Surprise visit: Inventor Tim Leatherman (second from right, back row) with UCT's Julian Mayer, Steve Marais, Dr George Vicatos and, in front, Ernesto Ismail, on a recent whirlwind visit to the university.
Tim Leatherman, the inventor of the popular Leatherman Multitools, paid UCT a "surprise" visit recently.
Leatherman brought samples of the multi-purpose tools on which he has built his fortune for staff in the Department of Chemical Engineering to examine. He also did a presentation on his background, his motivation for developing his tool - mostly to fix a ramshackle car he was touring Europe in - and the history and development of the design worldwide.
Julian Mayer, principal technical officer for the department, described the tool - one combines pruners and wire-cutters with screwdrivers and bottle openers - as the "pride of most engineers, campers and do-it-yourselfers". The South African distributor, Awesome Tools, also presents a few of these gadgets as prizes in the department's annual competition for first-year students.
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