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A Little Bit About Pringles

What made Pringles so special?

Pringles is known for the packaging (invented by Fred Baur), which consists of an upright tubular can with a foil interior, and a resealable plastic lid. The chips are made to a uniform size and saddle shape, so they stack very efficiently within the container, unlike other chips, which are packaged loosely in a bag (typically) or a box. This unique packaging led to stand-up comedian Mitch Hedberg's theory that Pringles' original intention was to make tennis balls, but on the day that the rubber was supposed to arrive a bunch of potatoes showed up instead.

When could you first enjoy a Pringle?

Pringles were introduced in 1967 under the name "Pringle's Newfangled Potato Chips", which was changed to its current name the next year. According to the patent, it was invented by Alexander Liepa of Montgomery, Ohio, United States, (a suburb of Cincinnati) and comprises "A potato chip product and process wherein a dough is prepared from dehydrated cooked potatoes and water and subsequently fried."

Why don't Pringles break when they're in that can?

The Pringles saddle shape chip surface was modeled after, and can be described mathematically by, a hyperbolic paraboloid, which is a form of quadric. This shape is distinctive in that it is curved at all points along its surface; there are no flat planes or lines. This design characteristic is beneficial as it helps keep the chips from breaking during distribution by eliminating lines of stress along which a small crack may easily propagate. Further it keeps the stack of chips tightly interlocked or nested during distribution. Pringles is the only brand of stacked potato chips that exhibit this characteristic double saddle shape; all others are of a single curve surface design such as a parabolic cylinder or circular cylinder. One of the designers of the machine used to mold Pringles was the science fiction author Gene Wolfe.

What unusual uses do people put a Pringles can to?

Because of the metallic interior and long, tubular shape, Pringles cans have been used to make Wi-Fi network antennas, known as cantennas. Some fans of the chip brand collect the empty holders, which are colorful, uniform, and useful for storing small items such as paintbrushes. It is possible to throw the plastic lid on a Pringles can in a similar fashion to a flying disc. When released with the correct technique, they are surprisingly stable in flight, and can travel upwards of 50 feet.

What is the best way to throw a Pringles lid?

The established throwing technique is to hold the lid between the thumb and middle finger, starting with your arm in a backhand throwing position, held at just above waist height. A flick of the wrist is critical when releasing the lid, to achieve sufficient spin. As Pringles lids require much more spin than frisbees to maintain stability, successful forehand throws are extremely difficult to achieve. At sufficiently small angles of incidence Pringles lids will rebound from walls, and due to their lighter construction and shorter range, they are a safe, fun alternative to throwing a disc around indoors.

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