Last updated: May 13, 2024

What Does Fourchette Mean?

A fourchette is a narrow strip of cloth joining the front and back sections of the fingers of a glove. It is a forked strip of material that forms the sides of two adjacent fingers, which allows the fingers to fork and thus retain the ability to hold angular objects.

The term “fourchette” originates from a French word that means “forked.” This part of the glove is, therefore, also known as the forge or the fork. Glove-making is a common trend since the 16th century in Europe, but the use of this part varies depending on the purpose of the gloves.

Safeopedia Explains Fourchette

Some fourchettes have an extra V-shaped gusset at the bottom, called the quirk, which allows better shape and movement for the fingers. Gloves made of stretchy leather do not have the quirk because they are already flexible. Industrial gloves have fourchettes that are simpler strips or have the quirks cut in with the fourchettes. However, there were many 13th-century designs that might not be relevant for industrial usage. There used to be a type of continuous fourchette glove that had a strip of cloth running along with the pinky until the tip, then down the side and around the glove.

Gloves from ancient times, which were usually worn as adornments, have seen a revolutionary change across the years with industrialization. Industrial gloves are now being used for the safety of the hands of workers who face heat and heavy machines in various factories. Safety gloves can help protect their hands from sudden injuries and also provide them with the flexibility to hold machinery and utensils with a firm grip.

It’s important to note that the material with which the gloves are made depends on the industry of each worker. For instance, latex gloves are used in laboratories and while handling medical equipment, while rubber gloves are used by electrical workers. Asbestos gloves are used for protection from burns, and lead-impregnated gloves are used to shield the hands from X-rays. Canton flannel gloves treated with polyvinyl are plastic-coated work gloves that are heat resistant, and canton gloves are also impermeable to acids, alkalis, industrial oils, greases, and other chemicals.

The above-mentioned gloves may or may not contain fourchettes, depending on the amount of flexibility the work requires. According to the International Labour Law, the construction industry has a disproportionately high rate of recorded accidents, and the number of unreported deaths is said to be even higher. Industrial gloves reduce the numbers by hundreds, as they are particularly designed to stand extreme heat, abrasion, cutting, corrosion, and weight. They promise superior long-term durability and are often adjustable to industrial needs. A lot of research goes into their design and components, which includes the inclusion of quirks, fourchettes, or the fiber that should be used.


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