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Edwin Perkins (inventor)


Edwin Perkins (inventor)

Edwin Perkins
Born January 8th 1889
Lewis, Iowa
Died July 3rd 1961(age 72)
Religion Christian
Spouse(s) Kitty Shoemaker

Edwin Elijah Perkins (January 8, 1889 – July 3, 1961), born in Lewis, Iowa, U.S., invented the powdered drink mix Kool-Aid in 1927 in Hastings, Nebraska after his family had moved there from Iowa in 1893.

As a young man he worked with products like Jell-O, which was sold in his father's general store in Hendley. When Perkins came to Hastings at age thirty-one in 1920, his principal interests were patent medicines and household products. With that background, he began producing a line of over 125 "Onor-Maid" items which were sold door-to-door and by mail. One of the most popular was "Fruit-Smack," a fruit-flavored liquid concentrate. By 1927, he had developed a powdered soft drink mix called Kool-Aid, which he packaged in envelopes and sold in grocery stores. Demand for this product was so great that it soon had international sales. Before long, the Perkins Products Company was focusing entirely on Kool-Ade, and in 1931 Mr. Perkins relocated to Chicago. By 1934, the name was changed to Kool-Aid. The company was sold to General Foods in 1953.

Kool-Aid went on to become a household name and made Edwin Perkins a wealthy man. But the Perkins family remembered its Nebraska roots, donating generously to philanthropies in Adams County and elsewhere in the state. Among local gifts were Perkins Recital Hall and Perkins Library at Hastings College and Perkins Pavilion at Good Samaritan Village.


  • The Kool-Aid Story, Adams County Historical Society. (alternate)
  • Edwin Perkins, Kool-Aid Inventor -a learning resource

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