- This small metal pin with a red enamel front was made by Doc Morgan, Inc., an emblem jewelry business based in Illinois. The company was established in 1929 by G.H. “Doc” Morgan, a relative of J.P. Morgan, who over the following 71 years acquired other manufacturing operations to expand production across the United States and abroad.
- The pin is shaped like the original Fritos logo and features a small diamond inlaid at the bottom. The back of the pin is stamped with the label “CTO 10K,” which indicates the type of gold used on the pin (10 karat) and the trademark for the company that manufactured the base of the pin (O.C. Tanner Jewelry Company, based in Salt Lake City, Utah.) The pin is held on a small, velvet-topped pad of foam in a plastic box that bears the Doc Morgan, Inc. logo. This lapel pin, along with a matching watch, was regularly worn by C.E. Doolin, along with his suit and fedora, when he went to work at the Frito Company in Dallas, Texas. This pin is part of a collection of objects and archival materials on the Doolin family and the Frito Company donated by Kaleta Doolin, the daughter of C.E. Doolin. See Frito Company Records, 1924-1961, #1263, NMAH Archives Center.
- C.E. Doolin launched “Fritos” in 1932, inspired by a recipe he had purchased from Gustavo Olguin, a Mexican-American restaurant owner in San Antonio, where Doolin had worked as a fry cook. Olguin’s “fritos” (the name came from the Spanish word frit, meaning fried) were small fried corn chips made from masa dough. Doolin bought the recipe, Olguin’s hand-operated potato ricer, and nineteen customer accounts for the snack, all for $100. He then patented his own device for extruding the masa dough through a cutter, which produced ribbon-like strips that were then fried in hot oil. Doolin marketed the chips as an ingredient in recipes, many of which were inspired by his mother Daisy Dean Stephenson Doolin’s dishes for entertaining. The chips were used in both sweet and savory preparations, including as crust for fruitcakes, breading for salmon croquettes, and garnish for tuna salad.
- In 1945 Doolin connected with Herman Lay, famous for automating the manufacturing process of potato chips and the head of H.W. Lay & Co. Lay took on the nationwide distribution of Fritos at this time. Doolin passed away in 1959, and in 1961 The Frito Company officially merged with H.W. Lay & Co. to become Frito-Lay. Frito-Lay went on to develop more products (including the wildly popular snack foods Cheetos and Doritos) and become the largest snack conglomerate in the world. Initially promoted as an ingredient in foods for entertaining, Fritos were advertised mostly to children, both in print and television campaigns and via cartoon characters such as the cowboy-inspired “Frito Kid.”
- Fritos were most successful as a standalone snack. Following the success of the commercial potato chip in the 1930s, there was a growing market for other salty snacks and pre-packaged foods to be eaten on the go and in-between meals. The creation of “snack time” as a new type of American meal helped bolster the popularity of Doolin’s invention. The packaging of these snacks would also prove revolutionary—before 1900, snack foods and sweets were sold in small paper bags and portioned out by the grocer or shop owner. As manufacturers experimented with cans and glassine bags and materials such as wax paper and cellophane, they found new ways to keep food fresh and vacuum-packed until the customer opened it. Over the second half of the twentieth century, snack foods would develop into a $22 billion dollar industry.
- Currently not on view
- Object Name
- Physical Description
- metal (overall material)
- red (front color)
- overall: 1/2 in x 3/4 in x 3/8 in; 1.27 cm x 1.905 cm x.9525 cm
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Credit Line
- Gift of Kaleta A. Doolin
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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