1931 Founder Frederick J. Meyer was selling snack foods to grocery stores
1932 Meyer started The Fred J. Meyer Company. When potato chips began selling faster than any
other product, he realized that they were the snack food of the future.
1938 Meyer found investors to purchase the latest in potato chip
technology, a continuous potato chip making machine. Also made and
sold pretzels, popcorn, cookies, pork skins, and nuts, but potato
chips remained the heart of the company's identity. The newly-reformed
company, now called Red Dot Foods, Inc., set up shop on Division
Street (near Schoep's Ice Cream Company) and the first chips rolled
off the line into glassine bags in March.
1939 The factory moves to a larger facility at 1435 E. Washington Ave.
The building is expanded in the 1940s, still stands today.
1948 Meyer made the decision to discontinue food distribution for other suppliers and focus on
the manufacture and selling of Red Dot products. The company continued to grow, adding 7 more
factories in the Midwest, purchasing potato farms in northern Wisconsin and Alabama, and opening
83 branch warehouses.
1961 Meyer merges Red Dot Foods, Inc. with H.W. Lay & Company. Meyer was to continue as president
of Red Dot and become vice-president of Lay Company.
1961 Meyer kills himself with a shotgun at his Maple Bluff
home, while his wife made cookies downstairs. He did not leave a note,
but friends and family believed he was despondent over losing control
of the business he had spent the past thirty years of his life
1961 Lay Company merged with the Frito Company, and
Frito-Lay, Inc. continued to make Red Dot potato chips.
1970 Frito-Lay sold the Red Dot brand to H.H. Evon Company
1973 H.H. Evon discontinues Red Dot and closed down the Madison factory.
Chip Chat Newsletters
Red Dot began this newsletter for friends and family in August 1945.
Ta-to the Clown appeared on Red Dot packaging beginning in the early 1940s.
Red Dot worked closely with the University of Wisconsins agricultural department to create the
perfect potato for chips. The University continued to do research in this area after Red Dot
folded and in 1990 introduced the Snowden potato, now considered the ultimate chipping potato.