Stan’s Obligatory Blog


An invention that changed the world

Filed under: — stan @ 1:43 pm

This was on the obituary page of the Los Angeles Times today:

Rebecca Webb Carranza, 98; Pioneered Creation, Manufacture of Tortilla Chip

“It was 1950, and the El Zarape Tortilla Factory, among the first to automate the production of tortillas, had used a tortilla-making machine for three years.

Corn and flour disks poured off the conveyor belt more than 12 times faster than they could be made by hand. At first many came out “bent” or misshapen, as company President Rebecca Webb Carranza recalled decades later, and were thrown away.

For a family party in the late 1940s, Carranza cut some of the discarded tortillas into triangles and fried them.”

And the world changed.

Sadly, she apparently never realized the full financial success that ought to come as a result of changing the world:

” After Carranza and her husband divorced in 1951, she signed the business over to him.

He soon opened a tortilla chip factory in Long Beach but closed it in 1967, partly because of competition from national companies that had discovered the sales potential of the salty chip.

Rebecca Carranza returned to East Los Angeles and worked into her 80s, first as a meat wrapper at grocery stores and then as a U.S. Census taker.”

Still, it’s a great story.

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