In the appendix to Creamy and Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, the All-American Food, Jon Krampner offers a timeline of the history of peanut butter. Here are some key moments from that timeline:
1894: George Bayle allegedly begins to manufacture peanut butter in St. Louis.
1895: John Harvey Kellogg files the first patent on a peanut butter-like substance.
1904: C. H. Summer sells peanut butter from a booth at the St. Louis World’s Fair, where many Americans taste it for the first time.
1904: Beech-Nut becomes the first national brand to sell peanut butter.
1923: Heinz becomes the first major brand of peanut butter to be stabilized by hydrogenation, using the Frank Stockton patent for full hydrogenation.
1933: Joseph Rosenfield begins to produce Skippy peanut butter at the Rosenfield Packing Company in Alameda, California.
1942-1945: Peanut Butter is included in the rations of American soldiers fighting overseas during World War II. GIs acquire a taste for it, return home and feed it to their baby-boom children.
1958: Procter & Gamble begins to make Jif, which has such a high concentration of of hydrogenated vegetable oil that the FDA says it has to be called a “peanut spread” rather than peanut butter.
1970: Frank Ford brings Deaf Smith peanut butter to market, triggering a revival of natural or old-fashioned peanut butter and marking for the first time Valencia peanuts are used in peanut butter.
Early 1970s: First Salmonella contamination of Peter Pan, originating at Swift’s Derby Plant in Chicago.
1975: Kraft introduces Koogle, the first commercial flavored peanut spread, in four flavors: cinnamon, banana, chocolate, and vanilla.
1976: Jimmy Carter is elected president, the first peanut farmer to hold office since Thomas Jefferson.
1996: The peanut industry responds to growing health concerns about peanut products by creating the Peanut Institute, dedicated to sponsoring research about and publicizing healthy aspects of peanuts and peanut butter. Within a few years, the decline in sales of peanut butter is reversed.
2009: Salmonella contamination of peanut butter products made by the Peanut Corporation of America sparks the largest food recall in American history.
2010: The world’s largest peanut butter and jelly sandwich, weighing 1,342 pounds, is made at the Great American Peanut Butter Festival in Grand Saline, Texas.