The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Spork

1874

The evolution of cutlery via Shutterstock     Photo: Mark Herreid

The search for the single perfect utensil is more than a century old. Samuel W. Francis filed the first patent for a combined spoon, fork, and knife in 1874. Others tinkered with his designs (with sometimes dangerous results). The term spork first surfaced in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1952 that Hyde Ballard copyrighted the name. Today, it’s a beloved accessory for car campers and weight-conscious alpinists alike—though you’re most likely to use one if you’re dining in a hospital or high school.

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