Inventor of the Week Archive
for a different Invention or Inventor
What drink could be more integral to the American athletic
scene than Gatorade? The beverage that is present at virtually
every football game, soccer match and road race was invented
in 1965 by Dr. Robert Cade. Born in 1927 in Florida, Cade
was trained at the University of Texas Medical School in Dallas
as an internist and nephrologist. He was working as a medical
researcher at the University of Florida when a football coach
there became frustrated that his players were unable to keep
going strong in hot weather, despite drinking lots of water.
He asked his team doctor, one of Cade's associates, for help.
Cade was intrigued with the problem and lead a research
team in investigating the reasons water wasn't enough to hydrate
athletes on the playing field. They studied the effects that
loss of fluid and electrolytes has on bodily conditions such
as blood pressure and body temperature. The team set about
finding a way to replace water, salts and minerals lost during
a heavy workout so athletes could remain energized, healthy
and strong during a game. Cade and his team tried several
concoctions and finally came up with a winning formula consisting
of water, sugar, sodium, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice.
Cade patented the drink, calling it Gatorade at the suggestion
of a colleague after the university's football team, "The
When the Gators credited the drink with their first Orange Bowl win in 1967, Gatorade gained instant notoriety and garnered media interest. Cade offered his patent rights to the University of Florida, but they turned him down. So, Cade partnered with Stokely-Van Camp who mass-produced and distributed the drink. The Quaker Oats Co. bought Stokely-Van Camp in 1983.
Gatorade became a household name when the tradition of pouring
the Gatorade jug over the head of the winning team's coach
at the end of the Super Bowl began with the New York Giants'
win in 1987. When the Quaker Oats Co. was acquired by PepsiCo
in 2001, Gatorade was well on its way to worldwide sales in
the billions. The brand has since expanded to include other
products such as energy bars and chewing gum as well as more
than 15 Gatorade flavors.
Meanwhile, in 1973, Cade and the University of Florida were
able to strike a deal that allows the university to reap royalties
for Gatorade each year. Cade continues to work as a professor
of medicine and physiology there, conducting research on kidney
and liver disease, diabetes, hypertension and other illnesses.
He also studies Down syndrome, autism and certain types of
schizophrenia and develops diets to help these patients improve
or recover. In addition, Cade has developed products similar
to Gatorade such as the Go Energy-Recovery Shake, which helps
athletes recover more quickly after a workout.