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Tradies' Favourite Masterpieces of European Design

Chris Doolan - Wednesday, February 17, 2010

They say that necessity is the mother of invention - but invention's step-mother would surely have to be the entire continent of Europe! Some of the oldest civilisations on the planet are located here, and so many of the inventions that we use day to day have come from the region known as the language and culture capital of the world. The sheer population volume in Europe means that industry would soon be crippled by the cost of injuries, if preventive equipment wasn't used; corrective action for both back and knee injuries can cost thousands of dollars. , let alone continual treatment costs, time off work and low morale. . European employers have thousands of reasons to look to preventive measures to keep their workers healthy! Today we are looking at what Europe has offered the workwear world, from the famous Swiss army knife to lesser known, but equally convenient products like tool vests and elastic belts.

European Development: Tool vest

Taking the weight of your tools off your hips and putting on a broader area much better designed to cope with excess is a development that has been fronted mainly by the European workwear company Snickers, known as Skillers in Australia. Carrying tools is an efficiency necessity - but the impact on back and hip health that traditional tool belts have needed to be reviewed.

European Development: Swiss Army knife

When a screwdriver was going to be needed for soldiers to take apart a new rifle introduced to Switzerland in 1889, the army decided to produce a multi-purpose tool that would incorporate the screwdriver, a knife, a reamer and a can opener ... and thus the most famous Swiss invention, the army knife, was born.

European Development: Wenger watches

Wenger makes both watches and Swiss Army knives, and if you have ever asked about the toughest, most punishable watch on the planet, a sales rep has probably pointed you in the direction of Wenger at some stage.

European Development: Elastic belts

It isn’t clear which continent can lay claim to the actual invention of elastic belts, but workwear pioneers Snickers have brought a stylish, infinitely durable design to tradespeople the world over. Ordinary leather belts tend to cut into your middle when you squat down or sit - no matter how well toned that midsection is! Elastic belts solve the problem beautifully.

European Development: Steel toe boots

Steel toe boots prevent thousands of potential amputation-situations every single year, and are mandated for use in certain work situations in many countries. It has been said that wooden clogs were the original steel-toe boot or safety shoe!

European Development: Pants with kneepad pockets

Kneepads worn over work pants look incredibly comical; worn under work pants, only slimline models will fit. European workwear company Snickers developed pants that have work kneepad pockets sewn into the body of the pant, to solve the dilemma and save tradies' knees well into their fifth decade and beyond.

European Development: Tool Belts with shoulder straps

Despite the invention of tool vests, some people have good reasons for continuing to wear tool belts. The addition of shoulder straps by European workwear companies creates a halfway point between the tool belt and the vest.

European Development: Holster Pockets

Putting pockets outside work pants looks strange at first - but the comfort and efficiency improvements they provide are so important that this development has seen fast,widespread acceptance

European Development: Velcro Tool Holders to attach whichever tool pouch or tool you need.

Velcro held together a human heart during the first artificial heart surgery(is this true?), is used to help create nuclear power, and claims NASA as one of the biggest users of the material. It is also a sturdy, easy to use materials for workwear applications, like attaching tool pouches and holster pockets to different areas on a tool belt or work pants.