Newtons are a Nabisco trademarked version of the ancient fig roll pastry filled with fig paste. Their unusual shape is a characteristic that has been adopted by many competitors including generic fig bars sold in many markets. They are produced by an extrusion process. Until the late 19th century, many physicians believed that most illnesses were related to digestion problems, and recommended a daily intake of biscuits and fruit. Fig rolls were the ideal solution to this advice, although they remained a locally-produced and handmade product. A Philadelphia baker and fig-lover Charles Roser in 1891 invented and then patented a machine which inserted fig paste into a cake-like dough, that was pastry-like, with a characteristic chewiness. Cambridgeport, Massachusetts-based Kennedy Biscuit Company purchased the Roser recipe and started mass production. The first Fig Newtons were baked at the F. A. Kennedy Steam Bakery in 1891.
Contributions by Drdarrow, 220.127.116.11, and 18.104.22.168.