Tater Tots, a registered trademark for a commercial form of hash browns made by Ore-Ida, are a side-dish made from deep-fried, grated potatoes. Tater Tots are widely recognized by their crispness, cylindrical shape and small size.
Tater is slang for potato (origin: 1750–60; America; by Apheresis, tato, and substitution of -er for final -o, tater); Tots may have been derived from their diminutive size, or because they are often served to children. In some regions, the term Tater is informally dropped, and the snack is simply called "Tots". They're known as "Potato Gems" in other countries such as Australia.
Tater Tots were first created in 1953 when Ore-Ida founders F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg were trying to figure out what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes. They came up with the novel idea of chopping up the potato slivers, adding flour and seasoning, then pushing the mash through holes and slicing off pieces of what came out on the other side. Tater Tots were born. They first became available in stores in 1956. Originally, they were very inexpensive. According to advertising lectures at Iowa State University, people did not buy them at first because there was no perceived value. When the price was raised, people began buying them. Today, Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds per year.