What Is a Spurtle?

October 23, 2022 tim mcguire

There's a lot of misconceptions, half-truths and misinformation about what a Spurtle really is. We're going to do a deep delve on the history of the word itself and its uses.

A lot of claims place the word in Scottish or Amish origins, but it's actually much older. Spurtle itself is etymologically cousins to Spatula and is much, much, older. In Ancient Greece weavers would work their vertical looms with a σπαθη ("spathe") which was a long, flat, piece of wood. Spathe itself is thought to be derived from even more ancient Proto-Indo-European spe-dh (Spade) which would be a long, flat, piece of wood.

But where it really comes together is with the Romans. Late Empire legionairres often ditched the Gladius swords for long, thin, blades known as Spatha which itself was derived from Spathe. It's easy to speculate that Scottish and German/Amish ancestors, who were often enemies of late Empire Romans, would recognize and sometimes fear the "Spatha" and probably work the word into their every day life. The first spurtles were not the round porridge stirrers commonly seen in Scottish competitions today but similar to our Couthie Spurtle in that they were long, thin, flat utensils similar to the Roman swords. 

Interested in trying a Spurtle out? We highly recommend our Couthie Spurtle, as written about in the Wall Street Journal - Off Duty (Breakfast By Way of Brigadoon, published on 10/8/2022).

Wild Cherry Spoon Co.'s wooden Spurtle with description of how Spurtles are used for porridge, flatcakes, and more as written about in the Wall Street Journal

1 comment

  • Carolyn Wahl-Uhing

    Feb 03, 2024

    I use my spurtle several times a week….perfect for stirring! But I am anxious to use the “spatha” too. I only learned about it’s origins when I read about it on my iPad.

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