The simplest thing


Journal Article

Toothpick has been regarded as the simplest object of all. The idea of wooden toothpick came when Benjamin Franklin Sturtevant successfully made shoe-peg blanks but is unaware of the toothpick the shoe-pegging machine yielded. It was Charles Forster who acquired the rights of mass producing toothpicks by acquiring Sturtevant's patent and some of his machineries. By the end of 1850s, wooden toothpicks were commonly found in hotels and restaurants in New York. Although this small mechanical device is proven to be beneficial, it also have been the cause of many injuries, some of which are fatal. Among the most dangerous things one can do is to swallow it. As small and simple a thing as the mass-produced wooden toothpick may be, its story, infused with social and cultural origins, influences and implications is wide ranging and complex.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Petroski, H

Published Date

  • November 1, 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 95 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 482 - 485

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0003-0996

Citation Source

  • Scopus