Inventions: An Easy-Access Peanut Butter Jar

Each year, Americans buy 700 million pounds of peanut butter. But about 3.5 million pounds of it ends up unused, stuck at the bottom of the jar, according to Sherwood Forlee, a former Princeton University engineering student. So he's come up with a simple (and Kramer-esque) solution: his Easy PB&J jar has straight interior walls and twist-off lids at both ends. He spent eight years perfecting his invention and hopes to begin production later this year. "It's a really novel concept," says Lee Zalben, founder of Peanut Butter & Co., a Manhattan sandwich store. The peanut-butter industry, however, is hurting from an uncertain supply of peanuts and soaring fuel costs, and may be slow to embrace a packaging change. "It would seem much more expensive to manufacture," says Leslie Wagner of the Peanut Advisory Board. In that case, we'll just have to keep using our fingers.