Thanks to the “Snapple Facts” that beverage maker Snapple imprints on the inside of its bottle caps, millions of consumers now know that Napoleon suffered from a pathological fear of cats and that Leonardo da Vinci could draw with one hand while writing with the other.
That’s as good a reason as any to compile a list of similarly arcane but fascinating trivia about Snapple cofounder Leonard Marsh, who died on May 21 at age 80 in Manhasset, N.Y.
- Before getting into the beverage business, Marsh had a window-washing business with his brother-in-law and fellow Snapple cofounder Hyman Golden.
- Marsh was the last surviving Snapple cofounder. Golden died in 2008, and Marsh’s childhood friend Arnold Greenberg, a former health food store proprietor, died last year.
- Marsh went to Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn. The latter was named after a 19th-century New York governor who, in the disputed presidential election of 1876, became the only candidate in history not to take the White House despite having won more than 50 percent of the popular vote.
- Despite insisting that he knew “about as much about juice as about making an atom bomb,” Marsh for years was also the company’s best taster of new flavors, according to the Wall Street Journal. He also insisted on catchy names – Mango Madness and Guava Mania, for example – for the company’s products.
- When he wasn’t managing the network of 300 different bottlers in 50 states that he recruited, Marsh was known to play computer solitaire in his office.
- Marsh, whom the publication Beverage Industry once summed up in a headline as ” Mr. Nice Guy,” was a pioneer in instituting employee-friendly policies. Snapple was among the first companies to offer flexible hours that enabled workers to go home when needed to take care of their children and elderly parents. When Snapple moved its headquarters in 1990 from New York City to Long Island, Marsh and his partners bought a bus so that employees who didn’t own cars could afford to keep working at the company.
- Despite Snapple’s phenomenal success under Marsh’s leadership – he and his partners sold the company to Quaker Oats in 1994 for $1.7 billion – he was a famously modest guy. “We built a better mousetrap, nothing more,” he told an industry publication in 1993. “Tea was around for many years. We made it better.”
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