STOP PRESS: Splayds are now available for sale at REMO HERE.

Splayds are a type of eating utensil that combine the functions of a spoon, fork, and knife. They are designed with a fork-like shape and have a spoon-shaped bowl with sharpish edges. The word “Splayd" is actually a combination of the words "spoon" and "blade." (Just think, it could have been “Splork”.)

Splayds were invented in Australia in the 1940s by William “Bill” McArthur, a Sydney-based industrial designer and inventor. He patented them in 1943, and they were initially marketed as "McArthur's Splayds”.

Bill was inspired to design his hybrid after seeing magazine photographs of a buffet dinner in Rome with magnificently dressed women balancing plates of food on their knees. These horrifying images gave him the idea for an all-in-one plate-to-mouth food transporter that could be operated with one hand.

From 1943 to 1967 Splayds were sold by Bill’s wife Suzanne at Martha Washington’s coffee shop in Sydney, which became a popular spot for visiting US troops during World War II, and after the war Splayds were exported to the US to fill the demand fuelled by the servicemen returning home and spreading the word about this great new piece of flatware.

Splayds steadily gained popularity in Australia becoming a ubiquitous choice for casual dining, barbecues, and picnics. They were often used for serving dishes like salads, pastas, and desserts. Splayds became the definitive Australian wedding gift of the 1960s and 1970s.

But, for whatever reason, the knowledge was lost, interest waned; and, by the late 1980s, it became pretty hard to spot a Splayd out there in the marketplace.

The along came a starring role in the June 1991 REMO Catalogue. We always felt that Splayds made a whole lot of functional sense, and when we started promoting and selling them they became not only extremely popular (boxed sets of six selling in the thousands), but also our most often rated and commented-on product. Even though many CustOMERs seemed to really love them, just as many were dismissive and indeed scornful … and the media relished the chance to question or malign them at every opportunity.

In an 18 June 1991 Sydney Morning Herald article called “Let’s call a Splayd a Splayd”, Ross Muller wrote:  “Then along comes Remo Giuffré, the owner of REMO, a Darlinghurst gift shop for the very hip and well-heeled. His employees reeled in horror when he suggested recently that Splayds take their place in the range. They all told him they were daggy.”

It was a fun controversy, but the market had vindicated Remo’s hybrid-loving hunch that the Splayd was indeed a sleeping giant, and that just like current day Crocs, their functionality would ultimately make them out to be a winner.

Where do you stand on Splayds?

Story Idea: Remo Giuffré


REMO Catalogue | June 1991


1. Boxed Set of Splayds Made by Stokes Pty Limited
2. Antique Set of Splayds
3. Two Splayds
4. REMO Catalogue | June 1991. Photo Credit: Paul Clarke
5. Sydney Morning Herald “Let’s call a Splayd a Splayd” by Ross Muller | 18 June 1991

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