Sporks – They are amazing aren’t they?
Sporks are amazing! Come on just the name itself is great. But seriously they are great tools perfect for all manner of outdoor enthusiast, hiker, trekker, picnic goer or bushcrafter.
Well hang on tight because we are about to spork feed you some great knowledge
What is a Spork?
90% of you will have heard of a Spork, but some of you may not know all the details.
The fundamental basic of a Spork is that it’s a hybrid (blend) of a spoon and a fork (taking the SP from spoon and the ORK from fork). A spork though, isn’t a standard item. There are lots of different types and forms of sporks, all of which contribute something a bit different to your life.
It’s obviously not only the blend of two word but actually two objects. Like a pencil with an eraser on the end, the spork is what theorists of technology call a “joined” tool: two inventions combined. In its classical form, the spork has the scooping bowl of a spoon coupled with the tines of a fork.
Some may argue that they are almost the ultimate hybrid offering users the ability to carry two utensils in one, coupled with the lightweight durable materials make it usable almost anywhere.
Are Sporks a new phenomenon?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the mighty Spork was a recent invention. I mean let’s be honest the last time you looked at it on your hike, camping trip, or wherever you were it looked like a glimpse into the some sort of futuristic world where everything is so useful and simple!
Alas, unfortunately not, they have been around for over a century. The word Spork officially appeared in 1909. However, spork-like cutleries were around for much longer than that.
The first hybrid cutlery tools
It could be argued that the first spork like utensils were the terrapin fork and the ice-cream fork, which were popular during the 19th century. Spork-like utensils, such as the terrapin fork or ice cream fork, have been manufactured since the late 19th century; patents for spork-like designs date back to at least 1874. Where a Rhode Island doctor named Samuel W. Francis filed an early patent for a spork-like utensil. Titled “Combined Knives, Forks and Spoons,” it featured a spoon with tines sticking out the front end and a blade tacked onto one side. “The three elements,” Francis wrote, “are thus grouped together most compactly, constituting an article which can be very conveniently used for many purposes (but not the modern day spork as we know it). The first ‘Spork’ finally became a trademarked name in 1970, which is a fair time after that first spork-like object was invented.
Beware of fakes
The spork has the scooping bowl of a spoon coupled with the tines of a fork. It is not to be confused with a Splayd (knife, fork and spoon in one), a knoon, a spife or a knork. Some cutleries may claim that they are indeed the legendary Spork, but they are not. They are simply trying to position themselves next to the mighty spork.
The Modern Spork
Many of the previous patents inventions predated the use of the term “spork”. Given this significant prior art, the basic concept of combining aspects of a spoon and fork is well established; more modern patents have limited themselves to the specific implementation and appearance of the spork. These design patents do not prevent anyone from designing and manufacturing a different version of a spork. This has lead to great developments in the Spork world, with a whole range of colours, materials, shapes and additional tools being added.
The modern spork is also a practical fellow, offering you with some great benefits over and above some other cutlery choices available:
- Dishwasher safe – Ideal for life on the road
- Extremely durable
- Safe for non stick cookware
This is testament to how clever the spork is. They have left and right handed versions. Lefties fear no more the spork, for it will let you use it the way you want.
President Clinton used a spork as “The symbol for this administration”, because of it’s dual nature. In 1995 he made the spork the centrepiece of a humorous speech to the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C. He claimed that the spork was “the symbol of my administration … No more false choice between the left utensil and the right utensil.” He ended the speech to rapturous applause and laughter: “This is a big, new idea — the spork!”
The Swedish king has also been known to have used the spork.
In The Simpsons, Bart received a pocket knife which contained a spork when he joined the Boy Scouts.
In the Pixar-animated film “Wall-E,” a robot left on Earth after it has been evacuated due to over-pollution attempts to clear up the detritus left. Being an inquisitive robot he also collects interesting things he finds including sorting old plastic cutlery into different compartments until he encounters a spork. His little brain cannot cope with this new object. Does it go with the spoons? Or the forks? You can literally see the cogs turning.
Final notes on the humble spork
Sporks have developed an affectionate following of a somewhat ironic kind in our lifetime. There are numerous web sites devoted to them, giving you tips on alternative methods of use (“Bend the prongs inward and outward and stand the spork on end. This is a leaning tower of spork.”).
The relationship between man and spork has always been one of purpose. This is something we do not foresee changing anytime soon. So no matter who you are, where you are, what you do or where you are going. There is a spork for you somewhere.