Honoring the Man Who Designed the Pringles Can

Friday, June 06, 2008

So last week, a true American hero passed away and the press barely said a word.

I am talking about Fredric J. Baur, the man who created the potato crisp packaging system for Pringles — otherwise known as “a can with a lid.”

This is the greatest single invention in the snacking world, but our mainstream media cared more about the death of famed French designer Yves St. Laurent.

Baur patented the can in 1966 and it quickly changed the way fat people like me became fatter, elevating itself beyond snacking also-rans like Funyuns, Bugles and the repulsive Munchos.

It wasn’t so much the can, but the way in which the chips were stacked. This prevented breaking and crumbling — a common problem among chips and elderly women. I became so dependent on the smooth curvature of Pringles that if I came across a broken chip, I would strangle a pet. I called this “Pringle rage.”

But here’s the thing: Baur died at 89. The fashion guru died at 71.

This clearly points out that the world of snacking is far healthier than the world of not snacking.

In fact, if you take a look at all our snacking giants — McDonalds’ Ray Kroc died at 82 and Orville Redenbacher popped his last corn at 88 — you can see that the secret to longevity is a savory one. Snack food giants far outlive fashion designers by decades. I’d cite more evidence, but is that really necessary?

Finally, as you may know, Fredric asked to be cremated and buried in a Pringles can, where I’m sure he will stay fresh and crispy forever.

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