November 22, 2007

FROM THE THANKSGIVING ARCHIVES: AND THANKS FOR MR. PETERS:

Talking turkey about Butterball's origins (SCOTT FORNEK, November 21, 2004, Chicago Sun-Times)

More than half a century ago, Evanston inventor Leo Peters bought the rights to the name Butterball for $10.

Nearly 20 years later, he sold the trademark to Swift & Co. for $1 million.

Peters enjoyed telling his family and newspaper reporters of the role he played in developing the Butterball turkey -- everything from helping to breed broader-breasted poultry with more white meat to trying to sell skeptical 1950s butchers on the idea of switching from fresh to frozen birds.

"He was really the originator of the Butterball turkey," Peters' widow, Nancy, said.

Right up until he died in 1995 at age 86, Peters still dreamed of reclaiming the rights to what had become a household name.

" 'I'd really like to buy that back,' he'd say -- practically on his deathbed," Nancy Peters, 72, said.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Butterball turkey, a Chicago creation that has become nearly as synonymous with Thanksgiving dinner as cranberries, stuffing and sweet potatoes.





(originally posted: November 25, 2004)

Posted by at November 22, 2007 12:05 AM
  
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