Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Abby. Abby Wonders, “Who created the spork?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Abby!

Do you hold sushi between two chopsticks? Do you cut steak with a knife? People use many different utensils to eat. We scoop up soup in spoons, and we twirl spaghetti around a fork. Some people even eat with a spork!

Wait, what’s a spork?! Have you ever used one? Picture a spoon that ends in prongs like a fork. That’s it! Most sporks are plastic, but some people use metal sporks at home or in restaurants.

Are you WONDERing where this unique utensil came from? The spork has a long history. People have used spoons and forks for a long time, but it wasn’t that long ago when we started mixing them together. In the 1800s, people first combined the spoon and fork to make an ice cream fork. The utensil made digging into ice cream easier. Many people still use ice cream forks to eat frozen treats today.

In 1874, Dr. Samuel W. Francis made the spork’s closest ancestor. It combined spoon, fork, and knife to provide for all dining needs. Francis didn’t call his invention a spork or sell it on a large scale. Still, others took notice. Over the years, other people improved the utensil. In 1951, Hyde W. Ballard trademarked the word "spork." Later, the Van Brode Milling Company filed a patent to make plastic sporks. The utensil quickly became a hit. Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was the first restaurant to offer sporks to customers, but others quickly followed!

Today, the spork patent is owned by Plastico Limited. People eat with sporks at KFC, Taco Bell, and other fast-food restaurants. They scoop up mashed potatoes, spear green beans, and even pull apart fried chicken with a spork. Some sit-down restaurants also use sporks. In Italy, Chef Davide Olandi gives sporks to his customers at D’O, a world-renowned restaurant. This might seem like an odd choice, but Olandi says it makes the restaurant more welcoming.

Does the spork sound like an odd utensil? It isn’t alone! Combinations of other utensils are popping up all the time. There’s the chork, a fusion of the fork and chopsticks. Another example is the splayd, an Australian combination of the spoon, fork, and knife. Some people even use trongs, which put together the fork and tongs. They make eating chicken wings a little less messy!

Do you eat with sporks? Are you ready to try out chorks or splayds? Or would you rather invent your own utensil? Maybe one day you’ll see people everywhere eating with your creation! If you’d rather stick to traditional utensils, have no fear!  The fork and spoon aren’t going anywhere.

Standards: ELA.RH.2, ELA.RH.10, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.3, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.SL.4, CCRA.SL.5

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is handmade--no machines needed!