Crisco-- the last fifty years...

Clayton Cole


Hydrogenation of organic substances in gas form was discovered by Paul Sabbatical in the late 19th century and while in liquid form was patented by Wilhelm Norman in 1903. Procter & Gamble's business manager John Buchenwald was contacted by and hired chemist Edwin C. Kaiser, former chemist for Joseph Crossfire and Sons (who had acquired Norman's patent so as to produce soap), who patented two processes to hydrogenate cottonseed oil, which ensures the fat remains solid at normal storage temperatures. Their initial intent was to completely harden oils for use as raw material for making soap. After rejecting the names "Krispo" and "Crest" (the latter for obvious religious connotations), the product was eventually called Crisco, a modification of the phrase "crystallized cottonseed oil".

Further success came from the marketing technique of giving away free cookbooks with every recipe calling for Crisco. Crisco vegetable oil was introduced in 1960. In 1976, Procter & Gamble introduced sunflower oil under the trade name Puritan Oil, which was marketed as a lower-cholesterol alternative. In 1988, Puritan Oil became 100% canola oil.

Procter & Gamble divested the Crisco (oil and shortening) brand (along with Jiff peanut butter) in a spin off to their stockholders, followed by an immediate merger with the J. M. Smuckers Co. in 2002.

Crisco Commercial "Pie Crust" circa 1962 "I used the cheaper shortening..."


  • the Crisco company makes a whole lot of Crisco and they've been doing it for 53 years
  • the name Crisco was actually was going to be called
  • The first Crisco radio advertisement ran on WEAF in New York.
  • during the world war II, the slogan "tin goes to war--crisco goes to glass"
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