ORVILLE REDENBACHER Biography - Bussiness people and enterpreneurs


Biography » bussiness people and enterpreneurs » orville redenbacher


Orville Redenbacher, born and raised on a farm located in Center Point, IN (near   
Brazil) in Clay County is truly synonymous with Gourmet Popcorn on a world-wide     
scope. Like other famous names associated with foods, Orville Redenbacher's         
development of an hybrid popcorn that makes epicureans approve with delight, has   
become cliche for many Americans. Of course, no Americans are more proud than       
those citizens located in Brazil, Clay County, Indiana.                             
Born as Orville Clarence Redenbacher on 16 July 1907 near Brazil, IN, this man     
became famous and successful due to his superior popcorn and use of skillful       
marketing techniques, tagged the word gourmet to a common snack food. His father's 
farm was located in Center Point, IN located about 5 miles south of Brazil on       
State Road 42. The farm was approximately 160 acres. He graduated from Brazil       
High School in 1924 and rated in the top 5% of his class. He turned down his       
chance of graduation from West Point to study agronomy (soil management and         
plant production) in order to fulfill his dream of being a farm agent for Clay     
County. He decided to attend Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN where he       
began his research into hybrid seeds. Prior to leaving Clay County, Orville         
developed his first popcorn hybrid here.                                           
He graduated from Purdue University in 1928 where he accepted his first job as a   
high school teacher in Fontanet, IN (located northeast of Terre Haute) and         
operated a 12,000-acre farm owned by Tony Hulman, Jr. (owner of Indianapolis 500   
Racetrack). The Hulman farm was located in Princeton, IN. He also was a county     
agent in Terre Haute, IN. In 1952, he and a friend bought a small seed corn company 
near Valparaiso, IN, and worked on selling agricultural supplies which made both   
of them wealthy.                                                                   
Redenbacher continued developing popcorn hybrids that would pop up fluffier with   
less kernels in the pan. With an exceptional product and keen advertising,         
Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popcorn became a household snack food and became     
the leader on store shelves for popcorn. At this time, Orville's co-owner in the   
business Charles Bowman and he decided to sell their business to Hunt-Wesson       
Foods. However, Orville Redenbacher with his famous bowtie, red kerchief, and       
white shirt is synonymous with his famous Gourmet Popping Corn and was seen many   
times as the advertising model for his popcorn.                                     
His childhood home that was located on St. Rd. 42 east of St. Rd. 59 is still       
there. However, the house is no longer there but the outbuildings and water pump   
where he and his family sipped with a dipper is still there. The owners of the     
farm today stated that they remembered when Orville would pull up in a white       
limo, introduce himself, and ask to have a drink from the old well before he       
strolled around his parent's old farm.                                             
Clay County is very proud of their native son and hope that this little history     
will open your eyes to one of the great people that Clay County has as citizens.