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November 30, 2020

Potato Chip Distributor Wearing 2-Pound Container Tin Barrel at National Potato Chip Institute Convention, 1949

Potato Chip distributor wearing two pound container and arriving for National Potato Chip Institute convention at the Edgewater Beach Hotel.

(Photo by George Skadding/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

For the 1949 National Potato Chip Convention in Chicago, Jays Foods Inc. advertised its product by having a local branch manager parade around wearing the company’s iconic 2-pound tin barrel and little else. The arresting gimmick was one of many the 453 attendees enjoyed, including the show's potato chip queen clad in a brassiere constructed of the crunchy snack.

Invented around the 1850s, potato chips had grown by the time of the convention to a $300 million a year business. Today the worldwide market is around $28 billion, with flavors including cappuccino, caviar, and even Cajun squirrel.


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