The Spork: 4 Facts You Didn’t Know

For more than a century, people have been enjoying the convenience and genius of the spork on camping trips and at catered events, but do they know all there is to know about this culinary and pop culture icon?

Here are four facts about the spork you never knew!

1. The spork was invented more than 140 years ago. 

Contrary to popular belief, the spork wasn’t invented by a fast food restaurant that serves fried chicken. In fact, it had a much nobler beginning than that. In 1874, a Rhode Island doctor named Samuel W. Francis often found himself faced with a dinnertime problem: “Should I use a fork or should I use a spoon for my meal?”

Instead of struggling through his meals with a utensil that didn’t quite do the job, he patted his mouth clean and got to work on developing one of the earliest versions of the spork.

2. The word “spork” was officially added to the dictionary in 1909.

Although the spork has been around since the 19th century, it took 35 years from its creation for it to finally be recognized as a real thing. Century Dictionary included the word “spork” in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1951 when a patent for the spork was submitted.

3. Other hybrid utensils have been invented because of the spork.

Dr. Francis’s very first spork design actually had all three eating utensils in one: it had the spoon with fork prongs at the top, and on the side of the handle was a serrated edge that could be used as a knife. The knife was removed from the utensil, but that didn’t stop it from being moved elsewhere.

Just a few years ago, the knork was born, and although it clearly had a lot of thought go into it, it hasn’t quite caught on as well as the spork did in either the culinary world or the pop culture world.

In 1908, Harry L. McCoy created a cutting spoon, which had a sharp side on one edge of the spoon bowl, and in 1912, Frank Emmenegger invented a version of the spork that placed the fork prongs on the side of the spoon rather than on the top.

Additionally, the “spife” has been created and used for sandwich spreads and kiwifruit.

4. The earliest spork designs were created for eating ice cream. 

What may now be used for eating rice, canned fruits, coleslaw or tiny pieces of pasta were once used for ice cream.

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