Who Invented Peanut Butter

Since the invention of peanut butter is actually completely natural, no-one can take credit or receive as the individual who invented peanut butter.

However the invention of peanut butter has quite an interesting history, and some myths along the way too.

One thing we can say for certain is that the people who invented peanut butter lived in the American tropics, simply because that’s where peanuts are natively found.

Several hundred years ago, the native American Aztecs mixed and mashed peanuts and turned it into a paste. How or why they did this is unknown, but it was certainly a stroke of genius on their part!

The modern equivalent of peanut butter is better known. The man who invented modern peanut butter was Marcellus Gilmore Edson who hailed from Canada. He filed a US patent application that was issued in 1884 (patent number #306727), which he entitled “Manufacture of Peanut-Candy”. You can view his detailed process and description for making peanut butter here. Simply put, Edson’s peanut butter invention was to mill roasted peanuts amidst a hot or heated surface in order to transform the peanuts into ‘fluid’ form. The result was not quite what we have today, but certainly laid the foundation for the peanut butter paste that we spread on our bread or biscuits. What is fascinating is how Edson described his process in such detail, which was available for all the public to see (and thus copy). Sometimes it is best to keep your recipes private!

Next a well-known innovator enters the picture. His name is none other than JH Kellogg (recognize the name?). Kellogg also filed a patent application shortly after Edson, and received it in 1897 for a peanut butter invention, which used peanuts to produce a substance he entitled ‘nut butter’. It is starting to come together.

Then, just 6 years later, in 1093 a man named Dr. Ambrose Straub filed a patent for a machine that made peanut butter. So we can credit Straub as the man who invented the peanut butter making machine.

As a sidenote, there is a myth that does the rounds in the US that a man named George Washington Carver was the inventor of peanut butter. Well it turns out this myth is false. Carver invented ways and means to use peanuts, well over 300 in fact, but none of these related to peanut butter (amazingly). That’s because peanut butter was invented prior to his uses for peanuts!