Planters Peanut Company was founded in Wilkes-Barre, PA by Italian immigrant Amedeo Obici
MR. PEANUT IS BORN
Schoolboy Antonio Gentile won the mascot contest with his Mr. Peanut sketch
Mr. Peanut came to represent the entire peanut industry
NEW YORK WORLD’S FAIR
Mr. Peanut was a star attraction at the World’s Fair in Queens, NY
Planters asked consumers online if the look of Mr. Peanut should be updated and the public voted against any changes
A cast-iron figure of Mr. Peanut was added to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History by Kraft Foods
Mr. Peanut celebrated his centennial
A One-Hundred-Year-Old Peanut
Planters Peanut Company, founded in 1906 in Wilkes-Barre, PA by Amedeo Obici, had to wait ten years for their mascot. In 1916, 14-year-old schoolboy, Antonio Gentile, submitted the winning drawing of Mr. Peanut to the Planters Peanut Company; he was paid five dollars. This new “gentleman” advertising logo/mascot was updated with the monocle, top hat, and cane by artist Andrew S. Wallach. There is some dispute as to the detail-adding artist, as some believe that Frank P. Krize made the additions.
Mr. Peanut Hits the Big Time
By the time the mid-1930s had arrived, Mr. Peanut had come to represent the entire peanut industry; he is one of the best-known advertising icons. Fans feel so strongly about the way he is dressed, that in 2006 when Planters held an online contest to add a bow tie, cufflinks, or a pocket watch, no one wanted the change.
And You Thought He was Just a Mascot
When Antonio submitted his drawing, he named the character Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe. At his largest, Mr. Peanut weight 300 pounds and was made of cast iron – he adorned a fence in Wilkes-Barre outside the Planters factory. During the depression, when snack foods were a luxury, Planters sold bags of the mascot-adorned peanuts for a nickel, calling it the “nickel lunch”. During World War II, Mr. Peanut joined up and showed his support on stamps and propaganda posters. In 2013, the cast iron Mr. Peanut obtained placement in the Smithsonian along with Gentile’s original sketches.
Did You Know?
- In 2013, Mr. Peanut was given a voice by actor, Bill Hader, who has a peanut allergy.
- There was a book written in 2010, Mr. Peanut, where a husband daydreams about killing his peanut-allergic wife.
- An artist, Vincent Trasov, decked as Mr. Peanut ran for a Vancouver Canada civic election.
- In the online game, Kingdom of Loathing, Mr. Peanut appears as a monster.
Have a centennial suggestion? Let us know!