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A plastic knork

A knork /ˈnɔrk/ is a hybrid form of cutlery which combines the cutting capability of a knife and the spearing capability of a fork into a single utensil. The word knork is a portmanteau of knife and fork. Typically, one or both of the outer edges of a fork-like utensil are sharpened to allow the user to cut their food.

An advantage of the knork is that it can be used easily by people who have use of only one hand; Roald Dahl reports in Boy how his father invented a knork precursor as a result of losing his arm. Indeed a knork may also be known as a Nelson fork, after Horatio Nelson who used this type of cutlery after losing his right arm in 1797.[1]

Another style of knork was invented around 1856 by George Washington Bean, a man who lost his arm in a cannon misfire. He called it a knife and fork combination and invented it for the sake of eating with one hand. It is commonly called a Nelson knife, though it does not look like the knork Nelson used. It has a J-shaped curved knife blade with three short prongs on the end.[2] Bean did not get a patent but was given credit by the company who made it for him in a magazine article.[3]

Several patents have been issued for designs of knorks, such as #RE9687 issued to Arthur W. Cox in 1881,[4] #1294031 issued to Henry J. Bigelow in 1919,[5] and #2185942 issued to Charles Frank in 1940.[6] The side cutter fork is also similar.[7]

In a sense, a pastry fork is a precursor of the knork, since it is also a fork designed to be used as a knife for cutting food.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] "Combined knife and fork", National Maritime Museum website
  2. ^ "Legacy". Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "The Autobiography of George Washington Bean", compiled by Flora Diane Bean Horne
  4. ^ Patent RE9687 "Combined Knife And Fork"
  5. ^ Patent 1294031 "Fork"
  6. ^ Patent 2185942 "Table Service"
  7. ^ Pat Barr... et al. (1981). Glorya Hale, ed. The source book for the disabled : an illustrated guide to easier and more independent living for physically disabled people, their families and friends. London: Batam Books. pp. 235–7. ISBN 0553137530. 

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