Mug shot: A photograph of someone’s face especially one made for police records. The word ”mug shots” comes from the British slang word “mug” meaning “face.”
In 1915, Charles Wille was sent to the Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth for a rather unique reason – crimes against butter. Wille spent more than a year in prison for violating the Oleomargarine Act of August 2, 1886. Your next question is probably what the heck is the Oleomargarine Act of 1886?! The short version is this:
The Oleomargarine Act of 1886 was enacted to protect butter and the dairy institutions. In the early 1870s, margarine (aka “artificial butter” made from animal fat) caught on in the United States. It had only recently been invented in France and costed very little to produce. This made it popular among industrialists and the millions of consumers who still felt the burn of the lingering economic recession. Simply put, real butter was expensive and margarine was cheap.
Dairy interests obviously saw margarine as a real threat to their business and profit margins. They lobbied and pressured Congress to stick a hefty tax on it. Congress yielded. The Oleomargarine Act of 1886 was born and it imposed a two-cent per pound tax. Additionally, margarine producers and sellers had to obtain special licenses. To get around the licenses and heavy taxes, people continued to manufacture the risky margarine and consumers bootlegged the butter substitute. Either way, if caught, the person could face the same fate as Charles Wille and finding themselves in the slammer.
The Oleomargarine Act remained in effect until 1951. Wisconsin was the last state to do away with margarine restrictions in 1967.