Most people stop working when they retire, but entrepreneur Sam Farber had such a good idea that he came out of retirement to go into business again. Sam Farber’s wife, Betsy, had mild arthritis in her hands, and while watching her struggle with ordinary kitchen tools, Farber wondered why no one made kitchen knives that were comfortable. Farber’s concept of tools made for all hands gave rise to OXO, the company that makes those comfortable knives and tools today.
Sam Farber’s experience in the housewares business paid off quickly after his brief retirement. Pitching his idea to a company called Smart Design gave Farber the opportunity for more design and research. Farber consulted with professional chefs and ordinary consumers, and Gerontologist Patricia Moore contributed concepts which targeted consumers with special needs. The main idea behind the new designs was that one tool should work well for everyone, regardless of age or limitations. OXO tools perform whether you work with the right or the left hand, whether you’re male or female, and whether you’re young or old. OXO’s universal products eventually won many design awards and even found a place in museum displays. Farber chose the OXO trademark to represent the product concept — look at OXO from any direction and it reads the same; hold an OXO knife or tool any way you want, and it works.
In 1990, OXO’s entire product line consisted of just 15 OXO Good Grip kitchen tools, but the OXO Universal Design concept caught on quickly. Since the company’s conception, applications expanded into other areas including creating unisex facilities, building entryways accessible by all, and even designing pictorial signs in universal symbols. OXO creates about 50 new products yearly and in 2011 marketed more than 850 different items.
OXO manufactures full tang kitchen knives with handles of dishwasher-safe Santoprene. Santoprene resembles rubber but contains no latex and won’t dissolve when exposed to acids or oils. The soft Santoprene grips of OXO Good Grip knives and tools are non-slip even when wet and conform to the individual’s grip instead of requiring hands to conform to handle shapes. OXO makes cutting boards, kitchen gadgets, and even mandolines designed to be safe, comfortable, and efficient.
Read all of our OXO product reviews below: