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Who Invented Animal Crackers?

The inventor of the animal cracker is not precisely known as they have been around in various forms for many generations, but it is believed that they first became known as a product in 1902.

In the late 1800s, ‘Animals’ (animal shaped fancy cookies) were imported from England. Many of the small, local bakeries in America made different versions called 'Animals' or 'Circus Crackers'. Bakeries began to unite into larger companies with regional and eventual national distribution at the end of the 19th century. One of these was the National Biscuit Company. Packaging became an important factor in marketing on a national scale. Their ‘Animal Biscuits’ were officially renamed 'Barnum's Animals' in 1902. During the Christmas season, the package was redesigned as a circus wagon with a string attached to it, so it could be hung as a Christmas tree ornament. They sold for 5 cents, and they were an immediate hit.

The current 17 varieties of crackers are tigers, cougars, camels, rhinoceros, kangaroos, hippopotami, bison, lions, hyenas, zebras, elephants, sheep, bears, gorillas, monkeys, seals, and giraffes. There are 22 crackers per box. More than 40 million packages of these are sold each year.

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