Going as far back as the Aztecs there have been recordings of the creation of peanut butter. The Aztecs described a process of mashing and roasting peanuts into a sort of paste that was far different than what we have today. Another more famous person who was credited with inventing peanut butter was George Washington Carver. Carver did not create peanut butter, but rather found three hundred other uses for the peanut. One of the first patents on a peanut butter like substance was made by Dr. John Kellogg and his brother W. K. Kellogg (the founders of the Kellogg cereal company). Their version of peanut butter did not taste as good as current peanut butter because they steamed their peanuts instead of roasting them.
Through a few more trial peanut butter recipes there was still one issue with the end product, the oils would separate from the rest of the ingredients. To fix this issue chemist Joseph L. Rosefield developed a non-separating peanut butter. The special ingredient to his recipe was using hydrogenating peanut oil. This ingredient not only kept the peanut butter from separating, but also made it last longer. In 1922, Rosefield started to sell his new peanut butter. He then licensed his product to another company that renamed it Peter Pan Peanut Butter. In 1932, Rosefield had a dispute with the Peter Pan company and left to make his own company that he named Skippy. Along with his new brand, Rosefield released a new kind of crunchy peanut butter that had small chopped up peanuts mixed in on the last manufacturing step.
Joseph Rosefield's creations demonstrate that not all great inventors develop a completely original product. Creativity is just as important in the improvement of past inventions as it is in creating something new. Author Howard Gardner, in his book "Creating Minds", describes creative people as being able to solve problems and fashion new products. Rosefield accurately fits this mold by fixing the issue of peanut butter and creating a new style of it.
If you are interested in seeing how peanut butter is made watch this video!