How many of you Boomers remember Charles Chips potato chips? They were delivered to your door by the “Charlie Chip man.”
Kids everywhere looked forward to the delivery day when a new tin of chips would arrive. Something about opening a full tin of fresh, crunchy chips was thrilling.
Sitting in front of the TV watching the Mouseketeers after school, or Friday night’s monster movie (Mothra!) and sharing a bowl of Charles Chips with your buddies wasn’t unique just to my house.
The chips made frequent meal appearances. At birthday parties with the hot dogs from the grill, or at picnics on the beach, they were de rigeur. They were packed in waxed paper bags into our Gunsmoke or Snow White lunch boxes and earned us a whole Hershey’s candy bar – if we were willing to trade them.
Chips, cookies and pretzels sold in cans
The delivery man was a fixture in my neighborhood in Wilton Manors, just outside of Fort Lauderdale, for many years in the ’60s and ’70s. The company website indicates that the delivery program stopped – likely due to the high gas prices – in the early 1970s, and the company sold the chips only retail after that.
The yellow speckled tins held the crunchy potato chips, made in the Pennsylvania factory and shipped to numerous Southern and Midwestern states. The Northeast had several companies to choose from but many chose Charles Chips.
Empty tins would be set out for the delivery man, with money taped to the top or put inside the can with the order if the homeowner had to step out on delivery day. Once in a while, a spare tin might find its way into a workshop for spare parts or screws, or into a sewing room to hold mending material.
Pretzels and cookies, not as popular, but still with plenty of fans, were sold in half-size tins. The chips would last for at least two weeks – even longer in smaller households.
Though the original Musser family sold the business in the ’80s, you can still order Charles Chips potato chips online from the company now packing them – allegedly still following the Musser recipe.