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Where Did 'Pringles' Come From? The Stories Behind 7 Salty Snacks

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We've told you how your favorite sweets companies got their starts and names, but what about the stories behind your favorite salty snacks? Here's the scoop on some makers of chips, pretzels, and nuts:

1. Pringles

This may shock you, but Pringles' name is every bit as synthetic as the product in their tubes. When Procter & Gamble introduced the chips in 1968, they needed a name, and the company wanted one that started with a "P." According to P&G, a brand manager broke out the Cincinnati phone book and made a list of street names that began with the letter. The company liked the ring of Pringle Drive in suburban Finneytown, OH, and since the word was available as a trademark, the chips found their name.

2. Snyder's of Hanover

In 1909, Hanover (PA) Canning Company president Harry V. Warehime decided to go into the pretzel business, so he started cranking out twisted snacks he dubbed Olde Tyme Pretzels for his new Hanover Pretzel Company. As Warehime's pretzels grew in popularity, another salty treat company started nearby during the 1920s. Grandma Eda and Edward Snyder began making homemade potato chips in their kitchen, and eventually they merged with their son's homemade angel food cake business to start a thriving bakery.

By the 1960s, Warehime's company had changed its name to the Hanover Foods Corporation, and in 1961 Hanover acquired the Snyder family's brand. The acquisition formed a new brand that combined the companies' names into Snyder's of Hanover. The pretzel brand then spun off from the parent Hanover company in 1980. And last week, Snyder's of Hanover merged with snack-food company Lance. (Thanks for the comment, Melissa!) The new company will be called Snyder's-Lance Inc.

3. Lance

Speaking of Lance, the vending machine and convenience store favorite throughout the South got its start in a bad business deal. In 1913, Charlotte food broker Philip L. Lance found himself in the unenviable position of having 500 pounds of raw peanuts that he couldn't unload. While he could have reneged on his deal with the peanuts' farmer, Lance decided to make the best of the situation by roasting the nuts and selling them for a nickel a bag on the Queen City's streets. Charlotte's hungry snackers gobbled them up, so Lance expanded his line to include peanut butter, too.

Lance's son-in-law Salem Van Every joined him in 1915, and the two began selling peanuts, peanut butter, and premade peanut butter and cracker sandwiches. By 1935, the company was raking in a million dollars a year.

4. Utz

The good people of Hanover, PA, must be the world's greatest snackers, because Snyder's of Hanover isn't the only munchie manufacturer that got its start there. In 1921, William and Salie Utz started frying up Hanover Home Brand potato chips in their kitchen. They could make about 50 pounds of chips per hour. They had a pretty clear division of labor: Salie would cook the chips, which William would then pack up to sell to local grocers. As the business grew, William and Salie constructed a small cement building in their backyard, and eventually the couple incorporated their chip venture in 1947.

5. Planters

The venerable nut maker got its start in 1906 when Italian immigrant and former bellhop Omedeo Obici stumbled onto a new way to blanch whole roasted peanuts and easily remove their hulls and skins. Although Obici originally peddled his nuts from a horse-drawn cart in Wilkes-Barre, PA, by 1913 he had opened a mass-processing plant in Suffolk, VA, and was on his way to earning a fortune in nuts.

Love Planters' mascot, Mr. Peanut? Thank schoolboy Antonio Gentile. In 1916 the company held a contest for children to design a corporate mascot, and young Antonio won with a sketch of a peanut-shaped man. A commercial artist later spruced Mr. Peanut up with a few touches of class: his monocle, top hat, and cane.

6. Blue Diamond

The makers of yummy almonds first came together in 1910 as the California Almond Grower's Exchange. After five years of business, though, the cooperative decided that it needed a catchier name that would accentuate the high quality of its nuts. The company decided that consumers thought the diamond was the best American symbol of quality, and since blue diamonds were the rarest, most prized variety of the day, the cooperative adopted a blue diamond as its seal. The original seal just said, "Fancy Almond Brands," but in 1917 the name changed to "Fancy Blue Diamond Brand."

7. Cape Cod Potato Chips

It may sound like an oxymoron, but natural foods store owners Steve and Lynn Bernard began Cape Cod on July 4, 1980 with the dream of making a healthier potato chip. The couple had been wowing friends with kettle chips they cooked at home for years, but they hoped that opening a storefront in Hyannis, MA, that summer would lure in tourist business and turn the snack into a regional favorite.

Things didn't exactly go as planned. The upstart chip company struggled out of the gate, and it looked like the Bernards had blown their savings on a silly dream. By the following winter, they were running seriously low on cash. That's when they got lucky: an out-of-control car plowed through the store's front window.

Believe it or not, being hit by a car proved to be just what the shop needed. Customers began walking in through the wreckage to buy chips. The local news gave the Bernards all sorts of publicity, and an insurance payment gave them the cash infusion they needed to stay afloat until the following summer. By the time the 1981 tourist season began, the Bernards' chips were moving so quickly that they couldn't keep bags on their shelves. The company's rise was so meteoric that Anheuser-Busch bought Cape Cod from the Bernards in 1985. Steve Bernard bought the company back in 1995, but he sold it again in 1999, this time to Lance.

One other thing about Cape Cod's chips: the lighthouse depicted on the bags is real. The illustration is a woodcut of the Nauset Beach Light in Eastham, MA.

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10 Memorable Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes
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Neil deGrasse Tyson is America's preeminent badass astrophysicist. He's a passionate advocate for science, NASA, and education. He's also well-known for a little incident involving Pluto. And the man holds nearly 20 honorary doctorates (in addition to his real one). In honor of his 59th birthday, here are 10 of our favorite Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes.


"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
—From Real Time with Bill Maher.


"As a fraction of your tax dollar today, what is the total cost of all spaceborne telescopes, planetary probes, the rovers on Mars, the International Space Station, the space shuttle, telescopes yet to orbit, and missions yet to fly?' Answer: one-half of one percent of each tax dollar. Half a penny. I’d prefer it were more: perhaps two cents on the dollar. Even during the storied Apollo era, peak NASA spending amounted to little more than four cents on the tax dollar." 
—From Space Chronicles


"Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes ... The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms."
—From Death by Black Hole


"Countless women are alive today because of ideas stimulated by a design flaw in the Hubble Space Telescope." (Editor's note: technology used to repair the Hubble Space Telescope's optical problems led to improved technology for breast cancer detection.)
—From Space Chronicles



"I knew Pluto was popular among elementary schoolkids, but I had no idea they would mobilize into a 'Save Pluto' campaign. I now have a drawer full of hate letters from hundreds of elementary schoolchildren (with supportive cover letters from their science teachers) pleading with me to reverse my stance on Pluto. The file includes a photograph of the entire third grade of a school posing on their front steps and holding up a banner proclaiming, 'Dr. Tyson—Pluto is a Planet!'"
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit


"In [Titanic], the stars above the ship bear no correspondence to any constellations in a real sky. Worse yet, while the heroine bobs ... we are treated to her view of this Hollywood sky—one where the stars on the right half of the scene trace the mirror image of the stars in the left half. How lazy can you get?"
—From Death by Black Hole


"On Friday the 13th, April 2029, an asteroid large enough to fill the Rose Bowl as though it were an egg cup will fly so close to Earth that it will dip below the altitude of our communication satellites. We did not name this asteroid Bambi. Instead, we named it Apophis, after the Egyptian god of darkness and death."
—From Space Chronicles


"[L]et us not fool ourselves into thinking we went to the Moon because we are pioneers, or discoverers, or adventurers. We went to the Moon because it was the militaristically expedient thing to do."
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit


Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at:
Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at:

"Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life."


A still from Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Studios
"[I]f an alien lands on your front lawn and extends an appendage as a gesture of greeting, before you get friendly, toss it an eightball. If the appendage explodes, then the alien was probably made of antimatter. If not, then you can proceed to take it to your leader."
—From Death by Black Hole
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40 Fun Facts About Sesame Street
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Now in its 47th season, Sesame Street is one of television's most iconic programs—and it's not just for kids. We're big fans of the Street, and to prove it, here are some of our favorite Sesame facts from previous stories and our Amazing Fact Generator.

Sesame Workshop

1. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before season two.

2. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.

3. During a 2004 episode, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid.

4. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street. They played games, sang songs, and R2-D2 fell in love with a fire hydrant.

5. Mr. Snuffleupagus has a first name—Aloysius

6. Ralph Nader stopped by in 1988 and sang "a consumer advocate is a person in your neighborhood."

7. Caroll Spinney said he based Oscar's voice on a cab driver from the Bronx who brought him to the audition.

8. In 1970, Ernie reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the timeless hit "Rubber Duckie."

9. One of Count von Count's lady friends is Countess von Backwards, who's also obsessed with counting but likes to do it backwards.

10. Sesame Street made its Afghanistan debut in 2011 with Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden). Big Bird, Grover and Elmo are involved.

11. According to Muppet Wiki, Oscar the Grouch and Count von Count were minimized on Baghch-e-Simsim "due to cultural taboos against trash and vampirism."

12. Before Giancarlo Esposito was Breaking Bad's super intense Gus Fring, he played Big Bird's camp counselor Mickey in 1982.

13. Thankfully, those episodes are available on YouTube.

14. How big is Big Bird? 8'2". (Pictured with First Lady Pat Nixon.)

15. In 2002, the South African version (Takalani Sesame) added an HIV-positive Muppet named Kami.

16. Six Republicans on the House Commerce Committee wrote a letter to PBS president Pat Mitchell warning that Kami was not appropriate for American children, and reminded Mitchell that their committee controlled PBS' funding.

17. Sesame Street's resident game show host Guy Smiley was using a pseudonym. His real name was Bernie Liederkrantz.

18. Bert and Ernie have been getting questioned about their sexuality for years. Ernie himself, as performed by Steve Whitmere, has weighed in: “All that stuff about me and Bert? It’s not true. We’re both very happy, but we’re not gay,”

19. A few years later, Bert (as performed by Eric Jacobson) answered the same question by saying, “No, no. In fact, sometimes we are not even friends; he can be a pain in the neck.”

20. In the first season, both Superman and Batman appeared in short cartoons produced by Filmation. In one clip, Batman told Bert and Ernie to stop arguing and take turns choosing what’s on TV.

21. In another segment, Superman battled a giant chimp.

22. Telly was originally "Television Monster," a TV-obsessed Muppet whose eyes whirled around as he watched.

23. According to Sesame Workshop, Elmo is the only non-human to testify before Congress.

24. He lobbied for more funding for music education, so that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play."

25. In the early 1990s, soon after Jim Henson’s passing, a rumor circulated that Ernie would be killed off in order to teach children about death, as they'd done with Mr. Hooper.

26. According to Snopes, the rumor may have spread thanks to New Hampshire college student, Michael Tabor, who convinced his graduating class to wear “Save Ernie” beanies and sign a petition to persuade Sesame Workshop to let Ernie live.

27. By the time Tabor was corrected, the newspapers had already picked up the story.

28. Sesame Street’s Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente joined Sesame Workshop as a production assistant and has worked her way to the top.

29. Originally, Count von Count was more sinister. He could hypnotize and stun people.

30. According to Sesame Workshop, all Sesame Street's main Muppets have four fingers except Cookie Monster, who has five.

31. The episode with Mr. Hooper's funeral aired on Thanksgiving Day in 1983. That date was chosen because families were more likely to be together at that time, in case kids had questions or needed emotional support.

32. Mr. Hooper’s first name was Harold.

33. Big Bird sang "Bein' Green" at Jim Henson's memorial service.

34. As Chris Higgins put it, the performance was "devastating."

35. Oscar's Israeli counterpart is Moishe Oofnik, whose last name means “grouch” in Hebrew.

36. Nigeria's version of Cookie Monster eats yams. His catchphrase: "ME WANT YAM!"

37. Sesame's Roosevelt Franklin ran a school, where he spoke in scat and taught about Africa. Some parents hated him, so in 1975 he got the boot, only to inspire Gob Bluth’s racist puppet Franklin on Arrested Development 28 years later.

38. Our good friend and contributor Eddie Deezen was the voice of Donnie Dodo in the 1985 classic Follow That Bird.

39. Cookie Monster evolved from The Wheel-Stealer—a snack-pilfering puppet Jim Henson created to promote Wheels, Crowns and Flutes in the 1960s.

40. This puppet later was seen eating a computer in an IBM training film and on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Thanks to Stacy Conradt, Joe Hennes, Drew Toal, and Chris Higgins for their previous Sesame coverage!

An earlier version of this article appeared in 2012.


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