The spork and splayd (or sporf) are clumsy utensils at best. Whether they’re combining just a spoon and fork or throwing a knife in the mix, they’re never easy to eat with. But now, Map—a design consultancy based in London—has created what they think is a utensil that functions pretty well as all three: the Tritensil.
The utensil was created in collaboration with the 300-year-old department store Fortnum & Mason. According to Map’s website, Fortnum & Mason is credited with inventing the spoon-fork-knife combo, which was “first shown in Fortnum’s 1914 Christmas catalogue for Army officers.”
“It's inherently a compromise to combine three different utensils into one design,” Map designer Scott Barwick told Fast Company. “If you have a spoon with tines, you can't eat soup with it; likewise, a round, concave fork isn't as good at spearing food as a regular one.”
The company analyzed the foods available in Fortnum & Mason's Hamperling picnic basket, and, according to Map’s website, “optimized the fork for salads, the spoon for desserts and the knife for simple cutting and for spreading the clotted cream and jam on F&M’s iconic cream teas.” Fast Company explains how the three-in-one utensil improves on the spork and splayds:
Holding the tritensil in your hand, the tines of the fork slant downwards, allowing you to pierce food with the edge. The serrated knife edge, meanwhile, faces in the opposite direction, and is part of the soup's bowl, unlike splayds where one of the tines is essentially a large knife. ... The serrations on the tritensil are also softer than a normal knife, making it nearly impossible to cut yourself on that edge.
The Tritensil is available in both bio-based plastic (for takeaway food) and stainless steel (as a picnic accessory) and in right- and left-handed versions. “No, it's not the best fork, it's not the best knife, and it's not the best spoon. We don’t think it ever will be,” Barwick told Fast Company. “But the spork is a very difficult design problem, and we’ve tackled it as best we can. The result, we think, is a really strong design.” Fortnum & Mason began handing out the new utensils in their cafes last week.
[h/t Fast.Co Design]