Not So Pointless Fancy Forks

Sadly, I am not fancy enough to have realized there were so many types of forks before making this blog post. Though, now that I have learned about special forks and their purposes, I see how it is helpful to have many types of forks especially in a multi-course meal. Forks usually have one to four tines, points of the fork. Forks can also be different shapes and sizes. These differences may seem arbitrary, but really, they are useful.

The first type of fork is the salad fork. This fork has a wider left prong so it can easily cut the components of the salad. This is useful because sometimes ingredients such as baby tomatoes are in salads and even though some people like to eat them whole, others may want to cut it in half. The salad fork removes the need for a knife, but still lets the user may their salad into edible portions. The salad fork is also longer than normal forks. This is so that it can be paired with a salad spoon in order to easily toss the salad. The salad fork is also made to be a strong fork by having connected center tines so that it can handle all the many ingredients in salad. The salad spoon enables simpler and more delicious salad eating.

Salad fork

The second type of fork is the fish fork. This fork is special because its left tine is slightly larger than the other tines. There also will be a notch on the side of the fork. The purpose of both of these details is to allow the user to remove the bones and skin from their fish using the left tine. This can completely remove the need for a knife when eating softer fishes. This allows the user to have to deal with less utensils and eat their fish easily.

Fish fork

The final type of fork is the oyster fork. This fork has three tines and is very small. The left tine is wider than the rest in order to disconnect the oyster from its shell. Also, this fork is the perfect size to pick up small seafood, such as oysters. It is able to fit inside the shell in order to remove the meat.

Oyster fork

Overall, all these forks have been designed for specific purposes. This directly involves human factors engineering because when these products were made the user was definitely in mind. The way that they have small features that make them do tasks that correlate with their food is exactly what human factors is about. Also, how they’re able to eliminate the use of a knife in many situations.

Another way these fork designs relate to human factors is through their size. Anthropometrics is involved in designing these forks. The oyster fork, for example, is small so that is can easily be held by one’s finger tips since not a lot of force is needed to hold oysters. There were measurements involved in deciding what the size should be in the grasp. Overall, many human factors aspects were taken into creating these forks and they are actually purposeful.


Desimone, M., & Jensson, J. (2015, December 10). Fork Primer | When, Why and How to Use Different Forks. Retrieved April 05, 2018, from

Lininger, M. (n.d.). Forks. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from

4 thoughts on “Not So Pointless Fancy Forks

  1. I knew that there were different types of forks, but besides differences of overall size, I didn’t know any specific differentiations between the types of forks. I still don’t see a large utility in the difference types: besides minor improvements, I feel like a regular fork would be more that sufficient in most all scenarios.

  2. Personally I want to applaud the design and adaptation of the salad fork. Because normal forks just cannot really deal with most of the green ingredients in the salad as it cannot penetrates the leaves and people can only use it as a spoon which is very inconvenient. It will also make a mess when one is trying to get a cherry tomato in his or her mouth: since the tips are not specifically designed to be sharp enough and the tomato will burse and perhaps get on one’s clothes. Making detailed changes to existing designs to eliminate some problems is a great way to better human experiences.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your blog post! I have seen all of these forks before but did not know what the purpose of the differing details were. When reading your post, I thought of the invention of the spork. The spork not only makes eating with utensils easier, it also eliminates a lot of plastic waste. I think it would be really cool if you did a post about them because I want to know more!

  4. I never knew all of these forks had specific uses! Before, I thought they were all just designed to look pleasing. It’s interesting how these tiny changes in the design can drastically change its’ function and use of the entire fork.

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