Friday, July 3, 2015

Edwin Perkins (1889-1961)

Perkins was born in Lewis, Iowa in 1889 but spent his youth in the village of Hedley in southwestern Nebraska.

When he was a young lad, the family moved to a sod house on a farm in Nebraska.

His father owned a store, so Edwin often saw new products. He especially liked a new food called Jell-O.

When he was older, Edwin married and started a business called Perkins Products Company.

Perkins was interested in inventing and making new products. He had experimented with chemistry since his childhood, creating a number of products like deodorant and foot powder. He sold perfumes and other small items to stores across the country.

After World War I, he invented a tobacco remedy called Nix-O-Tine, the first of his many patent medicines.

Edwin had a new idea and invented Fruit Smack. It was a thick flavored syrup people mixed with water.

He then invented a way to make the drink flavors into powder. In 1927 Perkins reconstituted Fruit Smack into powdered crystals and packaged it in bright paper envelopes.

He called the powder ‘Kool-Ade’ but later changed the name to ‘Kool-Aid’. Perkins initially manufactured and sold Kool-Aid in his hometown of Hasting, Nebraska, moving the company to Chicago once the product was established.

Perkins set the original price of the drink powder at 10 cents per package, and he reduced the cost to 5 cents during the Great Depression, keeping Kool-Ade well within financial reach of most American families.

By the end of the Great Depression, Edwin Perkins owned a suburb mansion and developed hundreds of works in his factory.
Edwin Perkins (1889-1961)

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