When I was a kid, my family discovered a love of Pringles. They replaced some our other favorite chips and pretzels for a good amount of time.
While consuming mass quantities and staring at the beautiful red tube they came in, I remember asking my sister, “What is the name of this guy on the can?”
Without hesitation, my sister respond, “Uncle Mustache.”
So for the majority of my life I thought that was his name. I would find out much later that the name of this mustachioed potato spokes-character was actually, Mr. P or Julius Pringles.
Uncle Mustache was Julius Pringles!?
Shocking I know, but of course it makes a lot more sense to be named after the product you represent, rather than your facial hair. When I told my sister that I found out his real name, she thought it was VERY funny that she had been able to hoodwink me for decades. I got to admit, it was impressive.
Pringles got their start in Procter & Gamble in the mid-fifties, when chemist Fredric J. Bauer was tasked with creating a new type of chip. One that would not be greasy or break easily.
Using fried dough, Baur was able to create the saddle-chaped creation that we would eventually call a Pringle. He even developed the can they would come in. Unfortunately, this version of the chip just didn’t taste good.
It wasn’t until the mid-sixties that another person at Procter & Gamble, Alexander Liepe was able to improve the taset. At that point they had a marketable product and Julius Pringles was born.
But don’t call Pringles, potato chips. They are potato crisps. A distinction that has kept them away from lawsuits from chip makers for decades.
The product was originally known as Pringles Newfangled Potato Chips, but other snack manufacturers objected, saying Pringles failed to meet the definition of a potato “chip” since they were made from a potato-based dough rather than being sliced from potatoes like “real” potato chips. The US Food and Drug Administration weighed in on the matter, and in 1975, they ruled Pringles could only use the word “chip” in their product name within the following phrase: “potato chips made from dried potatoes”. Faced with such a lengthy and unpalatable appellation, Pringles eventually opted to rename their product potato “crisps”, instead of chips.Wikipedia
In 1967, Julius Pringles first appeared on his distinctive can. While he shares some characteristics with modern Julius, there are marked differences. He had rosy cheeks, darker hair and a bow tie that said Pringles on it.
That version would survive for almost 20 years. Then in 1986, a new Julius appeared. He now had a mouth and eyebrows. Ten years later, the mouth and rosy cheeks would disappear, then in 2002 we got a Julius that looks similar to the one on cans today. No mouth, no eybrows, no rosy cheeks.
Just all hair, eyes, and mustache staring off into a Pringle-filled horizon.