Tim Leatherman patented his Personal Survival Tool in 1980, and put it into production in 1983. As an entirely new tool concept it took a few years to catch on, but soon increased in popularity. The rest of the "first generation" of Leatherman tools were gradually introduced over the next 13 years.
The extremely popular Leatherman Micra was introduced in 1996. It was followed by the Wave in 1998, and the Juices and Squirts in 2002. All these models sold well, and are still in production. However, a few other tools were also introduced during this period, and then retired just a few years later. Because of their scarcity and interesting designs, they are popular with collectors.
The PST and other originals were finally retired in 2004, and replaced by the Kick/Fuse/Blast series. Over the next five years there was a bit of turnover in the Charges, Juices, and a few other models. However, the folding knives had most of the action during this period, with 29 models that came and went.
Since 2009, Leatherman Tool Group has increased its rate of new model introductions. Along the way it revised the Squirts, replaced the Blast series with a variety of new models, and then overhauled the Juices and Surge. A few of the more recent releases were also retired after relatively short runs.