It’s the birthday in 1914 of the man who brought spray can and whipped cream together: Aaron “Bunny” Lapin.
In case you’re wondering, he got the nickname “Bunny” because that’s what “Lapin” means in French.
He was a clothing salesman at first, but got into the food business during World War II, selling a whipped cream substitute known as Sta-whip.
This was a time when convenience was a big deal for home cooks.
Many companies were focusing on products to save people time and effort in the kitchen.
Lapin offered Sta-whip customers the Fount-wip, which was a very basic aerator for his substitute whipping cream.
By 1946, in the postwar boom, Lapin teamed up with the Crown Cork and Seal Company, which had launched the Spra-tainer, the first modern aerosol can.
(There sure are a lot of hyphenated product names in this story.)
Lapin named his new instant whipped cream in a can Reddi-wip.
No more beating air into cream with a whisk, or a hand mixer, or a stand mixer, until you had stiff peaks!
All you had to do was spray the cream through the nozzle and enjoy.
Reddi-Whip took off almost right away; Lapin was a millionaire before his patent had even come through.
Consumers loved the convenience of the product, though critics have pointed out that products like this one have meant more waste and, ultimately, more cost for consumers since they’re paying a great deal more for the packaging.
Still, Lapin was hailed as one of the most influential business minds of the 20th century, though a few of his follow-up ideas failed to take off like Reddi-wip had.
While aerosol whipping cream was a huge hit, consumers were less excited about Touch ‘N Shake, a kind of milkshake in a can, and Touch ‘N Spred, a kind of sprayable cinnamon-flavored margarine.
Today in 1895, the birthday of Dr. Rebecca Lancefield, a microbiologist who created a system to classify and distinguish the different types of streptococcal bacteria.
One of the ways some scientists celebrate her contributions is that they remake her recipe for eggnog, which not only tastes great, spiking the drink actually kills off germs.
Pretty appropriate, given Dr. Lancefield’s line of work.
Aaron ‘Bunny’ Lapin, 85, Dies (Washington Post)
Aaron S. Lapin, Reddi-wip Creator, Dies at 85 (New York Times)
Photo by Jagrap via Flickr/Creative Commons