These perfectly-designed orange scissors are iconic -- take a look at their history

ScissorsHarry How/Getty ImagesFiskars’ orange-handled scissors are the most iconic on Earth.

You probably have a pair lying around the house and don’t even know it.

Orange-handled Fiskars scissors, the iconic tool celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, are some of the most iconic scissors in existence. Since their inception, the Finnish company has sold more than a billion pairs.

Finns so love their orange scissors that the Helsinki Design Museum has opened an exhibit, “Our Scissors,” that will run all through September and October to celebrate the scissors’ spread from a small European country to households around the world.

From humble (and accidental) beginnings

In the late 1960s, Finnish designer Olof Backstrom helped Fiskars create the world’s first pair of plastic-handled scissors. They were supposed to be black, not orange. But when Fiskars accidentally used some leftover orange plastic from a juicer production line, the company realised it’d created something great.

The company put the colour to a vote. Orange won out over black 9-7.

Other colours have come along since then, but the orange pair is by far Fiskars most treasured creation. The scissors became a permanent fixture in New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2004, and the colour even has its own trademark.

Listening for the snip

Before each pair leaves the factory, professional “scissors listeners” make sure they produce the right snip sound as the steel blades slice together.

According to Fiskars, the scissors “are inspired by nature, physics, and the human anatomy to solve problems in surprising ways.”

It’s no accident designers lump them in with other perfectly designed products, like Sharpie markers and Post-It Notes. Fiskars has been around since the 17th century. It’s had some time to get the cutting experience just right.

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