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Enlarge Yellow potato chip can featuring the Red Dot logo and a cartoon of Ta-To the Clown.

Red Dot Potato Chip Can, ca. 1950

Donated by University of Wisconsin-Madison Geology Museum.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 2002.384.1


In 1948 Red Dot Foods decided to sell only snack foods they themselves manufactured. At first the company lost money, but the spread of supermarkets and a growing demand for snacks turned the company into a multimillion-dollar business.

As television viewing became more popular so did a "sustenance-by-snacks" mode of eating. Red Dot broadened its snack food repertoire to meet the growing demand by adding nuts, pretzels, and popcorn to its line.

Ta-To became the symbol of Red Dot Foods in the early 1940s. The company gave the promotional doll featured here to one of its employees.

Red Dot Foods began a newsletter named "Chip Chat" for friends and family in August 1945. The March-April 1961 issue featured Ta-To the Clown as portrayed by Cousin Otto, a famous clown from Whitewater, Wisconsin. Popular radio personality Two-Ton Baker provided Ta-To's voice for radio advertisements.

Enlarge Red popcorn can featuring the Red Dot logo and cartoon of Ta-To the clown.

Red Dot Popcorn Can, ca. 1955

Donated by Jill Kohler Garbacz.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1991.113.1

Enlarge Large fabric doll with red hair, red and white polka dot clown suit and black booties.

Ta-To the Clown Doll, 1940-1949

Donated by Diane E. Buck in memory of Irene S. Bell.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 2003.6.1

Enlarge Cover of newsletter featuring the clown Cousin Otto.

Chip Chat Newsletter, 1961