Fiskars Orange Handled Kitchen Scissors
Period Piece #4: Fiskars Kitchen Scissors
Back in 1649 a Dutch bloke called Peter Thorwöste turned up in a tiny hamlet in Southern Finland and set up an ironworks. The hamlet was called Fiskars Bruk and lent its name to the company Peter founded. Fiskars duly set about manufacturing nails, wire, hoes, and other useful bits and bobs. Fast forward to 360 years and Fiskars is a multi-million pound international corporation – they have even gobbled up (or rescued!) historic British brands like Wedgwood and Royal Doulton.
In the three centuries between Peter Thorwöste’s modest ironworks and the gigantic company Fiskars is today, one year stands out. That year is 1967. For it was in 1967 that, in their own humble words, “Fiskars revolutionized the way the world saw scissors and created a design icon that is loved across the globe”. What we are talking about is orange-handled kitchen scissors.
It is thought that the basic design of scissors originated around 3000BC. So to lay claim to a defining moment in the global scissors history is no trifling matter. But you cannot argue with the numbers, Fiskars have sold over a billion of these orange-handled beauties across the world.
For a modest £11.99 I got myself a pair. What can I say? They are good scissors. They’re light, they cut well, I like orange, and they have an ergonomic handle manufactured specifically for the right hand (don’t panic lefties – they do those as well).
The million dollar question is why the bright orange handle? Was this a design master-stroke, making them easy to spot in the kitchen drawer? Was it a marketing gimmick to differentiate from the competition? No. It was total coincidence. The orange for these now iconic scissors came from some leftover plastic that had been used for juicer production and was lying around in the factory. The color stuck, and a design classic was born.
So a hats-off to Fiskars for making the greatest leap in scissor design since the Bronze age. Peter Thorwöste would be proud.