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Who Invented Rice Krispies Treats?

Turns out the popular confection was invented by two women who worked for the Kellogg’s!

Malitta Jensen and Mildred Day came up with the recipe while working in the Home Economics department of the Battle Creek cereal company in 1939. They originally conceived of the recipe as something they could bake for a fundraiser for their local troop of Campfire Girls. They shared the recipe with their bosses and their bosses shared it with the world, simply hoping to boost sales of the cereal.

That’s the way it went all the way until 1995. By then several manufacturers were already marketing their own pre-made knock-offs of the treats. Not wanting to be left out, Kellogg’s finally began producing their own pre-made Rice Krispies Treats that year.

Here’s a photo of Mildred Day. Alas, we could find no photograph for her co-creator, Malitta Jensen.

BTW – no truth to the rumor that Howdy Doody developed a Treat addiction so bad he sold his left leg for firewood to support his habit.



Who’s Got Cooties?

When we were growing up, did any of us not either have this game or play it at friends’ homes?

The term “cootie” was first coined by U.S. soldiers during World War I. They used it to describe any of the various vermin like lice and bugs that infested the trenches in which the war was waged. When they returned after the war, they brought the term home with them. Kids, in particular, liked using it.

Cootie, the game, was created in 1948 by a Minneapolis postman named William Sharper. Sharper liked to whittle and the first “cootie” was whittled by him as a fishing lure. When he finished the lure, he got the idea of turning it into a kid’s toy.

Sharper had a little store where he sold homemade popcorn machines. He started selling his wooden cooties there. After a year of pretty good sales, Sharper decided to build a game around assembling his somewhat oversize critter. He formed the W. H. Sharper Manufacturing Company and began creating his cooties in plastic. He approached Dayton’s, a local department store, and got them to carry Cootie on a consignment basis. By the end of 1950, Dayton had sold nearly 6,000 sets of the game, not bad for a local product with no advertising. Those sales convinced a distribution company to begin carrying Sharper’s creation nationwide. By 1952, over 1 million Cootie games had been sold. Thereafter, Sharper’s company sold a million a year until well into the 1960s. As time passed, Sharper added other games to his line such as Tumble Bug, Inch Worm and Busy Bee.

Eventually, Sharper sold his creation to Tyco Toys in 1973. By 1976, Hasbro acquired Cootie which it still sells to this day.

So, raise a glass to the only cooties any kid really wanted to have!

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