Fact File about the Invention of the Spork: Invention: Spork *** Date of Invention: 1874 *** Name of Inventor: Samuel W. Francis *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1835 - 1886 *** Nationality of Inventor: American *** Historical Period: Second US Industrial Revolution / Victorian (1850 - 1914) *** Category: Household Items *** Country of Origin: America *** Facts about the Inventor, Samuel W. Francis, and the invention of the Spork ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Spork? The Spork was invented by Samuel W. Francis in 1874 during the Second US Industrial Revolution era of inventions (1850 - 1914).
Fact 2: Who invented the Spork? Prior to the invention of the Spork in
1874, there were spoons, forks and knives but no one had
thought to combine the functionality of these pieces of cutlery until Samuel W.
Francis invented the Spork.
Fact 3: Who invented the Spork? The inventor of the Spork, Samuel W. Francis, was born on December 26, 1835 in New York, New York, United States and died on March 25, 1886.
Fact 4: Who invented the Spork? The early years of Samuel W. Francis were spent in New York, New York, United States where he was raised by his
wealthy family. His father was Dr. John W. Francis, a famous doctor and member
of New York City's elite.
Fact 5: Who invented the Spork? Samuel W. Francis was educated at Columbia
University and New York University medical school where he qualified as a
Fact 6: Who invented the Spork? The American Civil War (1861 - 1865)
broke out and Dr. Samuel W. Francis spent the first two years of his medical
career treating wounded soldiers. At the end of the Civil War he returned to New
York City to work as a doctor.
Fact 7: Who invented the Spork? Dr. Samuel W. Francis did not confine his
interests to the medical profession. It was the beginning of the Industrial
Revolution and the new, exciting ideas of the era were frequently discussed at
New York's social events.
Fact 8: Who invented the Spork? During his lifetime the ingenious and
genial Dr. Samuel W. Francis invented a whole range of inventions from a
prototype of the typewriter using piano keys to strike the letters and glass
gloves for burns patients, but the humble spork is the invention that became his
most famous achievement.
Fact 9: Who invented the Spork? Samuel W. Francis was a popular member of
New York's upper classes. He was invited and hosted some of the city's most
prestigious social events.
Fact 9: Who invented the Spork? The table preparation and etiquette for
such events dictated numerous items of silver cutlery that indicated the social
status and wealth of the host and the guest.
Fact 10: Who invented the Spork? The practical doctor, a veteran of the
Civil War, perhaps mused at the absurdity of such strict table etiquette and
perhaps fleetingly considered how much easier eating would be with just one
piece of cutlery.
Fact 11: Who invented the Spork? The opulence of the social events must
have made Samuel W. Francis reflect on the hardships suffered in the Civil War.
During this time the personal equipment of a Civil War Soldier included a knife,
fork and spoon. The idea of lightening the load of any people who travelled
perhaps led to the invention of the spork by Samuel W. Francis.
Fact 12: Who invented the Spork? Westward Expansion and the new, faster
forms of transport invented during the US Industrial Revolution resulted in the
movement of hundreds of thousands of poorer people - who would no doubt
appreciate the convenience of the spork. The spork was cheaper than buying three
separate utensils, saved space and was lighter to carry.
Fact 13: Who invented the Spork? Samuel W. Francis evidently believed
that there was merit in his simple invention and applied for a patent for his
new, novel piece of cutlery. His patent application was headed an 'Improvement
in combined knives, forks, and spoons' and was granted on February 3, 1874,
patent number US 147119.
Fact 14: Who invented the Spork? The original invention of the Spork was
not successful for several reasons. The bowl of the spork was too shallow to
hold an acceptable amount of soup, and the prongs were too short and stubby and
the knife edge was not able to properly penetrate anything firm.
Fact 15: Who invented the Spork? Samuel W. Francis continued to create
new inventions until his death on March 25, 1886.
Fact 16: Who invented the Spork? The three-in-one cutlery combination was
not an immediate hit for Samuel W. Francis but the merit of the idea was picked
up by other inventors and entrepreneurs. Various improvements and 'tweaks' were
made to the original design. The 'Splayd' was created in the 1940s by Australian
inventor William McArthur that combining the functions of spoon, knife and fork.
Fact 17: Who invented the Spork? The invention of synthetic
Plastic and Bakelite by Leo Baekeland in 1907 and the
emergence of fast food, take-away food made Sporks a success and an "overnight
Fact 18: Who invented the Spork? The Plastic Spork was used in prisons as
the eliminated the possibility of making weapons from such items. Airlines
adopted the lightweight convenient Spork, for in-flight snacks, that were
wrapped in a little package with a paper napkin and some condiments. The Spork
also became popular with campers and backpackers and were used at barbeques.
Fact 19: Who invented the Spork? The greatest impact of the Spork
came in the 1970's when Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)
became the first to offer plastic sporks with its meals.