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Fascinating facts about the invention
of
Planters Peanuts by Amedeo Obici in 1906.
PLANTERS PEANUTS
Amedeo Obici (Ah-may-day-o O-bee-chee), founder of Planters, was born in 1876 in the small town of Oderzo near Venice, Italy. When Obici was old enough to read, his widowed mother would show him his uncle's glowing letters from America. Thus began Obici's dream.
At age eleven, reality had him pulling up at Bush Terminal in Brooklyn, New York. An Italian immigrant, 11 years old, not knowing any English, but going on to become prosperous business innovator. His willingness to work showed even at this early age. He started his career as a bellhop and fruitstand vendor in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Later, Obici moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and opened his own fruit stand and invested in a peanut roaster. Here he linked his life's fortune with the peanut. In a few years, Obici turned peddler, using a horse and wagon, and called himself "The Peanut Specialist". In 1906, Obici went into partnership with Mario Peruzzi. He had developed his own method of blanching whole roasted peanuts, doing away with the troublesome hulls and skins; and so with six employees two large roasters, and crude machinery, Planters was founded. Amedeo Obici realized that prices and first profits were not nearly so important as repeat business. He proved his operation based on quality and brand name were important for continued success. Two years later, the firm was incorporated as Planters Nut and Chocolate Company.
Mr. Peanut, Planters mascot is such a nut, everybody's just crazy about him! Since his introduction in 1916, to help advertise the sales of the country's first roasted peanut company,  Mr. Peanut has become one of the nation's best-known advertising characters. Based on the original drawing of a 13-year-old boy, the ever-dapper Mr. Peanut eventually added a top hat, white spats, ebony cane, and monacle to his unique ensemble.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
Creation of "Peanuts" comic strip   from The Great Idea Finder
George Washington Carver, Inventor Profile   from The Great Idea Finder
History of Snack Foods   from The Great Idea Finder


ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Planters Peanut Collectibles: A Handbook and Price Guide
Jim Lindenberger, Joyce Spontak / Paperback / Schiffer Publishing Ltd. -1997
In 1961, after 55 years of the family-style leadership of a private company, Planters Nut and Chocolate Company was acquired by Standard Brands, but continues to produce a great number of advertising premiums.

ON THE SCREEN:
Salty Snacks
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / 76318 / Less than $25.00
It's official--the American diet is a disaster. But it is also undeniably tasty, and increasingly snack-centric. We consume over 4.3 billion pounds of snack food a year which means the snack is on the verge of becoming America's favorite meal!

Snackfood Tech
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / 74171 / Less than $25.00
It's a world of creamy fillings, frosted tops and salty morsels. It's a multi-billion dollar industry where recipes are closely guarded secrets. It's an American obsession. See what happens before M&Ms get to "melt in your mouth" at Masterfoods USA, the world's largest candy manufacturer. At each stop, we'll meet the men and women who keep these tasty treats coming and the formulators who are working to create the next snack sensation.


ON THE WEB:
Planters Official Web Site
Lots of entertainment, nutty facts, recipes, news and games.
(URL: www.planters.com)
Working for Peanuts
You may not have heard of Planters founder Amedeo Obici, but everyone knows his alter ego, the suave legume that became an advertising icon.
(URL: virtualitalia.com/articles/fl_obici.shtml)

Amedeo Obici - A Man of Vision
Amedeo Obici founder of Planters, was born in 1876 in the small town of Oderzo near Venice, Italy.
(URL: www.billsly.com/planters/html/main_5.html)

Museum of Advertising Icons
This Museum has over 650 nostalgic collectibles, with photos, histories and of course Mr. Peanut.
(URL: www.toymuseum.com)

Half a Century of Fun
The Nut Factory started in 1952 as a roaster of peanuts. Located in Spokane, Washington. Over the years The Nut Factory has grown into a large snack food manufacturer. They ship over 600 product every day to businesses everywhere throughout the United States.

(URL: www.thenutfactory.com/)
Louise Obici Memorial Hospital.
Since 1951, the residents of Suffolk and the surrounding communities have been heir to a legacy of health and hope through the generosity of one man, Amedeo Obici, the founder of Planter's Peanuts.
(URL: www.obici.com/about/history.asp)
No Longer Just Peanuts
This is Virginia's peanut belt, the land of Mr. Peanut, the dapper symbol of one of Suffolk's most venerable institutions, Planters Peanuts  Article from the Times Dispatch.
(URL: www.timesdispatch.com/route58/MGBNSHFEI2D.html
Mr Peanut Design
Mr. Peanut was the brainchild of a thirteen year-old Virginia schoolboy named Antonio Gentile. In a logo contest sponsored by Planters in 1916, young Antonio submitted a drawing of a peanut person with arms and crossed legs, which he labeled "Mr. Peanut." Planters awarded Antonio the grand prize of $5. Later, a professional illustrator reinforced the impression that Planters nuts were a cut above the ordinary by giving Antonio's crude peanut person a top hat, monocle, white gloves and cane.
(URL: www.cdf.org/cdf/atissue/vol4_2/Peanut/peanut.html)

DID YOU KNOW:

  • The peanut is really a legume, like a pea.
  • The peanut was known in Peru around 1200 to 1500 B.C. well preserved peanut plants have been found in Inca mummy bundles and burial sites.
  • Before the civil war, peanuts were known throughout the South as "groundnuts", "ground peas", Goober peas", Monkey Nuts", Pindars", and "Goobers".
  • The name "pindar" and "goober" were African tribal words.
  • About 1920 farmers in the southern states were infested with the boll weevil. They were forced to find another cash crop to take the place of cotton - they choose peanuts, which turned out to be an excellent substitute.
  • The peanut became the favorite food for farm animals, but in recent years corn is now cheaper to produce and easier to store than peanuts.
  • India is by far the largest producer of peanuts in the world, followed by mainland China. India and China produce over 50% of the world's peanuts. The United states is in third place.
  • About 10% of the United States peanut crop is sold in the shell.
  • Peanut kernels which count 60 to 80 peanuts per ounce are considered small ( such as the Spanish peanut). 40 to 60 peanuts per ounce are medium, and 30 to 40 peanuts per ounce are graded as large.
  • The major use of peanuts in the United States is making peanut butter.
  • Peanuts contain about 26% protein - higher than dairy products, eggs, fish, and many cuts of meats.
  • A glass of milk and two peanut butter sandwiches provide 83% of the growing child's daily need for protein!
  • The 1990 U.S. Census counted nearly 15 million people of Italian descent. Even if all 5,000 members of organized crime identified by the President's commission were Italian American, this would amount to 0.0003 percent of the current Italian American population or 3 people out of 100,000.

 

Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised February, 2005.
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