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Kurt Van Keppel, who wanted to buy a good cigar cutter in 1994, found the inexpensive models and the high-end models underperforming. His $55 plastic cigar cutter took two hands to use, making it too fussy for a product that was all about prestige. Wouldn’t it be great, he thought, if you could slice the “cap” of the cigar with a smooth snap using just the palm of one hand? When he couldn’t find such a product, Van Keppel created one with industrial designer friend Scott Almsberger. “It didn’t cost me anything except time,” Van Keppel said. Before long, the two men formed Xikar Inc. to sell the invention, investing thousands of dollars of their own money. So, he set out with Scott Almsberger to match good design (ergonomics and function) with the best styling and materials. The result was the Xi cutter, which they first assembled in their garages,…

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