The Sticky History of Peanut Butter

Learn Something New looks at the complex and often sticky history of peanut butter, despite various patents taken out and claims made over the years, including one by John Harvey Kellogg.

Peanut Butter has a complex history, with some familiar faces, and many new ones. The delicious substance, seemingly invented by multiple people over the course of over half a century, had humble beginnings as a protein substitute, but grew into an American favorite with around 700 million pounds being sold each year, approximately 3 pounds per person!

Along with the disputed origin story, transporting the product across state lines was difficult, as the peanuts would separate from the oil. That’s where Joseph Rosefield, a food executive from California, came up with an iconic idea.

Joseph Rosefield came in he knew that there would be a huge market for peanut butter out west if you could just solve the separation problem and he ended up fixing it by adding hydrogenated vegetable oil…Naming his new form of peanut butter Skippy

Rosefield’s invention was not without its own headaches.

…Skippy,¬†likely named after a popular comic strip of the time that he enjoyed, but when he tried to trademark his company he ran into an issue of his own the Skippy Skinner comic strip was extraordinarily popular at the time and its creator claimed that Rosefield was taking advantage of his creation to prop up his new peanut butter business.

After a long battle, Skippy finally patented and peanut butter would never be the same.

Who Invented Peanut Butter
Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.