Johnny Kagan as we called him in the household, was my mother’s younger brother from their tiny village in what is now Belarus, and was birthed in this town called Luninets, what was then in Poland. He came over when he was 2 so as much as a Canadian as he could be, unlike me that was birthed in this wondrous country without any kind of upheaval that thrusts you and your whole family on a sudden and horribly dangerous adventure..
The reason I am saying to individuals about my uncle is because he developed 2 important items that most of the world’s inhabitants uses these two products each day and must create billions of bucks for manufacturing facilities worldwide. If that’s not a contribution to the the world society as a whole, I don’t understand exactly what else is!
He finished University of Toronto, where he played Timpani drums in their U of T symphony orchestra, as well as a professor of Food Chemistry for a couple of years until he could not take the student’s stupid questions anymore. He could have stayed on there and made a good living, but no, his nerves, which seems to be in all of our DNA, got the best of him, and he moved on.
He applied for a work at Lipton’s Tea Business in Paramus, NJ and it was there he developed both items he was going to be somewhat famous for, at the very least renowned inside our family. Uncle Johnny was not a talking and bragging individual, like other rich people I know who haven’t contributed a millionth of what Uncle J did and brag about themselves like they are the last man standing. As he designed these products during his career way back to early 60’s and really did not tell a single sole until he was 71 years of ages and had a feeling he would die soon, which he did, 2 years later on at age 73. He offered my cousin Harvey and myself, and I don’t think anyone else, papers to confirm what he did and informed us to use the details in any kind of scenario that would assist us in our lives and careers. I was shocked he could possibly keep such information from the rest of the people in our family, we were so close, having Friday evening dinners which he would certainly go to whenever he was in town. You’d think once someone would say “anything interesting at Lipton’s lately”?, and he would say “oh ya I invented how to make REAL ice tea, not the phony synthetic stuff Nestle was selling at the grocery stores. He took on the challenge of finding and patenting a formula for real instant tea, which he did and Nestle had to change all their packaging to read not real because Uncle Johnny from Lipton’s, a nothing immigrant from a village in Belarus, figured it out and gave people the real thing while Nestle was trying to fool us.
He dealt with a team whose only job was to come up with brand-new items for Lipton’s and he developed a formula to make instant soup. However, the asshole VP, as he put it, couldn’t find one formula or product worth developing and stuck with the same old products, which inevitably led to this VP’s departure, most likely with a bad recommendation. It wasn’t until an impressive 12 years later, post asshole era and the new VP called the group in and requested brand-new items from them, as if a deja vu. they all sent in their suggestions and formulas, Uncle Johnny attempted some new formulas, as his other ones were rejected 11 years earlier.
The new VP didn’t like anything submitted and asked for a review of the archives. That is when he noticed Uncle Johnny’s old submission for an instant cup of Soup, and the new VP went crazy, saw the potential immediately, and was he right, after the patent ended, now there must be tens of thousands of factories in every country in the world making his formula now.
I would certainly believe that’s reached be a treasure of a product to design, but his other accomplishment exceeded that, getting him a post in the most respected publication for Experts, called Guy of Science, later relabeled Men and Women of Science. He was shopping someday and discovered Nestle’s had a product on the rack called immediate ice tea and he believed that couldn’t be, so he threw it in the cart and took it back to the lab at Lipton’s.
He analyzed it and located that it was, definitely not real, however artificial ice tea flavoring. he visited the VP and informed them that, and was commissioned with the job to make it GENUINE ice tea. He did just that, Lipton’s sued Nestle’s, which had to make new labels and Lipton’s Ice Tea is as popular an alcoholic beverage all over the world as Coca Soda, I would certainly think, yet another billion dollar item under Uncle Johnny’s belt. You would assume he would have gone on to be a globe player and leave a couple of million for his nieces and nephews, n.ever marrying, but that wasn’t to be the case as he was so disgusted in the corporate world, with their greed and flagrant disregard for human health, he ended up quitting altogether and traveling the world without having to put his name to products that have given millions cancer of the years. But that’s another story I will cover when I get more time.
Thanks for reading this! Signing off for now.