SARATOGA SPRINGS - Alan Richer likes his history a little salty.
Known locally as the “Toga Chip Guy,” Richer has immersed himself in the myths, folklore and facts surrounding America’s most beloved snack food.
Invented around 1853 in Saratoga Springs, the potato chip has grown from a regional favorite to an international sensation.
“The first general name for it was the ‘Saratoga chip.’ Eventually, it became known as the potato chip,” Richer said.
Richer first heard about the region’s connection to the chip while searching for art for his home on Saratoga Lake. While talking to an art collector, he heard the story about the first chip and its alleged invention at Moon’s Lake House.
The tale inspired him to start collecting Saratoga chip memorabilia and history.
“I have more than 300 items, and my collection shows how the name really migrated,” he said.
Richer’s chip acquisitions include bags, tins, machinery, advertisements and photos of manufacturing plants, workers and delivery vehicles related to the name “Saratoga chips.”
He will present a multimedia presentation about “Saratoga Springs’ Snack Food” on July 23 at Saratoga Springs History Museum in Canfield Casino as part of the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust Program Series.
During the talk, Richer will discuss some alternate stories of the chip’s invention, the industry that arose from the snack food and the use of the name on other products.
“It has a lot of history,” he said.
If you go
Alan Richer will discuss the history of the Saratoga chip at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Saratoga Springs History Museum in Canfield Casino in Congress Park in Saratoga Springs. The program is free and open to the public.
For more information, go to www.saratogahistory.org.