Benjamin Eisenstadt

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Benjamin Eisenstadt
Born December 7, 1906
New York City
Died April 8, 1996
New York City
Occupation Inventor
Spouse(s) Betty Gellman (1910-2001) (m. 1931)
Children Marvin Eisenstadt
Gladys Eisenstadt
Ira Eisenstadt
Ellen Eisenstadt

Benjamin Eisenstadt (December 7, 1906 – April 8, 1996) was the designer of the modern sugar packet and developer of Sweet'N Low. He was the founder of the Cumberland Packing Corporation [1] and a notable philanthropist.

Personal life[edit]

Benjamin Eisenstadt was born in New York City on December 7, 1906. His family was Jewish. He attended Brooklyn College.

He married Betty Gellman (1910-2001) on October 27, 1931 while living at 1250 44th Street in Brooklyn. Their children were Marvin Eisenstadt, who married Barbara; Gladys Eisenstadt; Ira Eisenstadt, who married Deirdre Howley; and Ellen Eisenstadt, who married Herbert Cohen.[2]

Business and philanthropy[edit]

After college, Eisnstadt operated a cafeteria across from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He switched to making tea bags after his cafeteria business declined.[1]

In the mid 1940s, he invented the idea of single servings of table sugar to utilize his tea bag machinery. He proposed the idea to the major sugar producers, but was unsuccessful in attracting their interest. Since he had not secured a patent before shopping the idea around, sugar producers were then free to use his idea without paying royalties, and they did so.[1]

In 1957 he came up with a formula for a powdered saccharin sweetener. Previously saccharin was sold as liquid drops, or tiny tablets. He mixed the saccharin with dextrose to bulk it up to a teaspoon sized portion, added cream of tartar, and calcium silicate as anti-caking agents. His Cumberland Packing Corporation marketed the product, called Sweet'N Low, in bright pink packets so that the saccharin packets would not be confused with sugar packets at restaurants.[1]

His company was also the first to package soy sauce and other single serving condiments.

After the Cumberland Packing Corporation was on a financially successful footing, Eisenstadt devoted a part of his wealth to medical philanthropy. He became chairman of the board of the foundation for Maimonides Medical Center. During his 20 year tenure as a trustee and benefactor of this institution, he also served as secretary, and vice chairman of the board.[1]

Death[edit]

Benjamin died at age 89 after complications from open heart surgery. When Betty died in 2001 she had removed Ellen and her children from her will.[1]

Legacy[edit]

Maimonides Medical Center has the Eisenstadt Administration Building and the Gellman Pavilion. The Gellman Pavilion was named in memory of Dr. Abraham Gellman, the brother of Betty Gellman (1910-2001).[2]

Patent[edit]

Timeline[edit]

  • 1906 Birth in Brooklyn
  • 1945 Cumberland Cafeteria closes
  • 1947 Cumberland Cafeteria converted to Cumberland Packaging Corporation
  • 1956 Marvin Eisenstadt joins the company
  • 1970 "Sweet'N Low" registered trademark of Cumberland Packaging Corporation
  • 1996 Death in Brooklyn
  • 2001 Death of Betty Gellman, his widow

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Benjamin Eisenstadt, 89, a Sweetener of Lives.". New York Times. 1996-04-10. Retrieved 2007-07-21. Benjamin Eisenstadt, the innovative Brooklyn businessman who set Americans to shaking their sugar before sweetening their coffee and then shook up the entire sweetener industry as the developer of Sweet 'N Low, died on Monday at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He was 89 and a major benefactor of Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn. The cause was complications of bypass surgery, his son Marvin said. 
  2. ^ a b "Betty Eisenstadt". New York Times. September 18, 2001. Retrieved 2007-09-25. Beloved wife of the late Benjamin, dear mother of Marvin and Barbara, Gladys, Ira and Deirdre Howley, Ellen and Herbert Cohen, cherished grandmother and loving great-grandmother. ... Widow of Benjamin Eisenstadt, longtime Trustee and benefactor of Maimonides Medical Center, who served as Secretary, Vice Chairman and Chairman during his 20 year tenure. Among Maimonides' major facilities, a testament to their generosity, are the Eisenstadt Administration Building and the Gellman Pavilion, named in memory of Dr. Abraham Gellman, Mrs. Eisenstadt's brother. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Eisenstadt's children: Marvin, Ira, Gladys, Ellen, and the entire Eisenstadt family. 

Further reading[edit]

  • New York Times; December 29, 1996. "Household Names"
  • "Sweet and Low," by Rich Cohen.