This article is from the Kool-Aid FAQ, by Paul and Bess Dawson-Schmidt firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
The following was posted by Ron Gregory, who obtained it from Kraft
General Foods. Additions were made by Lynn Wiegard, Jane Murray and
"When he was just 11, Edwin Perkins had the idea of becoming a
businessman. He sent for a pamphlet called 'How To Become a
Manufacturer.' It must have inspired him, for some 20 years later he
was running a 125-product line business out of Hastings, Nebraska. The
line ran the gamut from perfumes and toothpaste to flavorings and
household products. But the most popular item was a small bottle of
flavored syrup called Fruit Smack."
"This soft drink syrup was expensive to market because transportation
and glass breakage added heavily to the costs of manufacturing and
advertising. So in 1927 Perkins decided to remove the water and
bottle and offer the concentrated beverage powder in convenient
"He also changed the name to Kool-Ade. The name was soon altered again, to
the now familiar Kool-Aid. This attempt at changing the name ran into
difficulty, as in 1914 a Lewis, Iowa based Drug Store owner and Chemist
named Jake Ross invented and patented a little known lemon flavored
drink, which he called "Kool-Aid". Perkins bought the patent off of
Ross, and the current incarnation of Kool-Aid was founded."
"A few years later the company moved to Chicago and discontinued all other
products to turn its attention entirely to Kool-Aid instant soft drink
mix. By 1939, the Perkins Chicago factory was doubled and additional
employees were hired."
"In 1953 the Perkins Products Company became part of General Foods
Corporation. About that time, print ads for Kool-Aid mixes showed the
soft drink in a large pitcher with a design drawn on the surface
condensation -- a heart, a 5-cent symbol or a smiling face. The
smile became the favorite, and from 1954 it was used on pitchers in
all advertising. It was also in 1954 that Kool-Aid began being produced
and distributed in Canada. When presweetened Kool-Aid came out in
1964, the package carried an illustration of the now well-known rounded
pitcher with the smiling face. At that time both the shape and the
smile were registered."
"As the demand for Kool-Aid increased, additions have been made to
the original line of six flavors. There are flavored mixes to be
dissolved with sugar in water and ice. There are also sugar-
sweetened mixes, available in packages and canisters. Kool-Aid sugar
free mixes, sweetened with NutraSweet, come in both packages and
canisters. And now we have Kool-Aid Koolers, ready-to-drink juice
drinks, in convenient 8.5 ounce containers."
The six original flavors were Grape, Lemon Lime, Cherry, Orange,
Raspberry, and Strawberry.
A slightly different version of this story is available at:
It was provided by Doug Adcock (email@example.com) and comes from a 1950's
Kool-Aid tour pamphlet.
Here is what The Kraft Homepage has to say about Edwin Perkins:
KOOL-AID was invented in Hastings, Nebraska by an enterprising young
chemist named Edwin Perkins. As a child, Perkins developed many
flavoring extracts and perfumes. Later, this led to his own
mail-order company, which eventually resulted in modern-day
Here is what The Kraft Homepage has to say about the pre Kool-Aid era:
The forerunner to KOOL-AID was Fruit Smack, which was sold via mail
order in the 1920s in six flavors: Grape, Cherry, Raspberry, Orange,
Root Beer, and Lemon.
The original spelling of KOOL-AID was Kool-Ade, but the name was soon
changed to its popular modern-day spelling.