In 1946, Dave Menkin’s wife, Paula, was frustrated dealing with the baby oil she used to clean her baby’s skin. Menkin — the engineer who developed Jiffy Pop and Flavr Straws — took a lotion pump apart, fabricated a small satellite-type dish on top of it, then stuck it into a glass jar through the center of a wide- mouth metal screw top. This little contraption worked well for a long time. Paula was delighted and her friends wanted one for their own homes. Noting its popularity, Menkin decided to bring this instrument to the masses and, together with his friend, Ben Darling, turned the prototype into a mass-manufactured item. Combining the beginning of both their names, they called this new product a Menda pump.

Fifty years later, Menda Products has grown into an international company with a product line that features more than 100 variations of that original idea and serves three distinct industries: professional beauty, industrial, and medical. The current owners, Andrea and Fred Rifkin, continue to develop and release new products, the latest new environmentally friendly packaging for their Twist-Lock pump, a 16-oz. dispenser for removers, and the popular Tribal Life Collection of ceramic dispensers. The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company was commemorated by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in June for its 50 years at a special anniversary party.

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