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Tabasco Sauce Timeline

1868

The McIlhenny Company is founded by Edmund McIlhenny in Avery Island, Louisiana and begins producing pepper sauce using chili peppers from the Tabasco region of Mexico. McIlhenny orders "cologne bottles" from a New Orleans company to use as packaging for the product.

1870

Edmund McIlhenny receives a patent for his unique pepper sauce formula.

1870s

E.C. Hazard and Company, a grocery wholesaler, introduces the company's pepper sauce to customers in the northeastern United States.

Late 1870s

McIlhenny begins selling his sauce throughout the United States and England.

1888

The pepper used in Tabasco sauce is officially recognized by an American botanist and becomes classified as Capsicum frutescens var. tabasco.

1893

Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Club produces Burlesque Opera of Tabasco. John Avery McIlhenny buys the rights to the production and stages it in New York City.

1898

Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener and his troops take Tabasco Sauce with them on their invasion of Khartoum, Sudan.

1905

President John Avery McIlhenny signs an affidavit stating that McIlhenny Company is the exclusive lawful user of the Tabasco trademark and is entitled to registration of the mark under the 1905 Trademark Act.

1909

Composer Charles L. Johnson publishes a song called "Tobasco Rag Time Waltz."

1912

The Louisiana Supreme Court rules against the McIlhenny Company and sets damages at $5,000 for denigrating a competitor’s right to use the word "Tabasco" in its name.

1912

Pharmacologist Wilbur Scoville devises a test to rate the hotness of peppers. Bell peppers rate zero, Tabasco sauce rates between 9,000 to 12,000, and habanero peppers rate between 200,000 and 300,000 units.

1917

Charlie Chaplin uses a bottle of Tabasco sauce as a prop in The Immigrant.

1918

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recognizes the company's common law trademark on the word "Tabasco" when applied to a sauce made from chili peppers.

1919

Encouraged by the 1918 ruling, the company sues Ed Bulliard of St. Martinville, Louisiana who has been marketing a sauce made from Tabasco peppers under the name "Evangeline Tabasco Sauce."

1920

The federal court in western Louisiana denies damages, finding that Bulliard acted in the good faith belief that he had the right to use the word "Tabasco". However, the judge bars Bulliard from using the word "Tabasco" in the future.

1920s

Fernand Petiot, an American bartender at Harry's New York Bar in Paris gives birth to the Bloody Mary cocktail when he mixes equal parts tomato juice and vodka.

1932

The British government bans the sale of Tabasco sauce during the "Buy British" campaign. Members of Parliament protest leading to "The Tabasco Tempest." Because of the outcry, Tabasco sauce is once again permitted to be sold.

1934

Petiot moves to the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis in New York. His drink becomes popular with New Yorkers but something is missing. His patrons encourage him to make the drink spicy, so he adds cayenne pepper, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, and a big dash of Tabasco sauce. The recipe is a hit.

1976

The McIlhenny Company introduces a Tabasco Bloody Mary Mix.

1988

George H.W. Bush hands out personalized bottles of Tabasco sauce to members of his family at Arnaud's Restaurant in New Orleans after receiving the Republican nomination for President.

1992

President George Bush tells Time magazine: "I love hot sauce. I splash Tabasco all over."

July 4, 1993

Ned McIlhenny Simmons tells the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the company will not follow the ultra-hot sauce trend because "flavor is our contribution rather than heat."

June 2, 1994

The company introduces an ultra-hot habanero sauce. Vice President Paul McIlhenny tells the Los Angeles Times that the sauce is separate from Tabasco sauce and that the company does "not plan a hotter version of Tabasco. We consider that sacrosanct."

Late 1994

The McIlhenny Company introduces its green jalapeno sauce, registering a mild 600-1,200 Scoville heat units.

1995

The company introduces its garlic-flavored sauce, registering at 1,200-1,800 heat units.

2001

An archaeological team from the University of Alabama excavates portions of the original Tabasco factory site on Avery Island, Louisiana. They unearth the earliest known bottles of Tabasco sauce.

Summer 2002

Archaeologists unearth a 130-year-old bottle of Tabasco sauce at the site of an Old West saloon in the mining town of Virginia City, Nevada.

2002

The company introduces a sauce made from smoked and dried chipotle peppers registering 1,500-2,500 heat units.





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