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While on a budget trip to Europe in 1975, Tim Leatherman and his wife Chau constantly came across leaky hotel plumbing and road-side fixes for their cranky Fiat. Tim realized the need for a pliers based, multipurpose tool. “I was carrying a scout knife and used it for everything from slicing bread to fixing the car. But I kept wishing I had a pair of pliers!”.

When Tim came back to the states, he took his “multi-tool” idea, some sketches he made on the trip and got to work.

The Second Generation

In the early 1950's Jerry noticed the increasing popularity of the accordion and began to stock different models. Soon Sam Ash became known as the leading accordion dealer in the area. Another trend the Ashes noticed was the new found prominence of the electric guitar, first through jazz artists such as Les Paul and then with the newest sound in music - rock and roll. Sam Ash began to add guitars to the store, becoming the second dealer in New York to carry the Gibson line and also carrying guitars from a new company, Fender.

Sadly, as the family began to enjoy it's first real success, founder and patriarch Sam Ash passed away in 1956. Leaving the company in the hands of his wife and two sons, Sam Ash had established a way of doing business that would become company policy. "Our father prided himself on treating everyone fairly and offering the best selection of musical instruments at low prices," says Paul Ash.


From Tim’s first prototype to our latest multi-tool innovation, we’ve been building our tools in Portland, Oregon. And when it’s time to put our tools through their paces, we test them in the great Pacific Northwest. From hiking in the rugged Cascade Mountains, fishing off of the beautiful Oregon coast, or exploring the high desert in the east, we ensure our tools are reliable for any adventure or task, big or small. We invite you to try our tools for yourselves, or read people’s stories of saving the day with quick-thinking, their own two hands, and a Leatherman.