Made in Saratoga: Samuel B. Archer’s Patented Potato-Peeling Machine

One potato head made one giant leap ahead in the carbohydrate consumption industry right here in Saratoga.

In 1911, Saratogian Samuel B. Archer was awarded a patent for his potato-peeling machine, which utilized abrasives such as granulated flint and emery.

While the myth that George Crum created the potato chip on the shores of Saratoga Lake in the 1850s is just that—a myth—there is one tuber-tastic invention that actually did come out of the Spa City (or should we say the Spud City?). In 1905, Saratogian Samuel B. Archer—who three years earlier helped incorporate the Saratoga Specialties Company, which manufactured, among other things, Saratoga Chips—applied for a patent on his new and useful improvements to the potato-peeling machine. While similar machines already existed, Archer’s creation was the first to use substances like granulated flint and emery as abrading surfaces, and in 1911 his patent was approved.

What are the chances that two potato heads (and we mean that in the best way possible) made major advances in the carbohydrate consumption industry right here in small-town Saratoga Springs? Saratoga Living turned to self-proclaimed “Toga Chip Guy” and local historian Alan Richer to ask him if Archer’s potato peeler could’ve been related in any way to the alleged invention of the potato chip at Moon’s Lake House in 1853. “I guess indirectly it was,” Richer says. “Because while the potato chip probably wasn’t invented in Saratoga, it was definitely popularized in Saratoga. The first generic name of it was actually the ‘Saratoga Chip.’”

So there you have it. Archer’s carb-cutting contribution may seem like small potatoes to some, but spud lovers everywhere should be forever grateful for what the City of Saratoga Springs did for everyone’s favorite source of starchy sustenance.

Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is the director of content at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living.


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