Posted on 27 Oct 2014 23:02
Eggo waffles weren't originally called Eggos. When they first came out, in the 1950's, they had another name, playing on the words waffle and frozen. It wasn't until much later that the now familiar slogan, "Leggo my Eggo," came about, and by then the company was under new ownership.
When Were Eggos Invented?
It is difficult to say exactly when Eggo Waffles were invented. They owe their birth to the Dorsa brothers, Tony, Bill, and Frank, from San Jose, California, who in the 1930's created an instant dry waffle mix that only required the addition of milk to make waffles.
The mix was successful, so one of the brothers, Frank, began working on a way to make waffles on a large scale, and soon invented a machine that could make waffles by the thousands. They froze the waffles for sell to the public. They began selling the waffles in 1953, so this is about as close as we can get to an "invention" date.
How Did They Get the Name Eggos?
Calling the waffles "froffles" for frozen and waffles, the trio sold them to grocery markets all over the U.S. Consumers, however (so one story goes) started calling the waffles "eggos" because they had an eggy taste, so the brothers changed the name to Eggo Frozen Waffles, in 1955.
Another version of the same story has the brothers themselves coming up with the name, after customers noticed the egginess. This seems more likely, and it may well be that the brothers themselves noticed the eggy flavor, of were simply playing off the fact that the recipe contained a lot of eggs.
Yet a third story has it that the brothers started out making mayonnaise, which they called Eggo Mayonnaise. They named their company Eggo Foods. Hence, the company already had this name when they began making waffles. Although there certainly was a product called Eggo Mayonnaise, I have found little verification that this product actually came before the waffles. An obituary of Frank Dorsa claims that the brothers started with mayonnaise, but this does not mean that the name of the mayonnaise wasn't changed due to the popularity and brand recognition owed to Eggo Waffles. Kelloggs acquired Eggo in the 1970's through their acquisition of Fearn International. Although the few Eggo Mayonnaise advertisements I have found on the web list both Eggo Foods and Fearn International, I have found very little detailed references concerning the mayonnaise product. This is still subject to confirmation. The company also sold Eggo Potato chips.
Whatever the case, the product was a big hit and customers love the convenience of the easily heated waffles, which even a child could heat up in a toaster or toaster oven.
Eggo Waffles have been a fixture ever since, but the company was purchased by Fearn Foods, Inc. in 1966 (later renamed to Fearn International Inc.), and then Fearn was purchased by the Kellogg Company in 1970. It was Kellogg which introduced the catchy and now iconic slogan "Leggo my Eggo," in 1972. The company also expanded the line of Eggo Waffles, introducing new flavors such as cinnamon, blueberry, banana, and chocolate chip, and new frozen breakfast items.
Eggo is still the leader in frozen waffles.
The Dorsa brothers' original mix wasn't the first dry waffle mix, of course. Pearl Milling Co., had come out with Aunt Jemima pancake and waffle mix in 1889.