Bruce Dykes bkd at GRAPHNET.COM
Tue Feb 29 11:10:47 UTC 2000

>From Cecil's Straight Dope Mailbag:

For those who don't know, a spork is a strange eating utensil. It has the
shape of your everyday spoon, but at the tip of the spoon's bowl tines are
notched in. The quantity of tines can vary, but usually there are three or
four. Sometimes one of the spork's edges is milled and sharpened to serve as
a knife of sorts. As for why they're not more common, I used sporks as a
young pup at camp and for the most part I found them fairly useless. The
tines were too short to spear anything with any resistance, and soup tended
to dribble through the gaps. They're not the most elegant looking utensil,
either--they look . . . wrong. But that's just me.

"Spork" is actually a proprietary term, since the thing was patented on
August 11, 1970, by the Van Brode Milling Company, Inc. However, the Oxford
English Dictionary (yes, 'spork' is in the OED) cites a supply catalog from
1909. The web coughed up a band named "Spork," and supposedly there is a
giant spork about 25 feet tall in front of the Chem/Biochem Building on the
Kansas State University campus. I offer this last item only as a rumor;
perhaps one of the Teeming Millions can confirm or refute. Make yourselves

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