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I’m all about the spork, probably the best tool to have both for eating and realizing that it’s really not a fork in that road you’re on. I’ve noticed that many of the utensils calling themselves sporks are not actually sporks. So, in interest of saving actual sporks from extinction, for fear of favoring something that is not a spork, I am here to clear some things up.
As you can see, by its very definition, a spork is spoon-shaped with tines at the tip. It has always, and will always only mean this:
These things are not sporks:
I’m sure you can clearly see the difference. One matches the definition perfectly, and the others are simply forks on one end and spoons on the other.
Why It Matters
It really doesn’t matter. Unless you’re Thor, and your spork might be “poky mouth shovel”. But then, you’re Thor, so who cares what you call things?
A Brief History of the Spork
In 1874, Samuel W. Francis got the patent for a combination spoon/fork/knife. As we’ve already discussed, not a spork. Still, this is the first recorded incidence of combining all the utensils into one utensil. Brilliant man, that Samuel W. Francis. In 1908, Harry L. McCoy invented the cutting spoon. It was still not a spork, though it was a step in the right direction. Frank Emmenegger got the patent on a spoon with a tined edge in 1912. This was an early version of the grapefruit spoon.
Thirty-nine years later, spork was trademarked by Hyde W. Ballard. In 1970, Van Brode Milling Co. registered spork as a plastic spoon/fork/knife combo. Until the 1970s, what we know to be a spork was actually called an ice cream fork (see? that’s serendipity!). The word is still trademarked, and the design patented. I’m really hoping that my use of the word doesn’t violate any trademarks or patents. Just in case, there is an acceptable alternative to the spork:
There are camping, tactical (!), and folding sporks. I’m pretty surprised at how many there are. They come in all colors, shapes, and sizes – even in a convenient 4-pack for your household use!
We’ve come a long way from the Ice Cream Fork.