Interesting Historical Facts
Crisco is a brand of shortening produced by the J. M. Smucker Co. popular in the United States. Introduced in June 1911 by Procter & Gamble, it was the first shortening to be made entirely of vegetable oil. While the term Crisco is commonly used as a synonym for all shortening, Procter and Gamble markets olive, cooking, and baking oil and a cooking spray under that trademark.
Hydrogenation of organic substances in gas form was discovered by Paul Sabatier in the late 19th century and while in liquid form was patented by Wilheim Normann in 1903. Procter & Gamble's business manager John Burchenal was contacted by and hired chemist Edwin C. Kayser, former chemist for Joseph Crosfield and Sons (who had acquired Normann'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 name "Cryst" due to negative 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 Jif peanut butter) in a spinoff to their stockholders, followed by an immediate merger with the J. M. Smucker Co. in 2002