14 Fascinating Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Jell-O
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Jell-O is “America’s Most Popular Dessert”—just as a 1904 ad campaign paid for by Jell-O told us. Let’s delve into some of the history and mystery behind the wobbly treat.
The first person to hold the patent for what would become Jell-O was Peter Cooper (not pictured) in 1845. He stupidly sold it to Pearle B. Wait — a cough syrup manufacturer — in 1897. Wait then stupidly sold it in 1899 to his neighbor, Orator Frank Woodward (a high school dropout), who bought it for $450 (about $12,000 today). Then Woodward became so rich, it’s stupid.
There were four original flavors of Jell-O — lemon, orange, strawberry, and raspberry — as detailed in this 1904 advertisement.
Jell-O began to take off in the early 1900s thanks to clever marketing and promotion. They would even give out free Jell-O molds to immigrants as they arrived at Ellis Island.
Jell-O commissioned art for ads by several famous artists, including Norman Rockwell.
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