You see them every day — in your home, at the supermarket, and in TV commercials — tried and true products like Dial soap, Budweiser beer and Hershey’s Kisses.
But do you know how these familiar brands got their names? Author Joey Green does and he shares his secrets in the entertaining new book, “Joey Green’s Incredible Country Store: Potions, Notions and Elixirs of the Past.”
Here, exclusively for ENQUIRER readers, are the fascinating origins of some of America’s best-loved products:
BABY RUTH CANDY BAR
The Baby Ruth candy bar was NOT named after Babe Ruth, but after “Baby” Ruth Cleveland, the daughter of former President Grover Cleveland in 1921. The Yankee legend did endorse a knock-off called “Babe Ruth Home Run Bar,” but Baby Ruth’s bosses went to court and forced the competitor off the market.
Candy coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize — that’s what you get in Cracker Jack! The popular treat got its name when a salesman, sampling the mix for the first time in 1899, exclaimed, “That’s crackerjack!” — meaning very good. And a snack star was born.
Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too? In 1885, Charles Alderton, the inventor of Dr Pepper soft drink, named the beverage after Dr. William R. Pepper of Virginia when the doctor refused to allow his daughter Minerva to marry Alderton, who was from Waco, Texas. The strategy didn’t work and Alderton married another woman, but the name stuck. And it’s a good thing . . . Alderton originally called the drink “Waco.”
The candy, invented by Milton S. Hershey in 1907, is named for the sound the machine nozzles made as they squirted out each dollop of chocolate.
LITTLE DEBBIE SNACK CAKES
The treats from the McKee Baking Company of Tennessee are named after the founder’s granddaughter, Debbie McKee, who was a young girl in 1960 when she posed for the picture on the packages.
The chocolates were created in 1926 when the maker, F. Hoffman & Company of Chicago, tried to produce a perfectly round candy and instead mistakenly made lopsided, but delicious, “duds.”
The chewy treats were named for “Tootsie,” the 5-year-old daughter of inventor Leo Hirshfield, an Austrian immigrant, who began selling the treats in New York City in 1905.
Who’s the original Dairy Queen? Company founder J.F. McCullough came up with the name in 1940 when the first ice-cream store opened in Joliet, Ill. He said it was in honor of the real queen of the dairy industry — the cow!
Dial became a brand in 1948 because execs at the Armour Soap Co. wanted to get across the idea that it offered round-the-clock protection. To emphasize the point, they used a clock dial for the emblem.
The white soap came about by accident in 1879, after a Procter & Gamble employee left the mixing machine on when he went to lunch, and got too much air into the soap he was making. The extra whipping made the 99 44/100 percent pure soap float and gave the product one of its greatest selling points.
Brewmeister Carl Conrad christened his beer Budweiser after the Bohemian town of Budweis in 1876, because the townsfolk were famous for making a similar-style beer.
Just what IS Victoria’s Secret? Ironically, the sexy lingerie company bought by Leslie Wexner, owner of The Limited clothing chain in 1982, was named after prudish Queen Victoria.
From the book, “Joey Green’s Incredible Country Store: Potions, Notions and Elixirs of the Past And How to Make Them Today,” by Joey Green. Copyright ? 2004 by Joey Green. Published by Rodale Inc. Reprinted by permission.