Hancock Peanut Company

A History of Innovation: How Hancock Peanut Company Became a Legacy Brand

The story of Hancock Peanut Company is deeply rooted in American ingenuity and a lifelong passion for the peanut. It all began in 1944 with Robert Lafayette Hancock, Jr., a man whose skills and dedication shaped not only his own life but also the legacy of his family business.

Born in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1890, Robert’s career path took an interesting turn early on. While his initial steps involved working at the Surry Lumber Company, a seemingly unrelated industry, his talent for crafting things with his hands soon propelled him in a new direction. He joined Benthall Machine Company in Suffolk, Virginia, where his expertise as a pattern maker came into play. Here, he honed his skills in creating machine parts, particularly those used for peanut pickers.

Little did Robert know that this experience would set the stage for a pivotal moment in peanut history. Benthall Machine Company brought him face-to-face with Planters Peanuts, a burgeoning peanut processing company founded by Italian immigrants in 1906.

Planters Peanuts, experiencing rapid growth, was on the lookout for a mascot. Through a youth contest, they’d received a now-iconic pencil drawing of a peanut with a personality – Mr. Peanut. Recognizing Robert’s exceptional talent in crafting objects with precision, Planters approached him with a simple yet significant request: “Can you carve us a statue based on this drawing?” Robert’s answer – a confident “Yes” – would forever link his name to the beloved Mr. Peanut character.

Mr. Peanut
Mr Peanut Statue in Suffolk Virginia

Robert’s meticulous carving of the first Mr. Peanut wooden statue served as the basis for the cast used to create the iron statues eventually gracing Planters facilities. This contribution to Planters’ branding cemented Robert’s place in peanut history.

Robert’s journey didn’t end there. He continued his career path, joining Ramsey Packing Company and later organizing the Birdsong Storage Company, where his innovative spirit shone through once again. His invention, the Hancock Seed Peanut Sheller, became a valuable tool within the peanut industry.

Finally, in 1944, at the age of 54, Robert founded Hancock Peanut Company. This company, built on a lifetime of experience and passion for peanuts, continues to this day. Available exclusively through the online shop, Hancock Peanut Company delivers delicious peanuts to peanut lovers across the United States, ensuring that Robert’s legacy of quality and innovation lives on.

Hancock Peanut Company

The Hancock Peanut Company story is a testament to the power of transferable skills:

  • The power of transferable skills: Robert’s early experience working with wood and machinery translated beautifully into the peanut industry.
  • The importance of seizing opportunities: His “Yes” to Planters’ request led to a significant contribution to peanut history.
  • The value of innovation: Robert’s peanut sheller invention demonstrated his dedication to improving processes within the industry.
  • Building a lasting legacy: Hancock Peanut Company continues to endure, keeping Robert’s passion for peanuts alive for generations to come.

He and his wife had 5 children and 20 grandchildren. Hancock Peanut Company continues today serving peanut lovers all over the United States through our shop online. The legacy endures!

Hancock Peanut Company


Shop Hancock Peanut Company, today!

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