This innovation was once condemned as unmanly and even satanic. Centuries later it became so popular that one American president passed a law limiting its use. In this episode of Johan Norberg’s New and Improved, Norberg explores the controversial history of...the fork?
When John Quincy Adams introduced forks at the White House, some hailed it the end of the American way of life. The dramatic history of the fork has little to do with the object itself, but rather the cultural and economic factors that affect our society and way of life.
It took 700 years for society to accept the fork. At first its exclusivity made it a dubious vanity item, with dozens of kinds used at a single meal. Innovators eventually discovered methods for making them affordable to the masses, paving the way for their popular adoption.