July 5, 1937 SPAM first rolled off the assembly line as a way to sell the unprofitable pork-shoulder.
It was the invention of Jay Hormel, son of George Hormel, who founded the Hormel company, which pioneered canned pork products in Austin, Minnesota in the late 1920’s.
According to the company’s Spam Museum, Ken Digneau, the brother of a Hormel executive, came up with the name, a combination of the words “spiced ham”, in a naming contest and got $100 as a reward.
Spam went global during World War II, when America shipped out over 100 million cans to the Pacific, where it made an inexpensive yet filling meal for U.S. troops. It remains popular in areas where soldiers were stationed, especially in Hawaii, Guam and the Philippines.