Thomas Lamb Kitchen Tools with Lamb Wedge-Lock Handles 1953

  • Not on view

"Come, let me clutch thee," read the title of the New Yorker's 1954 feature on Lamb, also known as "the handle man." Lamb's singular devotion to the human hand developed through his study of anatomy while executing medical illustrations for surgeons. By 1941—having observed seven hundred pairs of hands—he began designing the optimal ergonomic handle, which he patented in 1945. Known as the Lamb Wedge-Lock Handle ("It wedges the fingers apart," he said, "and locks the thumb and fingers on place"), his design fits both right and left hands and does not roll or slide when gripped. In 1948 MoMA mounted an exhibition devoted entirely to Lamb's handles, which, though applied first to kitchen equipment, were later used for surgical tools, gavels, squeegees, hairdryers, suitcases, screwdrivers, and police clubs, among many other objects.

Gallery label from Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen, September 15, 2010–March 14, 2011.
Cutco Division, The Aluminum Cooking Utensil Co., New Kensington, PA
Stainless steel and plastic
.1 (paring knife): 6 1/2 x 7/8 x 5/8" (16.5 x 2.2 x 1.6 cm) .2 (utility knife): 9 x 1 x 5/8" (22.9 x 2.5 x 1.6 cm) .6 (chef's knife): 14 1/4 x 1 3/4 x 7/8" (36.2 x 4.4 x 2.2 cm) .7 (service fork): 10 1/2 x 3/4 x 1 1/8" (26.7 x 1.9 x 2.9 cm) .8 (carving fork): 11 3/8 x 3/4 x 1 1/8" (28.9 x 1.9 x 2.9 cm)
Gift of the manufacturer
Object number
Architecture and Design

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