The First Spork

Posted by: balzaccom

The First Spork - 06/22/14 10:21 AM

Ok--we're back from our trip to Italy, and we can hardly wait to hit the trails up in the SIerra. Summer is here, and the mountains are calling us.

But when we were in Florence, we couldn't help noticing this remarkable object invented in the 1600's there--backpackers will immediately recognize this as a spork, the essential dining implement of the backcountry.

Admittedly, this is a heavier version, made in silver. But there wasn't a lot of plastic around in the XVII century...

If you are interested, this is in the Bargello Museum in Florence. And no, it's not the most impressive thing in that museum, either.

If you'd like to see all of our photos of that trip, and there are over 500 of them, you can click here:
Posted by: PerryMK

Re: The First Spork - 06/22/14 11:12 AM

It sounds like just the kind of museum I would find interesting.
Posted by: aimless

Re: The First Spork - 06/22/14 01:39 PM

Cool! cool

Of the Big Three eating utensils (knife, fork, spoon) the fork was definitely the latecomer to the party. I presume the bowl of the spoon on that ur-spork has a hinge or something similar to allow the fork tines to be brought into play.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: The First Spork - 06/22/14 02:49 PM

When the fork first appeared, it was known as a "runcible spoon." I found this out after reading "The Owl and the Pussycat" to my youngest grandchild who promptly wanted to know what it was. ("They dined on mince and slices of quince/Which they ate with a runcible spoon")
Posted by: aimless

Re: The First Spork - 06/22/14 03:30 PM

I just checked out the Wikipedia entry:

which makes a fairly good case that runcible is a nonsense word coined by Edward Lear, who wrote The Owl and the Pussycat. Lear also wrote of a "runcible hat", "runcible cat", "runcible goose" and a "runcible wall". But the wikipedia article goes on to list a variety of definitions that have sometimes been attached to "runcible spoon", which does include a spork-like utensil, so the definition that you discovered has some precedent in usage.