Sounds like something a snake oil salesman on the wild west could come up with. Can the origins be traced?
In a transcript of a state trial from 1798:
What did you give it him for? Did he make use of it? Was it to protect his copper from being changed that you did it? — He was very officious to make things in a light easy way without much trouble, to make nis bread light. But I did it more in fun than profit.
This is clearly not the same phrase, but it seems to be more than an accidental use of those two words togather.