Wednesday, June 4, 2008

PRINGLES INVENTOR BURIED IN ONE OF HIS CANS

GUARDIAN, UK The man who designed the Pringles potato crisp packaging system was so proud of his accomplishment that a portion of his ashes has been buried in one of the tall, circular cans. Fredric J Baur, of Cincinnati, died May 4 at Vitas Hospice in Cincinnati, his family said. He was 89.

Baur's children said they honoued his request to bury him in one of the cans by placing part of his cremated remains in a Pringles container in his grave in suburban Springfield Township. The rest of his remains were placed in an urn buried along with the can, with some placed in another urn and given to a grandson, said Baur's daughter, Linda Baur of Mississippi. . .

Baur filed for a patent for the tubular Pringles container and for the method of packaging the curved, stacked chips in the container in 1966, and it was granted in 1970, P&G archivist Ed Rider said.

MARC ABRAHAMS, GUARDIAN, 2006 Crispness is associated with crunchiness, but your ears make a difference. That's the takeaway-and-chew-on-it message of an Oxford University study called The Role of Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perceived Crispness and Staleness of Potato Chips. The authors, the experimental psychologists Massimiliano Zampini and Charles Spence, wax distinctly poetical:

"We investigated whether the perception of the crispness and staleness of potato chips can be affected by modifying the sounds produced during the biting action. Participants in our study bit into potato chips with their front teeth while rating either their crispness or freshness using a computer-based visual analogue scale."

They recruited volunteers who were willing to chew, in a highly regulated way, on Pringles potato crisps. Pringles themselves are, as enthusiasts well know, highly regulated. Each crisp is of nearly identical shape, size and texture, having been carefully manufactured from reconstituted potato goo.

The volunteers were unaware of the true nature of their encounter - that they would be hearing adulterated crunch sounds. But whatever risks this entailed were small. The experiment, Zampini and Spence take pains to say in their report, "was performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki."

Each volunteer sat in a soundproofed booth, wearing headphones, facing a microphone, and operating a pair of foot pedals.

The headphones delivered Pringles crunch sounds that, though born in the chewer's mouth, had been captured by the microphone and electronically cooked. At times, the crunch sounds were delivered to the headphones with exacting, lifelike fidelity. At other times, the sounds were magnified. At still other times, only the high frequencies of the crunch were intensified.

The results? As the report puts it: "The potato chips were perceived as being both crisper and fresher when either the overall sound level was increased, or when just the high-frequency sounds (in the range of 2-20 kilohertz) were selectively amplified."

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