Fiskar Orange Scissors
They’re easy to spot, affordable, and won’t disappoint. Is there anything worse than grabbing a pair of scissors to open a box and finding the blade is too dull to cut through the tape?
The Finnish company Fiskars introduced their ubiquitous, orange-handled scissors in 1967. Designed by industrial designer Olof Bäckström, they were the first plastic scissors ever to hit the market. Interestingly, this company that produced the first plastic scissors started out producing iron and was the first cutlery mill in the small village of Fiskars. After World War II, however, the plastic industry was reaching new heights.
Bäckström, who favored clean designs and modular forms, began to create plastic tabletops and other streamlined home goods for Fiskars. The designer had some bright orange plastic left over from making orange juicers, and this became the de facto material for his prototype scissors. He combined the blades of a pair of typical, heavy metal shears that were being used at the time with the light, durable leftover plastic, which he formed into a handle that actually curved to fit the user’s hands. The company put the color to a vote, and everyone agreed the orange should continue to be used in production (not that much of surprise, since orange and pea green were favorite colors of the era). Since then, over one billion pairs of Classic Fiskars scissors have been sold. Originally marketed as fabric scissors, they redefined the standard for cutting precision. In the 1970s seamstresses and tailors appreciated the ergonomically sculpted handle that fit their hands for better cutting control, plus the bent handle design kept the material flat for precise cuts every time.
While researching the history and design for this piece, I learned that each pair of scissors is sound tested. Yes, each pair make just the right sound when used, as demonstrated on a video on the company’s website. (My dog, Merlin, lost his mind from hearing over a minute of the precise snipping of the stainless-steel blades as they cut through fabric, herbs, hair, paper, tape, and even an arm cast.) The blade tension is adjustable, and there is a screw fastening for easy cleaning.
In 2004 the Classic Fiskars orange-handled scissors were added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This distinction, along with previous accolades, led to the company’s winning a lawsuit to trademark its shade of orange, making it one of the few companies to have successfully trademarked a color.