Peanut Butter

This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.

Peanut - Science Photo Library/

The protein substitute.

Step aside, George Washington Carver. Contrary to almost universal belief, the celebrated American botanist didn’t create peanut butter. The stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth glory goes to Marcellus Gilmore Edson. In 1884, the Quebec chemist was awarded the first patent for peanut butter—or peanut-candy, as it was called then. Marcellus discovered it when he found that heating the surfaces to grind peanuts to 100 degrees Fahrenheit caused crushed peanuts to emerge as a thick, chunky fluid. When the liquidy grounds cooled, they set as a paste similar to butter. Now enter John Kellogg of the cereal empire, who marketed the creamy spread as a protein substitute for people who couldn’t eat solid food. Sorry, Mr. Carver.

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