A spork is a hybrid form of
cutlerytaking the form of a spoon-like shallow scoop with the addition of the of a fork(usually three or four). Spork-like utensils have been manufactured since at least the late 1800s; patents for spork-like designs date back to at least 1874 and the word "spork" was registered as a trademarkboth in the U.S.and the UKdecades later. Sporks are offered in both re-usable and disposable form and are quite versatile. They are commonly used by fast food restaurants, prisons, and backpackers.
The word "spork" is a
portmanteaucombining the words "spoon" and "fork". The word "spork" appeared in the 1909 supplement to the " Century Dictionary", where it was described as a trade nameand "a 'portmanteau-word' applied to a long, slender spoon having at the end of the bowl projections resembling the tines of a fork". Sporks are occasionally known as "foons". [http://scoutmaster.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/03/freezer_bag_coo.html] A similar term exists in Finnish: a "luha" (properly " lusikka-haarukka") is a portmanteau word combining the words for "spoon" and "fork" respectively, and is most commonly to issued to conscripts on national service. It should be noted that Finnish luha is not constructed as a spork but has spoon in one end and fork in other and folds at the middle.
Sporks have been mass-manufactured since at least the late 1800s. The Folgate Silver Plate Company of England manufactured one sometime between 1875 and 1900.Fact|date=September 2008
In the United States, various
patents for sporks and proto-sporks have been issued over the years. A combined spoon, fork, and knife closely resembling the modern spork was invented by Samuel W. Francis and issued US Patent 147,119 in February, 1874. Other early patents predating the modern spork include US Patent 904,553, for a "Cutting spoon", granted on November 24, 1908to Harry L. McCoy and US Patent 1,044,869, for a spoon with a tined edge, granted to Frank Emmenegger in November of 1912. Many of these inventions predated the use of the term "spork" and thus may be considered proto-sporks. 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 their own version of a spork. Examples of modern US design patents for sporks include patent number D247,153 issued in February of 1978 and patent D388,664 issued in January of 1998.
The "word" spork originated in the early 1900s to describe such devices. According to a
20 December 1952"New York Times" article, Hyde W. Ballard of Westtown, Pennsylvania filed an application to register "Spork" as a trademarkfor a combination spoon and fork made of stainless steel, although there is no longer any record of this application at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The Van Brode Milling Company subsequently registered SPORK for a combination plastic spoon, fork and knife at the USPTO on October 27, 1970, but abandoned the registration several years later. The word Spork accompanied by a stylised design is currently registered in the US in relation to hand tools, in the name of a UK based individual (reg. no. 2514381).
In the United Kingdom, Plastico Limited originally registered Spork as a trademark in relation to cutlery with effect from
18 September 1975(reg. no. 1052291). The registration is now in the name of another company and remains in force. The trademark is also registered in the UK in relation to gardening tools in the name of the same UK based individual who owns US trademark registration no. 2514381. Another British company, Lifeventure, sells titanium and plastic versions using the name "Forkspoon".
In an unsuccessful
lawsuitin 1999 where the company Regalzone sought to invalidate Plastico Limited's UK registration for Spork, Justice Neuberger wrote: "I accept that the word "Spork" involves a clever idea of making a single word by eliding the end of the word spoon and beginning of the word fork. The fact that it is clever and the fact that the meaning of "Spork" could be said to be obvious once it is explained does not mean that it is obvious what it is. Indeed, I would have thought that if one asked a person in 1975 what a Spork was, he or she would not know. If one then explained what it was and how the word came about, one might then be told that it was obvious or that it was clever."
Materials and uses
Materials such as
stainless steel, silver, aluminum, titanium, and polycarbonateplastic have been used in spork manufacture. The more ornate varieties are often sold as ice creamforks.
The spork is used in a number of fast food restaurants, such as
El Pollo Loco, and the Yum! Brandsfranchises, Kentucky Fried Chickenand Taco Bell. Sporks have been spotted at many other restaurants and in school cafeterias. Sporks are also available for consumer purchase, and are often found at picnics and similar occasions. Plastic sporks are also common in prisons in the United States, because they are difficult to form into weapons.
Sporks, especially the lighter types, are popular amongst backpackers, as they are smaller and lighter than carrying both a fork and a spoon.
United Kingdommany pre-packaged ready-meals, such as salads and pasta dishes, come with a disposable plastic spork.
* "D. Green & Co. (Stoke Newington) Ltd and Plastico Ltd v Regalzone Ltd"  ETMR 241 (CA).
* "Gazette", US Patent and Trademark Office, August 11, 1970.
* "Small Fry attempting to get peek at yule gifts may be caught in act" (December 20, 1952). "New York Times".
* [http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mspork.html The Straight Dope on sporks]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Spork — steht für Spork Eichholz, Bezeichnung der Gemeinde Spork ab 1954 Spork (Bocholt), ein Ortsteil der Stadt Bocholt Spork ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Guido Spork (* 1975), deutscher Fußballspieler Peter Spork (* 1965), deutscher… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Spörk — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Christof Spörk (* 1972), österreichischer Klarinettist und Kabarettist Sigrid Spörk (* 1981), österreichische Schauspielerin und Sängerin Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unter … Deutsch Wikipedia
Spork — Spork, Johann, Graf von, geb. 1597 zu Delburg in Westfalen, Sohn eines armen Edelmannes, trat als gemeiner Reiter in bayer. Dienste, wurde 1637 Oberst, zeichnete sich besonders bei Tuttlingen aus, wollte, als Kurfürst Maximilian 1646 einen… … Herders Conversations-Lexikon
Spork — Spork, s. Sporck … Pierer's Universal-Lexikon
Spörk — Spörk, soviel wie Spergel, s. Spergula … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
Spörk — Spörk, Futterpflanze, s. Spergula [Abb. 1775] … Kleines Konversations-Lexikon
spork — 1909, from SPOON (Cf. spoon) + FORK (Cf. fork) … Etymology dictionary
Spork EP — Infobox Album | Name = Spork EP Type = EP Artist = Flake Music Released = 1995 Recorded = ?? Genre = Indie rock Label = Omnibus Records Reviews = * Crawdaddy! (favorable) [http://crawdaddy.wolfgangsvault.com/Article.aspx?id=1416 link] This album … Wikipedia
Spork — František Antonín Špork Le comte František Antonín Špork (allemand: Franz Anton Reichsgraf von Sporck) est un aristocrate de Bohême qui fait construire de 1693 à 1721 une station thermale réputée, celle de Kuks, site du district de Trutnov sur… … Wikipédia en Français
spork — 1. noun /spɔːk,spoʊrk,spɔrk/ An eating utensil shaped like a spoon, the bowl of which is divided into tines like those of a fork, and so has the function of both implements; some sporks have a serrated edge so they can also function as a knife. 2 … Wiktionary