Happy Duke's 100 Years Years

Duke’s Timeline

  • 1881

    Eugenia Thomas is born in Columbus, Georgia, the 10th of 10 children.

  • 1900

    19-year-old Thomas marries Harry Duke.

  • 1910

    The Dukes move to Greenville, South Carolina for Harry’s job at Southern Power Co.

  • 1917

    Eugenia Duke begins selling sandwiches with her homemade mayonnaise to soldiers at Fort Sevier. Sandwiches cost a dime each, and Duke makes a profit of 2 cents per sandwich.

    Fort Sevier: 1918 Library of Congress
  • 1918

    Eugenia Duke sells her 11,000th sandwich and buys her first delivery truck.

  • 1920

    Duke begins selling her sandwiches in drugstores and local grocery stores.

  • 1920

    Duke sets up shop at The Ottaray Hotel in downtown Greenville, selling her popular sandwiches at the Ottaray’s Duke’s Tea Room.

    Ottaray Hotel, Greenville 1920
  • 1923

    Duke’s salesman C.B. Boyd sees an opportunity to expand the business and suggests bottling the homemade mayonnaise as a separate product. Sure enough, the mayonnaise business takes off and Eugenia Duke abandons the sandwich business entirely to focus her efforts on her mayonnaise.

  • 1926

    Demand continues to grow rapidly, so Eugenia Duke moves production from a facility on her property to her first official plant operation.

  • 1929

    Demand becomes too great for Duke to handle on her own, so she sells the business to The C.F. Sauer Company on February 29th. Eugenia stays on as C.F. Sauer’s chief salesperson.

  • 1950

    The Dukes move to California to be closer to their daughter Martha, and Eugenia begins a new business venture selling sandwiches to cafes and drugstores. She operates under the name The Duchess Sandwich Company.

  • 1968

    Eugenia Duke passes away at age 90 and is laid to rest in Oakland, California.

  • 1985

    Light Mayonnaise is introduced.

  • 1990

    The expansion of Duke’s Greenville, South Carolina plant is completed.

  • 2006

    Duke’s chocolate cake recipe is introduced. It still continues to be one of Duke’s most popular recipes today.

    Dukes Chocolate Cake
  • 2007

    For Duke’s 90th anniversary, the “smooth and creamy” red ribbon is added to the label.

  • 2007

    Duke’s launches a Taste Tour with its mobile kitchen and visits minor league baseball games and a variety of food shows throughout the southeast. The Taste Tour has since expanded to St. Louis and surrounding markets and the trailer visits multiple family food festivals.

    Duke's Taste Tour Trailer
  • 2009

    In light of many major mayonnaise brands switching from 32-ounce jars to 30-ounce jars, Duke’s adds a “still 32 ounces” tag to the label.

  • 2011

    Duke’s is featured in the documentary Pimento Cheese Please and representatives of Duke’s judge a pimento cheese contest at the documentary premiere.

    Pimento Cheese Please!
  • 2012

    Duke’s introduces a new variation on Duke’s Light Mayonnaise: Duke’s Light with Olive Oil.

    Duke's Light Mayonnaise: Duke's Light with Olive Oil
  • 2012

    Duke’s begins sponsorship of the local Hanover Tomato Festival.

  • 2012

    Duke’s premieres its food monologues. They focus on Duke’s rich chocolate cake, creamy potato salad, juicy burgers, and zesty chicken salad.

    Duke's Food Monologues: Potato Salad Still Photo
  • 2015

    The Duke’s 1 Cup Pouch is introduced, marking the newest category innovation in the mayonnaise business since the switch from glass to plastic jars.

  • 2015

    Duke’s launches a brand ambassador promotion from its headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. 11 Duke’s fans participate and they each lead a team of 10 Duke’s converts.

    Duke's Brand Ambassador Swag
  • 2017

    Duke’s celebrates its 100th anniversary with a new label, a commemorative book, and a celebration in Duke’s hometown, Greenville, South Carolina.