Skip to main content

The People Who Emboss Your Cookies Are Way More Mysterious and Cryptic Than You Thought

Consider the Following

Cookies are delicious. It’s simple fact. Who would argue against that? But here’s something we never knew we should have been thinking about: who are the people responsible for the designs on said cookies? Who give our biscuits their visual appeal? In other words, who are the cookie embossers?

A cookie’s design is often a large portion of how we identify it on first glance; without the swirly patterns or the special shapes, how else would we distinguish between every cream-filled wafer that crosses our paths? We’d have to taste all of them, and that would be just horrible.

Oreos, which have been around for almost a hundred years (making their debut in 1912), have perhaps the most iconic design, having been lauded by architecture and cookie critics since the blueprint made its appearance in 1952. As the Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic, Paul Goldberg, raves in a piece honoring the cookie’s 75 year anniversary in 1986:

[The design of the Oreo] stands as the archetype of its kind, a reminder that cookies are designed as consciously as buildings, and sometimes better….It is the Oreo that has become the icon. And after all, it is the more American-looking of the two — its even pattern, however dowdy, has an industrial, stamped-out quality. It might be said to combine homelike decoration with an American love of machine imagery, and in that combination lies a triumph of design.

But technically, no one know who is responsible for the design of “Milk’s Favorite Cookie.” at least not officially. Throughout the years, the internet has credited William Turnier, but upon questioning, Nabisco could only confirm that a man by that name had worked for the company as a design engineer at the time. A commenter called “Bill” on the New York Times6th Floor Blog, claiming to be Turnier’s son, however, says that Turnier was responsible for the iconic design, and that he’s got the blueprints hanging in his house to prove it.

If you choose to believe Bill and settle the drama surrounding the identity of the late great Oreo designer, don’t worry, there’s plenty more cookie-based intrigue where that came from. The online Oreo-obsessives (yes, there is apparently a whole community of sandwich cookie-obsessed people out there. Oh, internet, I love you) have been debating for years what exactly the design means. Does it contain the early European symbol for quality? Or is it a secret endorsement of the Knight of Templar, dating all the way back to the crusades? Some even suggest the Freemasons are involved.

See, all I ever worry about is how many I can get away with eating.

(Eligible Geography via 6th Floor Blog)

(Photo via XReminiscence)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Alanna is a pop culture writer who works as the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, an entertainment writer for Bustle, and a freelancer for everywhere. She has a lot of opinions about Harry Potter and will 100% bully you into watching the shows that she loves. Don't worry, it's a sign of friendship.