We recently wrote about the Splayd, an Australian utensil popularized in the 1940s that combines a knife, spoon, and fork. But it’s not the only tritensil on the block.
London-based design studio Map and department store Fortnum & Mason think they’ve improved upon things with its Tritensil.
And the object did need improving, according to Map designer Scott Barwick. “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,” he tells Co.Design. Like a spork, a Tritensil has the body of a spoon with tines on the end, but it also has the teeth of a knife on one side of the curved portion. To minimize the risk of injury, the knife portion is softer than usual. The shape is also different from a typical spork. The side with the knife — which is reversed for the left-handed among us — is thicker, encouraging users to eat with the other side. It’s also angled for a more precise grip.
If you’re trying to picture using the Tritensil to eat a steak, don’t. It was designed to assist customers in consuming the department store’s Hamperling, a kind of tea-time picnic box. Fortnum & Mason is now using the Tritensil in its café. There’s also a stainless steel version for sale, if you’d like to include it in your more permanent picnicware.
“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,” says Barwick. “But the spork is a very difficult design problem, and we’ve tackled it as best we can.”
Who knows; maybe one day they’ll be included on a pocket knife like the lowly spork itself.