Universal Design: A-peeling To the Masses
Better Living Through Design: One Company’s Quest to Improve a Simple Kitchen Gadget
One day, ten-year-old me was sitting at my parents’ dining table peeling a huge pile of potatoes with a vegetable peeler. The peeler’s design was simple and straight forward, but a challenge for small hands. Even with a stern warning from my mother (“Be careful with that peeler – you’ll cut yourself!”), I inadvertently peeled off the upper part of my index finger. Decades later, I still have a scar on that finger and an irrational fear of potatoes.
In the early 1990s, the OXO vegetable peeler was unveiled. The design was based on the conventional vegetable peeler, save one defining feature: A wider handle, creating a more stable grip for the human hand to grasp onto. The founder of OXO, Sam Garber, developed the idea for the improved design:
Noticing that his wife, Betsy, who suffered from mild arthritis in her hands, was having difficulty gripping ordinary kitchen tools, he saw an opportunity to create more comfortable cooking tools that would benefit users. In 1990, the first group of 15 OXO Good Grips kitchen tools were introduced to the U.S. market at the Gourmet Products Show in San Francisco, California, in 1990.