A Fig Newton is a soft cookie filled with fig jam. A machine invented in 1891 made the mass production of Fig Newtons possible. James Henry Mitchell invented a machine which worked like a funnel within a funnel; the inside funnel supplied jam, while the outside funnel pumped out the dough, this produced an endless length of filled cookie, that was then cut into smaller pieces. The Kennedy Biscuit Works used Mitchell's invention to mass-produce the first Fig Newton Cookies in 1891.
Originally, the Fig Newton was just called the Newton. There is an old rumor that James Henry Mitchell, the funnel machine's inventor, named the cookies after that great physicist, Sir Isaac Newton, but that was just a rumor. The cookies were named after the Massachusetts town of Newton, which was close to Kennedy Biscuits. Kennedy Biscuits had a tradition of naming cookies and crackers after the surrounding towns near Boston. The name changed from Newton to Fig Newton, after the original fig jam inside the cookie gained good reviews. Later the name changed to Fig Newton Cookies.