A winning combination of form and function, Fiskars’ Classic Scissors appeared half a century ago and remain a staple tool in millions of homes and offices around the world.
Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, while Maurice Saatchi stated that “Simplicity is the outcome of technical subtlety. It is the goal, not the starting point.” Both would have been fans of the best-known product of Finland-based global consumer goods company, Fiskars.
Subject of a million-and-one imitations, Fiskars’ orange-handled Classic Scissors can be found in kitchen and office drawers the world over, and recently celebrated their 50th birthday.
The Fiskars story is somewhat longer, and begins back in 1649, in the village of Fiskars, Finland, when the company set up its ironworks to manufacture products such as nails, wire, knives, hoes and iron-reinforced wheels.
In 1832, Fiskars began fine-forging operations, which allowed it to begin making scissors. And more than two centuries were to elapse before Olof Bäckström created the famous orange-handled Classic Scissors, of which over one billion have since been sold.
The new scissors brought together ergonomic plastic handles and new blade-sharpening methods to produce scissors that were effective, competitively-priced and comfortable to use.
While the effectiveness of the new scissors was no accident, the characteristic orange colour of the handles was – and yet in 2003 Fiskars Orange became a registered trademark in Finland.
The Classic Scissors themselves are internationally recognised, being part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
The success of the Classic Scissors has contributed greatly to the success of Fiskars, which employs around 9000 people in 30 countries. In 2007, it acquired glassware and interiors company Iittala, who created the distinctive trophy given to winners of the third identity Design Awards.