Sam Farber isn’t exactly a household name, but many of the products he invented are, making his death last week a noteworthy event. Farber contribution to industrial design is the line of Good Grips kitchen implements made by OXO, the company he founded in the early 1980’s. By now the story of the first OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler is well known: that he noticed his wife struggling to manage a standard peeler with her arthritic hands. His answer was Santoprene, a soft plastic that made possible fat, pliable handles that were comfortable to grip and easy to manipulate.
But Farber cared about how his invention looked as much as how it worked, which explains why OXO Good Grips kitchen tools are so ubiquitous now that the primary impetus for their invention has become a secondary storyline. For a product designer, that’s a pretty good legacy to leave behind, we’d say.