In one of my earlier postings, I showed you one of my favorite recipe pamphlets from the National Biscuit Company. I’ve received many comments from my readers about this pamphlet, so here’s a bit more information.
I recently ran across a wonderful book, The Public Accepts: Stories Behind Famous Trade-Marks, Names and Slogans, by I. E. Lambert, Published by The University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM, 1941. This is a fascinating read and I advise you to keep your eyes open for a copy of your own.
The National Biscuit Company was organized in February, 1898. At that time crackers were sold in cracker barrels. As a rostrum for the village statesmen the cracker barrel was not a bad idea, but it was a definite evil for the cracker industry. The shopping housewife, upon her return home, often opened her brown paper bag to find that she had purchased broken, stale, and dirty crackers.
Mr. Adolphus W. Green, chairman of the Board of the National Biscuit Company, conveived the idea of selling a fresh and clean soda cracker in a small, attractive package and giving the cracker a distinctive name as a remedy for the menace of the cracker barrel.
In August, 1898, a suggested list of possible names for the new product was submitted, such as “Hava Cracker,” “Usa Cracker,” “Taka Cracker,” etc. The name “Uneeda” was also on this list, and finally, after some hesitation, it was adopted. The word “Uneeda” was probably the first coined combination of words which are so frequently used today for trade names.
In January, 1899, preparations were complete. One morning the people of Chicago and other Illinois cities woke to discover in the newspapers two mysterious words printed in bold type: “UNEEDA BISCUIT.” This suggestive combination of letters aroused the curiosity of the purchasing public and the venture was a succcess almost overnight.
A few months later, Mr. Joseph J. Geisinger, seeking to illustrate the moisture-proof properties of the new package, dressed his young nephew, Gordon Stille, in boots, sou’wester, and slicker, put a package of “Uneeda Biscuit” under his arm, and took him to the photographer. When Mr. Green saw the result he was delighted. Thus the “Uneeda Boy” was added to the gallery of world famous trade-mark figures.