The potato crisp was unintentionally invented by the American chef George Crum in 1853. A diner in his restaurant in Saratoga, New York kept returning his plate of chips to the kitchen complaining that they were too thick and Crum eventually lost his temper which apparently was a common occurrence. His method of punishing the demanding customer was to prepare a plate of chips cut so thin they couldn’t be eaten with cutlery and so over-seasoned they would ruin the meal. unexpectedly, the diner loved his new chips and Crum realised how popular crisps could be. They were put on restaurant menus and became known as Saratoga Chips.
William Tappendon was the first to begin selling crisps in grocery stores in Cleveland Ohio in the 1920s and the sealed ‘packet’ of crisps was invented by Laura Scudder in 1926. Smith’s Potato Crisps Company Ltd was formed in 1920 and was the first to distribute crisps en masse in Britain, starting selling them by pony and trap around London. Little bags of salt began to be included in the packets of crisps and flavoured crisps were introduced in the 1960s, starting with Golden Wonder’s cheese and onion flavour. Smith’s is now mainly controlled by Walker’s Crisps under PepsiCo.