The name Reddi-wip calls your attention to the fact that the whipped cream is ready to use because it’s already whipped.
In 1941, 28-year-old Aaron “Bunny” Lapin, a Washington University drop-out selling shirts and socks in his father’s clothing emporium in St. Louis, Missouri, went to Chicago to visit his brother-in-law, Mark Lipsky, who was in the milk business. In Lipsky’s outer office sat a man trying to sell a product called “Sta-Whip,” a substitute whipping cream made of light cream and vegetable fat, held together with a secret chemical stabilizer.
Whipping cream, which contains a minimum of 30 percent butterfat, was not made during the World War II because war-time restrictions prohibited the manufacture of cream containing more than 19 percent butterfat.
At Lapin’s suggestion, his brother-in-law bought the rights to the Sta-Whip formula and handed over the business to Lapin. Lapin returned to St. Louis and made a deal with Valley Farm Dairy. The dairy would make Sta-Whip, Lapin would sell it, and they’d split the profits.
Lapin convinced local bakeries to try making whipped cream cakes with Sta-Whip, and within two weeks, Lapin was making more money with his substitute whipping cream than he was in the in the clothing store. He then sold his first franchise to Louis Lang, a veteran diary man in St. Louis, who made the product, sold it in bulk to bakers and in containers to housewives, and paid Lapin royalties.
To avert the slump in whipping cream sales during the summer months, Lapin had a “gun” designed which drug store soda fountain jerks could use to squirt Sta-Whip on ice cream sodas.
To prevent a container of Sta-Whip from spoiling before it could all be used, Lapin decided to develop a disposable pressure-propelled can to dispense Sta-Whip. Fortunately, the process had already been developed.
In 1931, Charles Goetz, a senior chemistry major at the University of Illinois, worked part-time in the Diary Bacteriology Department, improving milk sterilization techniques. Convinced that storing milk under high gas pressure might inhibit bacterial growth, Goetz began experimenting—only to discover that milk released from a pressurized vessel foamed. Realizing that cream would become whipped cream, Goetz began seeking a gas that would not saturate the cream with its own bad flavor.
At the suggestion of a local dentist, Goetz succeeded in infusing cream with tasteless, odorless, nonflammable nitrous oxide, giving birth to aerosol whipped cream and aerosol shaving cream.
In 1947, Lapin persuaded the Knapp-Monarch Co., an appliance manufacture in St. Louis, to can his whipped cream—renamed Reddi-Wip—and to develop a special nozzle to trap the gas that whips the cream inside the can, forcing out only whipped cream.
In 1948, Lapin set up Reddi-Wip as a corporation, and by 1951, the company was doing $7 million in business.
In the 1950s, Reddi-Wip, Inc. tried to develop aerosol ketchup, aerosol shampoo, aerosol mayonnaise, aerosol mustard, and aerosol iodine.
Reddi-Wip, Inc. sponsored the Arthur Godfrey radio show.
Company founder Aaron Lapin was nicknamed “Bunny” by his classmates at the University of Washington after they learned that his last name means rabbit in French.
In 1988 at an erotic-art exposition in Moscow, a woman was covered in whipped cream and men in the audience were invited to lick it off, according to Time magazine.