as well as on other SAKs from this era) are not parallel to each other. There is a slight taper – the small blade side is a bit thicker than the other side. The back springs are tapered accordingly. Access to the bottle opener nail nick is provided by cut-outs in the front scale and first liner.

Victorinox (Armée Suisse) Spartan – model 234H – unusual tang stamp on the bottle opener

I really like the tang stamp on the bottle opener annex screwdriver. It’s quite unusual to have a stamp on any other tool than the main blade. And this one is the infamous ARMÈE SUISSE one which looks like a typo to me. Knives with the correct spelling (with É instead of È) also exist I believe. I also like the vintage VICTORINOX stamp with the crossbow.

There is also a slightly newer version in my collection. That horn scaled Spartan was probably made in the 1940s.

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