George Speck, later known as George Crum was born on July 15th, 1824 to parents Abraham Speck, who was African American and Diana Tull a native American of the Huron Tribe in Saratoga Country, New York. As a young man, he spent time as a guide in the Adirondack Mountains as well as an animal trapper who specialized in capturing wild ducks and dear.
In 1853, 29-year-old George Crum was hired by Moon’s Lake House as a cook. This was an upscale resort that catered to wealthy people from New York City. there are conflicting stories about how the potato chip was invented and popularized. One story claim that not George Crum but his sister Kate Speck invented the potato chips one day by slicing a potato very thin and dropping it in hot grease on accident.
The other version of the story claims that while George Crum worked at Moon’s Lake House a customer complained about the French fries being too thick and out of spite he sliced the potato’s extra thin and served them with a lot of salt on them. Either way, George Crum was responsible for popularizing the chips by continually serving them at Moon’s Lake House. Eventually, they would be called “Saratoga Chips and people would travel from Boston and New York to taste the new delicacy.
In 1860, Crum would ultimately open his own restaurant called “Crums Place” in Malta, New York. He would put a basket of his chips on every table. Now, because George Crum did not own the patent to the chips, other business-minded individuals like Herman Lay would step in and eventually mass-produce the chips making them available to the entire world. However, “Crum’s Place” would remain open for 30 years and in 1890 when he retired from the restaurant business.