Monday, October 21, 2019
The History of Jell-O
The History of Jell-O Jell-O: ItÃ¢â¬â¢s now as American as apple pie. Once a twice-failed processed food made from a mash-up of animal parts, it managed to become a hit dessert and the go-to food for generations of sick children.Ã Who Invented Jell-O? in 1845, New York industrialist Peter Cooper patented a method for the manufacture of gelatin, a tasteless, odorless gelling agent made of out animal by-products. CooperÃ¢â¬â¢s product failed to catch on, but in 1897, Pearle Wait, a carpenter turned cough syrup manufacturer in LeRoy, a town in upstate New York was experimenting with gelatin and concocted a fruit-flavored dessert. His wife, May David Wait, dubbed it Jell-O.Ã Woodward Buys Jell-O Wait lacked the funding to market and distribute his new product. In 1899 he sold it to Frank Woodward, a school dropout who by the age of 20 had his own business, Genesee Pure Food Company. Woodward bought the rights to Jell-O for $450 from Wait. Once again, sales lagged. Woodward, who sold a number of patent medicines, Raccoon Corn Plasters, and a roasted coffee substitute called Grain-O, grew impatient with the dessert. Sales were still slow, so Woodward offered to sell the rights to Jell-OÃ ® to his plant superintendent for $35. However, before the final sale, WoodwardÃ¢â¬â¢s intensive advertising efforts, which called for distribution of recipes and samples and paid off. By 1906, sales reached $1 million.Ã Making Jell-O a National Staple The company doubled down on marketing. They sent out nattily dressed salesmen to demonstrate Jell-O. The also distributed 15 million copies of a Jell-O recipe book containing celebrity favorites and illustrations by beloved American artists, including Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell. The dessertÃ¢â¬â¢s popularity rose. WoodwardÃ¢â¬â¢s Genesee Pure Food Company was renamed Jell-O Company in 1923. Two years later it later merged with Postum Cereal, and eventually, that company became the behemoth known as the General Foods Corporation, which is now called Kraft/General Foods. The gelatinous aspect of the food made it a popular choice among mothers when their children were suffering from diarrhea. In fact, doctors still recommend serving Jell-O water- that is, unhardened Jello-O- to children suffering from loose stools.