How the Rise of Colorful, Illustrated Ads Helped Turn Jell-O Into a Household Name

A museum dedicated to the gelatin dessert showcases its history

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Jell-O is one of the United States’ most recognized brands, its gelatin snacks and puddings ubiquitous at grocery stores and on hospital meal carts nationwide. But though gelatin has been a dessert staple for decades, it wasn’t mass-produced until the end of the 19th century, when a carpenter named Pearle Bixby Wait patented a powdered, flavored gelatin dessert dubbed “Jell-O.”

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