Sailor Jack

From HistoryWiki

In 1918, Cracker Jack Mascots Sailor Jack (Robert Rueckheim) and his dog, Bingo, were introduced (though they were not registered as trademark logos until 1919}.

One of the iconic images in American food is Sailor Jack, a little boy in a sailor suit with his dog Bingo at his side that has appeared on Cracker Jack™ boxes since 1918.

Frederick William Rueckheim, a German immigrant, invented molasses covered popcorn, which after the Great Chicago Fire, he sold from a successful popcorn stand in downtown Chicago.

With his brother, Louis, Frederick sold an early version of Cracker Jack, originally a mixture of popcorn, molasses, and peanuts, at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 (The name was given by an enthusiastic customer who remarked 'That’s crackerjack,' an expression meaning 'first rate.') Prizes were included in every box starting in 1912.

Sailor Jack was modeled after Robert Rueckheim (1913-1921), Frederick’s grandson, the son of Edwin Lewis Rueckheim and Christian Muno’s daughter, Dorothy Catherine. This made her new name, Dorothy Catherine Rueckheim.

Sadly, Robert died of pneumonia at the age of eight shortly after his image appeared on the box and he was interred in his maternal grandparent’s plot in St. Henry's Cemetery. Six months later, his father Edwin died, and Clara remarried the same year.

His image acquired such meaning for the founders of Cracker Jack that it was included on his tombstone in St. Henry’s cemetery. (The model for Bingo, a dog named Russell, died of old age in 1930).