Four famous brands that you didn't know started in Chicago

Photo: Lands' End

Chicago is home to great innovation in the culinary world, architecture and beyond. However, Chicago is also the place where many major brands had their humble beginning. From the legendary Marshall Field's store to more recently created brands and products, Chicago is a landmark for great business evolution. Here are five brands that you probably did not know started right here in Chicago. 

Morton Salt

The little girl in a yellow dress with the umbrella is an iconic figure in American culture. She is the Morton Salt Girl and her timeless image is linked to the brand that started in Chicago in 1848. Alonzo Richmond launched the salt company during the Gold Rush, which increased the demand for salt by miners. Interest in the company was later acquired by Joy Morton. The company's unique slogan, "When it rains, it pours," was derived from its adding magnesium carbonate to prevents the salt from clumping in humid or rainy weather. This set Morton Salt apart in the market.

Morton Salt is truly recognizable by Chicagoans. The company even has a connection with one of Chicago's attractions — the Morton Arbortoreum. In 1922, the Morton Arbortoreum was dedicated by Joy Morton, in honor of his father. 

Today, the company is still based in the Chicagoland area. Actually, their former industrial site, located at 1329 N. Elston, is expecting to get a major makeover soon. 

Lands' End

Believe it or not, Lands' End was started in the in Midwest, in 1963 by Gary Comer, an award-winning copywriter‚ champion sailor and world traveler. The company began as a mail-order yachting company in Chicago. Fashion was not a part of the company's model at the beginning. The first office was in a basement on Elston Avenue. Now the company is an international clothing brand.

After the launch of an orange rain gear suit, Lands' End ventured into the clothing industry. Their first clothing catalog was released in 1977.

Although the company is no longer headquartered in Chicago, the legacy continues. Outside of being a business owner, Comer was a philanthropist. The Comer Science and Education Foundation was started in his honor with the goal of improving urban education. In May of 2006, the Gary Comer Youth Center was opened in the Grand Crossing community on Chicago's southside. Later, Gary Comer College Prep High School was opened in his honor, as well. 

Jay's Potato Chips

If you have ever gotten a chance to taste Ok-ke-doke popcorn or the crispy crunch of Jay's potato chips, then you have tasted a bit of Chicago. Jay's Food, Inc. was started in Chicago in 1927. Their factory was located in the Pulman neighborhood on 99th Street. Leonard Japp started the company after working a multitude of odd jobs. 

The company was originally named Mrs. Japp's, after Leonard's wife. Despite being the couple's last name, the name was controversial after the attack on Pearl Harbor. They were in the market for another name that started with the letter "J," and Jay's happened to be available.

The company continued production in Chicago for over 50 years before having to file for bankruptcy. The brand is still preserved by the Snyder Lance company, which purchased the brand.  

Affy Tapple

Since 1948, Chicagoans have been enjoying "the original caramel apple" from the Affy Tapple company. The first store was opened in 1952 at 7117 Clark Street. The company was named Affy Tapple in order to be the first listed in the phonebook. The caramel apples are a popular school fundraiser, which still continues today.

In 2000, the company moved outside of the city to a state-of-the-art facility in Niles. They have expanded from the tasty caramel apples to gourmet apples and other confectionary treats. 

Photos: Morton Salt, Affy Tapple, Lands' End, and Snyder-Lance