In 1890 Joseph Opinel was 18 years old and worked in the workshop of his father, a blacksmith/edge-tool maker in Albiez le Vieux in Savoie. He drew and designed a small pocket knife aimed at the farmers and villagers in the region. Following the success of his knife, Joseph developed a series of twelve different sizes in 1897.
The knives were then numbered from the smallest to the largest, from No. 01 to No. 12. Due to its compact size and ability to fit well into the hand, as well as its 8.5cm blade and varnished wood haft, the No. 08 became very popular. As it is so versatile, it is used both at the table and in the field, to cut up dried sausage, for dinner times and for doing DIY as well as sculpting and gardening.