The Swip Story

This twig forerunner to the Swip was made on a camping trip.
In the field

SwipStix™ ergonomic eating tongs were conceived in the wild by a nature-loving Canadian designer who loves to cook.

Many moons ago, Tom Littledeer was on a wilderness canoe trip in Northern Quebec. But no one had brought eating utensils. Eager to eat the fish he had caught, he whittled a stick and split it to make rudimentary chopsticks — until a knot in the wood halted the knife, leaving a Y. He lodged a pebble into the Y and used the twig like tweezers to eat the fish. For the rest of the trip, everything was eaten with “Ys”.

Around the campfire, the topic turned to the “Ys”: Is it really necessary to stab cherry tomatoes? Do salads need to be subdued? And why are there so few eating utensils when the types of food and the cooking utensil markets are every expanding?

The idea of a product formed: An utterly new utensil — a natural extension of the thumb and forefinger; an eating tool that would work like a bird’s beak.

Littledeer, then and still a designer of wooden implements for the kitchen, returned from the trip to develop an extended line to his cooking and serving tools, the Sprongs™. The Tines™ eating tools have been on the market since 1998, their availability restricted by their method (handmade), their material (wood) and their inability to go in the dishwasher.

But the idea of an elegant, quiet, interactive eating tool for the food service industry simmered, awaiting the advance of technology. It was only when resilient food-friendly polymers hit the market just as the emergent sustainable food movement and the visual aspect of plating became mainstream through the internet, that the moment was right.

The Swip™ was the culmination of a multidisciplinary challenge, a bringing together of the skills of cooking tool design, prototyping, tool-and-die making, 3-D modeling, thermoplastic molding, not to mention food preparing and serving, all focused through a deep interest in Nature and sustainability.

More versatile than chopsticks, more interactive than forks, the Swip had to respond to Littledeer’s guiding principles:

  • Be useful and innovative.
  • Be environmentally conscientious.
  • Be pleasing to the eye and comfortable in the hand.

What began as tweaked twigs evolved into ergonomic chopsticks and, today, into high-tech eating tongs as appropriate at a formal dinner as at a picnic. #eatingtongs #ergonomicchopsticks

SwipStix™ eating tongs: designed by Tom Littledeer, patented by Leading Edge Designs Inc., manufactured in Quebec, Canada.

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