Fannie S. Spitz was an inventor who patented the first machine to shell pine nuts for commercial used. Fannie Schutz was born in El Paso and was the daughter of Samuel Schutz and Friederike Siebenborn in 1873. Fannie’s cousin, Solomon C. Schutz was a prominent merchant and went on to serve as mayor of El Paso. Fannie traveled and studied nut processing methods and worked as an apprentice in a machine shop to come up with a practical machine to shell pine nuts in bulk. Spitz was granted a patent for the “Method and Apparatus for Shelling Nuts” in 1918. Fannie built the prototype in her basement. Fannie sold pine nuts out of her farm in Albuquerque. Fannie showed off the machine to a national convention of manufacturers in Chicago in 1922. Fannie also experimented with coffee beans using her machine.
Fannie married Berthold Spitz, who was born in Bohemia in 1893. The couple help founded the Congregation Albert, a synagogue in Albuquerque. Fannie died in Pasadena, California in 1943. Fannie announced her retirement in 1923 and was seeking buyers to take over her business.Fannie was considered an expert on pines nuts and their cultivation.
The Spitz’s House in Albuquerque was placed on the National Historic Register in 1977. The Spitz’s House is still in existence it is on 323 Tenth Street in Albuquerque. Their home was designed by noted southwest architect, Henry C. Trost in 1908. In 1978 and 1979 the house was historically restored