Not all of the products developed by the scientists in the research department, however, were successful. Indeed, the world-renowned H. K. Moore assisted in the development of the product that resulted in Brown Company’s biggest financial debacle, the ill-fated Kream Krisp.
In a 1918 article in Atlantic Monthly, Henry Talbot observed that the United States government was calling for Americans to “abandon our national habits of wastefulness.” Talbot regarded this public policy as a “call to arms for chemists.” Researchers were eager to devise methods to “avoid waste and increase productive efficiency.” The production of hydrogenated oils as a substitute for lard and olive oil was one such effort. Moore conceived the idea of using the excess hydrogen, which was used in the bleaching of pulp at the mill, for the production of a lard substitute.
The company jumped at the concept, built a canning factory, and began production and mass marketing of the new product under the name Kream Krisp. Unfortunately, Proctor and Gamble also claimed to have developed a similar method and was marketing its product under the name Crisco. A lengthy lawsuit ensued, and the patent litigation was a significant drain on the research department’s resources and on the company’s finances. Eventually, Brown Company conceded the patent rights to Proctor and Gamble in exchange for financial remuneration, but the product loss severely damaged the company.