I saw a post on facebook the other day claiming oleomargine was originally manufactured to feed turkeys; and when it was discovered it actually killed the turkeys, it was then manufactured for human consumption.
I couldn't find where it killed turkeys but I did discover that to my surprise, Oleo isn't a new 20th century product, originating clear back to Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte III who offered a reward to anyone who could invent a tasty substitute for butter. Apparently even in the 19th Century people though real butter was expensive. Click HERE for the history of oleomargarine on Wilkipedia.
What I do know is my mother was involved in the Oleo Wars in the 1950's. Yes, my own quiet sweet Mother was a Butter Rebel. Although we lived in Iowa, we crossed the Mississippi River over to Prarie Du Chein, Wisconsin to shop at the Piggly Wiggly. (remember, in previous genealogy posts my mother's family were French-Canadians who came down the Mississippi River) I think mother thought the Piggly Wiggly was much cheaper except for...............
Butter! You HAD to buy Butter in Wisconsin, as oleo margarine was outlawed. Apparently the dairy industry in the 1950's had a HUGE clout in the policies of Wisconsin and clamoring housewives be damned.
So Mom would pile us into the car and head the car for the short drive to Prairie Du Chein. When we got to Marquette where the bridge over began, as you went up the incline right before the actual bridge started, there was a Mom & Pop grocery store.
"LAST CHANCE FOR OLEO" and in much smaller letters under that "Green Stamps". Mom was always careful to stop at this store AFTER the trip to the new, modern, huge (and very small by today's standards) Piggly Wiggly in the Butter State. Years later I came across a partially filled book of green stamps from this store but I don't know what happened to it. I also don't remember what my Mom redeemed her green stamps for. Probably a gravy boat or something!
So Mom never bought butter in Wisconsin and we always stopped for Oleo in Marquette and whatever else she thought was cheaper on the Iowa side of the river. I do remember the oleo was white and it came with a coloring packet you stirred into to make it look like butter.
I dunno; maybe it did kill those turkeys.