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Dispatches: One Fork to Rule them All

Outside Podcast

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Dispatches: One Fork to Rule them All

Outside Podcast

Outside's longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will entertain, inspire, and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since added three additional series, The Outside Interview, which has editor Christopher Keyes interrogating the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, Dispatches, a diverse range of stories on newsworthy topics, and Sweat Science, which explores the outer limits of athletic performance.

Outside Podcast

In this first episode of a new series exploring how gear gets made, we investigate the origin of arguably the most refined fork in history. When designer Owen Mesdag was a graduate student in the late-1990s, he fell in love with a particularly clever spoon. Engineered by outdoor brand MSR, it doubled as a stove repair tool. Mesdag was enamored with it and he thought, I want to make a matching fork. And how hard could that be, really? A fork is a fairly simple tool. Except Owen’s fork didn’t just have to be good, it had to be perfect. His obsessive attention to detail meant that he kept going back to do more testing, taking more trips to Asia, and redesigning the fork again and again, because it was never quite right. Producer Alex Ward has this story explaining why the business end of a fork tells us a great deal about the tireless designers who make our favorite things.

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