The History of the Carabiner

The History of the Carabiner

The carabiner is an integral and versatile tool that can comfortably fit the personal arsenal of any EDC fanatic. Whether you’re using one to keep your keys all in one place, to connect your water bottle or thermos flask to your belt and hiking rucksack, or even to hook together and support heavier items at home or on the move, there are a hundred practical uses that the humble carabiner can serve.

But the carabiner is more than just an adaptable keyring. It was a tool of necessity borne out of man’s drive to cheat death, and its adoption gave adventurers the security needed to perform extreme feats in the great outdoors. Since then, the carabiner’s design and utility refined over many years of technological innovation to become modern man’s must-have device.

Word games

The word “carabiner” derives from the word carabinier, a French cavalryman of the Napoleonic wars in the early 1800s. Carabiniers were so called because they would carry a short-barrelled muzzle-loaded rifle known as a carbine. These soldiers were preferred for their adaptability and manoeuvrability in combat compared to their long-rifled counterparts.

Due to the carbine’s short muzzle and relatively quick and easy reloading regime, carabiniers often rode horseback or on foot, and they could fire and reload their weapon while on the move. The carabiniers were able to carry their weapon easily thanks to a shoulder strap attached by a set of metal hooks or clips. This allowed the soldiers to easily detach or fasten their carbine in the heat of battle.

These simple hooks became the earliest inspiration for the modern carabiner. In fact, the most accurate definition of the word “carabiner” derives from the German word karabinerhaken meaning “carabinier’s hook”, a word no doubt given significance by the flexibility and pragmatism embodied by these French soldiers. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that these rudimentary hooks were given a ground-breaking new context.

Fearless inspiration

Before the invention of the carabiner, there weren’t many options for mountaineers to create or follow climbing routes safely. Old-school climbers either had to tie their lead rope and protection rope together – which was time-consuming and limiting – or else temporarily detach themselves from their protection rope and take great risks with their lead rope in order to advance onwards and upwards. Either way, these techniques held many climbers back due to the lack of safety.

In 1910, the German mountaineer Otto “Rambo” Herzog, famed for his persistence and pioneering spirit in the early days of modern rock climbing (his nickname “Rambo” stems from the German word Ramponieren meaning “to bash” or “to batter” in relation to difficult problems), is credited for inventing the first carabiner. He was inspired to create his prototype upon seeing the belts worn by Munich firemen, which featured metal loops designed to attach and detach apparatus to scale buildings and put out fires.

Although far from perfect, Rambo’s carabiner helped advance the possibilities for death-defying mountaineering feats, which opened the floodgates for its revision and sophistication as the sport became more fashionable.

Robust Innovation

The carabiner underwent several phases of innovation. In the 1930s, the climbers that weren’t able to get their hands on Herzog’s model ended up creating their own with the resources they had.

In the 1950s, the French mountaineer Pierre Allain create one of the first aluminum carabiners, and pioneered the familiar D-shaped variant designed to minimise rope snagging. Inspired by Allain’s success, climber Yvon Chouinard (now the founder of environmental clothing company Patagonia) hand-forged his own carabiners based on Allain’s model, selling pitons and other equipment from the back of his car.

But Chouinard’s rogue entrepreneurialism paid off, as his early company, Chouinard Equipment, created a carabiner model in 1968 with smoother corners, a lighter frame and a larger load-bearing capacity that set the trend for all future carabiner innovation, and whose model still would have met today’s safety standards.

More recently, the introduction of specialised metal carabiners, as well as variants using lighter materials, spring-loaded gates made with wire, and an array of locking mechanisms, ensured a more robust, efficient and safety-conscious clip.

Modern Influence

Although the carabiner is primarily used by hikers, climbers and outdoors enthusiasts, it’s not uncommon to see carabiners used functionally for any number of everyday situations.

What’s common through the past and present is that the device was celebrated and fit naturally into the lives of men. Although its origins are rooted in political warfare and personal adventure, the carabiner today stands for a symbol of functional design and simplicity.

Whether men wear them on their belts or hang them from their backpacks, there is always a sense of pride in the carabiner’s visibility and utility. The carabiner has transcended a tool of niche activity to become an accessible and reliable part of everyday life.


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5 Amazing Achievements in Robotics in 2016

We have been waiting a long time for SciFi type functionality in robots and these 5 advances offer proof that we are living in the future.

 Korea Future Technology | Method-1

Developed by a mysterious company based in Korea, Method-1 manned robot stole the Internets attention a week ago with a series of short videos.  The huge “Avatar” style robot is over 4 meters tall, weighs 1.5 tons and is controlled by a human pilot.

Amazon | Drone Delivery

Amazon was able to deliver an Amazon Fire and a bag of popcorn 13 minutes after the order was placed. While this is a big technical achievement, perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Amazon drone delivery is that it is actually happening due to the enormity of the regulatory hurdles.

University of Minnesota | Non-invasive EEG Control of Robotic Arm

A team from the University of Minnesota attached non-invasive electroencephalography (eeg) equipment to the brains of 8 participants in an impressive new study.  All 8 volunteers were able to maneuver an object from the table onto a shelf using only their minds and a robotic arm.  The advanced brain-computer interface holds great potential for numerous applications, among them robotic limbs.

FastBrick | Brick Laying Robot

3D printing on the macro scale, FastBrick could have just changed how homes are constructed.  Able to lay 1000 bricks per hour and the truck mounted robot can assemble the structure of a house in just two days.  The Australian company plans to makes these machines available worldwide starting next year.

Boston Dynamics | Spot Mini

The Google owned Boston Dynamics has a history of unreal technical achievements in robotics and the newest bot, Spot Mini, appears to have pure Boston Dynamics pedigree.  With a dog like frame and long jointed neck, Spot Mini is creepy for house helper bot.  That said, the robot seems able to perform a wide array of impressive functions.   

Posted in Machined aluminum, machined steel, Robots

11 Best Everyday Carry Instagram Accounts

#EverydayCarry #EDC #PocketDump

Everyday Carry Flat Lay Grey Gear

Instagram has become a great place for EDC fanatics to get tips on new gear, reviews, giveaways and carry ideas.  Here is our list for the 11 best Everyday Carry Instagram accounts.


1. @EverydayCarry

Featuring posts from EDC Instagram and blogs worldwide, @EverydayCarry has set the standard for EDC posts.  Their website also features great content and is one of the best spots for gear reviews.

2. @Carryology

@Carryology offers inspiration and gear for the adventurous EDC’er.

Carryology Knoll Image Watch Wallet


3. @NotoriousEDC

@NotoriousEDC provides magazine quality shots of unique everyday carry gear and holds auctions for one-of-a-kind products.

Notorious EDC Knives and Flashlight


4. @EverydayKnifeGuy

Cameron is “a Scotsman in a foreign land”.  The transported Scotsman resides in Canada and posts reviews and comments on Knives and all forms of EDC on his Instagram account and Youtube channel.

Everyday Knife Guy Disassembled Swiss Army Knife


5. @doomboxEDC

A self described Knifenut, @doomboxEDC posts pocket dumps and never fails to include a new knife.

Knoll Image Knives and Pen


6. @EDC_showcase

Guns, Knives and Gear, @EDC_showcase aims to raise preparation awareness.

EDC Showcase Knife and Flashlight


7. @UrbanEDCSupply

A brand focused on gear tailored to the city dwelling EDC’er, @UrbanEDCSupply posts are what can only be described as EDC porn.

Urban Everyday Carr Knife and Pen


8. @EDCarmory

As American as EDC gets, @EDCarmory always has varied content, pocket dumps and gear features.

EDC Armory assorted gear and pocket dump


9. @EDCPocketDump

The name says it all.  Follow @EDCPocketDump for giveaways and tips on new gear as well.

Hand Dump Knife


10. @EverydayCarryCollective

Featuring fellow EDC Instagrammers, @EverydayCarryCollective uses the hashtag #carrysmarter for those who are looking to get their gear shots posted.

Black Gear From EDC Collective


11. @Mostlyknives

Another one for the Knife fanatics.  @Mostlyknives has an eclectic collection of Knives and Gear and keeps his account up to date with posts almost every day.

Mostly Knives Flatlay

Follow The Tin Mill Instagram


Posted in Everyday Carry

7 Books to Inspire the Maker In All of Us

October 10th, 2016

Since it first popped up on our radar at the 2005 Maker Fair, we have been hugefans of the maker movement.  To make something that is useful and/or beautiful is a worthy pursuit and can be an extremely rewarding.  If you have any interest in making there are a ton of great resources out there, but here are our suggestions for informative and sometimes funny reads.

Nick Offermans Good Clean Fun Woodworking

Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop By Nick Offerman

Offerman’s portrayal of man’s man Ron Swanson wasn’t exactly far off from his real-life persona. His new book Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop, is a great read, even if you are not interested in woodworking.  For those of us who love to work with our hands it is full of great tips and insights from a kindred maker spirit.

The Art of Tinkering

The Art of Tinkering by Karen Wilkenson

Taking things apart is the easy bit, reassembling them takes real know-how.  The Art of Tinkering by Karen Wilkenson, is an anecdotal goldmine.  If you want to learn how real people make and unmake things, this is the book you want. 

The Maker Movement Manifesto Techshop

The Maker Movement Manifesto By Mark Hatch

Make no mistake, The Maker Movement is a revolution, it has already changed manufacturing and design in a big way. Mark Hatch has been around this movement since its earliest days, and his book The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers and Tinkerers is the perfect testament to the power of democratized innovation.

The Makers Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse By Simon Monk

My plan for the Zombie Apocalypse was always to steal a cruise ship, but Simon Monk makes some compelling points in The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.  Funny and informative, Simon goes through a detailed plan to control your environment, communicate with others and escape imminent danger.  Be sure to put a copy in your bugout bag 

Motors for Makers

Motors for Makers By Matthew Scarpino

Motors for Makers is for those with a desire to learn more about electromechanical projects.  Matthew Scarpino details the background of electrical motors as well as how to choose.  Along with some great project ideas, Scarpino has written a thorough resource for makers with a desire for moveable creations.

The Big Book of Maker Space Projects

The Big Book of Maker Space Projects By Colleen Graves

I took so much from this book, even though it was written for teens. The Big Book of Maker Space Projects By Colleen Graves provides a bunch of easy to pick up projects that span a wide variety of techniques and disciplines.  If you want to inspire someone or teach yourself, this book is a great way to get started.

Metalworking Sink or Swim

Metalworking Sink or Swim By Tom Lipton

If decades of experience isn’t proof of ones understanding of a subject, Lipton’s insights into metal fabrication back up his credibility.  Metalworking Sink or Swim is for all the metal workers out there.  With a broad reach of many forms of manufacturing, this book is great for the beginner machinist as well as experience fabricators who are looking to gain insights from a master.

Everyday Carry

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10 Interesting Items Carried By 10 Legendary Men

August 5th, 2016

What a man carries on his person says a lot about him.  We can gain a better understanding of his profession, his style and his personal history.  We set out to find what some of our heroes used in their daily life and a few of the items we discovered were very unexpected.

Humphrey Bogart Interesting Everyday Carry Pocket Items

Humphrey Bogart | Golden Whistle

Inscribed with the phrase "If you want anything, just whistle." a reference from his first movie with Lauren Bacall (shown in the video below). 

He gifted this gold charm as part of a bracelet to Bacall before they were married.  It was later returned to him and when Bogart died in 1957, he was buried with it.

 Mark Twain Used to Carry a Notebook

Mark Twain | Notebooks

At the age of 21, while in training to become a steamboat pilot, Twain was urged to get a notebook to remember his teacher's instructions.  From then on he always kept a notebook in his pocket, writing his day to day tasks, meals, thoughts on religion and politics, and even dirty jokes.  By the time of his death he had jotted down enough witty tidbits to fill almost 50 pocket notebooks.



Prince Charles | Signet Ring

Dating back to Queen Victoria, British royalty wear signet rings on their pinky fingers as a tradition. Originally used to stamp documents in place of a signature, signet rings became a sign of high status instead.  Prince Charles, as the Prince of Wales wears a 175 year old gold signet ring on his pinky finger, originally worn by King Edward VIII.

 Frank Sinatra Used to Carry A Roll of Dimes

Frank Sinatra | Roll of Dimes

When Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped at the age of 19, Sinatra Sr. was told by the kidnappers that all communication needed to be by payphone.  Thus, Sinatra Sr. kept a roll of dimes in his pocket to ensure he could contact the kidnappers at all times.  After Sinatra Sr. paid the $240,000 ransom and secured the release of Sinatra Jr., he kept a roll of dimes in his pocket from then on, eventually buried with a roll of dimes in 1998.

 Roald Dahl Everyday Pocket Items

Roald Dahl | No. 2 Pencil

A prolific word smith, Roald Dahl's influence on young adults all over the world is undeniable.  Like Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, many of his novels went on to become successful movies.  Early in his career as a writer he developed an affinity for HB No.2 Pencils.  This lead him to carry them in his pocket, as well as write his novels in pencil.


James Bowie of the Alamo - Knife

James Bowie | Knife

While there is some dispute over who originally designed the "Bowie" knife, there is no debate over who made it famous.  James Bowie started carrying his hunting knife after he was shot at by a feuding rival.  Bowie used his knife on several occasions, perhaps most notably during the Sandar Fight, where he disemboweled his foe after having been shot and with a sword protruding from his chest.


Winston Churchill's Everyday Carry Items Pocket Dump

Winston Churchill | Gold Pocket Watch

The "British Bulldog" as the Russians referred to him, Churchill was steadfast icon during a tumultuous period of Britain's history.  Of the pictures that remain of him, it is hard to find one without his smoke or his prized Bregue pocket watch, which he dubbed "The Turnip".  As his grandson said in an interview "take away his cigar or pocket watch and he might as well be naked".


Charles Dickens Carried a Compass

Charles Dickens | Compass

Often called the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, Dickens was extremely popular during his time.  Despite Dickens having no formal education he was considered a literary genius in his time and his contemporary fans were always eager to read his next novel.  To aid his creative productivity Dickens carried a compass at all times because he thought it was necessary to sleep and write facing north.  Perhaps there was some truth to this, considering his legacy.

 Howard Hughes Surgical Soap

Howard Hughes | Surgical Soap

Aviator, Engineer, Investor, Philanthropist and Director, Hughes had a varied resume.  His eccentricity may have played a part in his successes, but what came with it was a paralyzing fear of germs.  His phobia was an enormous part of his life and was the reason for his odd everyday carry item, which he used whenever he felt he had been contaminated.

 Abraham Lincoln Everyday Carry

Abraham Lincoln | Confederate Five-Dollar Bill 

We all know the story of Lincoln's assassination in Ford's Theater, but a lesser known fact is what Lincoln had on him at the time of his assassination.  The contents of his pocket are stored in the Library of Congress and among the items is a Five-Dollar Confederate bill.  While Lincoln most likely had this to add to his collection of personal oddities, a member of the staff at the Library of Congress quipped that Lincoln "liked to be prepared for all contingencies". 


Posted in Everyday Carry, Pocket Items

Durable, Lifetime Mechanical Pen

Pens aren’t always a staple for your everyday carry but if you love to write, take notes or enjoy unusual product designs, Helic is a perfect fit. This pen makes a statement with its unique function and hardy construction.

We set out to craft a pen with an eye-catching appeal that would function reliably with a prolonged lifespan. The result is a pen that is nearly indestructible but also carries a fresh look that suits contemporary tastes. Other than the refill, Helic is made entirely from high quality stainless steel giving it a durable anatomy. The pen is sleek but wide enough to be gripped comfortably, with a polished copper or nickel plating to make it look stark and stylish. The pen carries a bit heft weighing in at 2.3 ounces. Precisely machined, then hand assembled and inspected, each pen was put together to function as designed with minimal wear.   





Helic doesn’t work or feel like a typical EDC pen, instead it uses helical bolt-action, a unique take on the bolt action function that improves the pen’s durability and aesthetic. A small set screw at the top of the pen protracts and retracts the Pilot G2 Gel refill tip, by following a helical groove machined into the top of the pen. When you spin the top, you get a satisfying click as the pen tip locks in or out.  A Fine Point Pilot G2 refill pre-installed in the pen is a great compliment to the high quality of the machined body.  



Helic is a thoroughbred EDC pen designed for great functionality and durability.  Here are some details at a glace:

Material: Stainless Steel
Finishing: Copper or Nickel plating 
Weight: 2.3 Ounces
Diameter: 0.39"
Length: 6.1"
Clip Length: 1.52"

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One of Cool Material's Best Bottle Openers

Magnetic Bottle Opener with cap grabbed

A kitchen tool like a bottle opener should be simple and functional, not for making any scientific experiment with complicated tools. Our goal is to introduce products that are simple, unique and perfectly functional.

The Magnetic Bottle Opener is a perfect example of such a tool that works. Precision machined from high-grade stainless steel with embedded magnets to grab the cap after cracking open your beer. After machining, the opener is given a hardy black nickel finish makes it look like it just came from the blacksmith.

Named one of Cool Materials best bottle openers, the Magnetic Bottle Opener is stylish, durable and functions uniquely among other bottle openers.

Special Features

  • Made from stainless steel
  • Coated with nickel plated finish
  • Precisely machined and great craftsmanship
  • Embedded with Neodymium Magnets
  • Has a good weight
  • Minimalist, practical design
  • Perfect as a gift item


Specs at a Glance

Materials: Stainless Steel and Neodymium Magnets

Coating: Nickel Plated Finish

Weight: 3.63 Ounces

Dimensions: 0.275" x 1.800" x 4.250"



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