It is remarkable how often the things we know turn out to be false knowledge, and it is even more instructive when such false knowledge has passed into the realm of public or common knowledge. A blog entry in the Wall Street Journal is a reminder of one such example. Christopher Rhoads writes about the demise of Hydrox and how its devotees are petitioning Kellogg to revive the cookie.
Here is the short history of the Hydrox:
Hydrox was created in 1908 by what would later become Sunshine Biscuits Inc. . . . When Keebler acquired Sunshine in 1996, Sunshine was a distant third behind Keebler and Nabisco. Keebler then replaced the original Hydrox with a reformulated, sweeter cookie aimed more at children, called Droxies. When they failed to make a dent in the Oreo, Kellogg, which had acquired Keebler in 2001, quietly stopped making Hydrox two years later.
Anyone who remembers the Hydrox remembers it as the cheapo imitation of the Oreo. So it comes a surprise to most when they learn that the Oreo was brought out 1912 by the company that would become Nabisco — four years after the introduction of Hydrox.
In the mournful words from a website devoted to the Hydrox:
Hydrox debuted in 1908, the signature product of the nascent Sunshine Biscuits, and ruled the category until 1912, when National Biscuit (later Nabisco) launched the remarkably similar Oreos. Given Nabisco’s superiority over Sunshine in everything from distribution channels to advertising budgets, it was no contest–Hydrox never had a chance. Over the years, Oreos’ popularity and market hegemony became so overwhelming that the product transcended the consumer realm and came to be viewed as a cultural icon, an American original–even though there was nothing original about it.