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A magazine photograph of women at a party awkwardly balancing cutlery and plates of food on their laps inspired William McArthur to invent the Splayd, a single-handed fork, spoon and cutting blade. From 1943 to 1967 McArthur's wife Suzanne used and sold them in her Martha Washington café in Sydney.
Splayds are often considered to be an iconic Australian product. The initial design by McArthur in the late 1940s was sold to Stokes Pty Ltd in 1960. The company then redesigned the product for mass production. By 1991 Stokes had sold 4.75 million Splayds in 52 countries.
Released in 1962, when buffet lunches and barbecues were becoming popular in Australia, Splayds quickly caught on and were a favourite wedding gift in the 1970s. They are easy to use, informal and more socially acceptable than eating with hands.