Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Smooth or Crunchy?: The Creator of Today's Peanut Butter

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.
                 Image result for 1930 skippy crunchy                  
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!

Works Cited


  1. I had no idea that peanut butter started as a protein substitute for people who had such awful teeth that they could not chew meat. Peanut butter is such a creative and tasty solution to such a problem. I was also intrigued to find out that is takes 1,500 peanuts to make a single jar of peanut butter. Furthermore, I know that hydrogenating the peanut oil makes for a more consumer friendly product, but I wonder whether or not the hydrogenation of the oils has any negative health effects. The video did say that these hydrogenated peanut oils are labelled as trans fat which has been linked to several diseases and has even been banned in some countries.

  2. You make a great point saying "Creativity is just as important in the improvement of past inventions as it is in creating something new." Most people automatically associate creativity with originality and novel ideas. While that holds true, it doesn't necessarily mean that every creative idea is going to be completely different from those that came before it. Especially with today's social media coverage and exposure to the world around us, many often feel overwhelmed by the volume of material that's already been put out there. It may seem daunting to try and come up with a completely new idea. If more people were comfortable with building upon what's already out there (not stealing of course), then maybe we would all feel that creativity is achievable for all.


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