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Kellogg's Toasted Cornflake Co.
Even though James Caleb Jackson had invented breakfast cereal as we mostly know it, he was unable to turn it into an industry and bring it into the mainstream of American food consumption. The honor for that belongs to three individuals and the companies they created: John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will Keith Kellogg, and Charles William Post.
John Harvey Kellogg was born in 1852, the fifth son of John Preston and Ann Janette Kellogg. John Harvey's first job was in his father's broom factory in Battle Creek, Michigan, which he started at 10 years old after leaving school. John Harvey's father sent a large portion of the proceeds from the factory to support the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and in 1854 he became a printer's devil for an Adventist publication after James White, one of the co-founders of the Adventist faith, visited the factory. John Harvey proved to be a skilled and intelligent worker, and soon was doing editorial work for the Adventists' main newspaper.
John Harvey spent much time with the Whites at his job in the print shop, and eventually grew to be extremely close with them. At the urging of the Whites, John Harvey attended the Hygieo-Therapeutic College in New Jersey, and continued on to study medicine at several other universities after his graduation.
Battle Creek Sanitarium
Eventually, John Harvey came to take charge of the Western Health Reform Institute, an Adventist institution, once more at the urging of the Whites. He was reluctant to do so however, and agreed to stay on for only one year (he ended up holding the position for nearly 70 years). Kellogg grew the Health Reform Institute(which he eventually renamed to the Medical and Surgical Sanitarium) to become a massive place of health and wellness, and heading up the Sanitarium, he became one pf the most well-known figures in turn of the century medicine. Similarly to Sylvester Graham's teachings, Kellogg's recipe for healthfulness advocated an avoidance of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco and promoted moderate exercise and a low calorie diet. It was absolutely revolutionary for the time and catapulted Kellogg to the forefront of medicine.
One of the most important things to Kellogg's recipe for health was diet. He was likewise horrified at practices in the kitchen, and called at the time modern cookery "the greatest bane of civilization at the time". He served largely vegetarian meals at the Sanitarium, which were notoriously bland and often saw patrons sneak out of the Sanitarium to a local restaurant that served the culinary contraband they craved. The blandness of the food at the Sanitarium was not lost on Kellogg, and he experimented with ways to make vegetarian food less bland, which eventually led to the creation of Corn Flakes and Caramel Coffee, a drink highly favored by C.W. Post while he was a patient at the "San".
John Harvey was starkly contrasted by his younger brother Will. Will was 8 years younger than his older brother, and grew up introverted and shy, and was thought to be extremely unintelligent in school since his undiagnosed nearsightedness prevented him from reading from the blackboard during class. After several business ventures, however, he joined his brother at the Sanitarium, managing the affair behind the scenes. He kept the books, worked in the kitchen, occasionally shaved John and shined his shoes, answered correspondence, rounded up escaped patients, and eventually even managed the health food (it is worth noting here that John founded many health food companies, including the Sanitas Nut Food Company) and publishing departments of the Sanitarium. Will, forced to be more aware of the outside world than his older brother and in possession of a much keener business mind, watched enviously while individuals like Post made fortunes on foods very much like those already produced at the Sanitarium.
Prior to selling cornflakes commercially, John Kellogg was giving breakfast cereals to his patients. He crumbled zwieback (a twice toasted bread whose name comes from the German phrase for "twice baked") and added oats and cornmeal. He coined his concoction Granula, but following a lawsuit from James Caleb Jackson, the original inventor of Granula, he changed the name to Granola . The first flake cereal(and thus first recognizable breakfast cereal) to be produced and sold commercially by the Kelloggs was called Granose Flakes . They were produced under the Kellogg Food Company Marquee, and were wheat flakes produced by feeding cooked wheat through two rollers, which was then scraped from the rollers and baked. The first attempts at creating flakes were disastrous. The wheat fed through the rollers would not form proper flakes and came out mushy and shapeless. The crew working to produce the flakes, which included Will and John's wife Ella, accidentally left one of their batches of cooked wheat soaking overnight when they left the Sanitarium's kitchens frustrated and discouraged. The overnight soaking did the trick however, and the resulting flakes were everything that Will and John had been looking for. The first year of production, 1896, saw Will sell over 113,000 pounds of the cereal, a remarkable feat considering that John had limited the audience that Will was allowed to sell to to former patients of the Sanitarium and readers of the publications Good Health and Battle Creek Idea, both published by the Sanitarium.
Granose Flakes were so successful that under John's direction, Will began to experiment with making flakes out of corn. Will focused on the corn kernel itself, calling it the "Sweetheart of the Corn", and later advertisements for the cereal featured an attractive young woman also bearing this moniker. In 1898, Will had created a sellable product. The new corn flakes were sold as "Sanitas Toasted Corn Flakes". The packages for the cereal prominently featured the signature of Will Kellogg, with the phrase "none genuine without this signature", which became a feature of many advertisements. Unfortunately, the new flakes went rancid very quickly due to the high oil content present in the corn, and the fix started the rift that eventually drove the Kellogg brothers apart. Will added cane sugar to the Flakes, which stabilized them and prevented the spoilage problem, but John, being an extremely devout (and arguably the most prominent) Seventh Day Adventist felt that sugar was worse for the body than meat and fought tooth and nail for the removal of the ingredient. John felt that foods should be sold and marketed solely for their health values, rather than their profitability. Unfortunately for John, the sugar not only stabilized the cereal, it improved the taste, and the combination of improved shelf life and better taste resulted in an explosion of sales for the company. The rift between the two brothers deepened in 1900 when Will raised money for a food production facility while John was away- a move that infuriated him, since he claimed Will did not have the authority to approve funds for such an enterprise, and ordered Will to pay back every penny.
Despite the success of corn flakes, John was still ambivalent about beginning a new business venture manufacturing them. He was preoccupied with his other business ventures, and thought little of making money. Will and a man named Charles Bolin, a former patient at the Sanitarium and insurance salesman, approached John with a proposal to manufacture the cereal. John refused until Will and Bolin came to him with a revised proposal that would separate the cereal manufacturing business from the Sanitarium business in exchange for a large portion of the resulting company's stock, and the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company was born in 1906. Following a dispute about what to call the cereal(John preferred keeping the name Sanitas but Will found the name distasteful), the product became known as "Kellogg's Toasted Corn Flakes", and was sold in packaging identical to the Sanitas Packaging, except the word Sanitas was now replaced with "Kellogg's". The cereal was so successful that by 1911, over 100 different brands of corn flakes were on the market, with names such as Korn Kinks, Corn-O-plenty, and Krebs Breakfast Flaked Corn. Post even got in on the corn flake craze, manufacturing Post Toasties.
The feud between the Kellogg Brothers that had started over the manufacture and sale of corn flakes was only the first in a long series of disagreements and battles over the rights to the cereal kingdom. John was jealous of Will's success as a cereal entrepreneur and felt betrayed by the fact that he had amassed such a large fortune, and as a result changed the name of his Sanitas Nut Food Company to the Kellogg Food Company when Will changed the name of the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company to the Kellogg Toasted Corn Flake Company. The brothers ended up in court, where Will sued John to prevent him from using the Kellogg name as either a company name or a product name. The case was settled out of court in Will's favor in 1911. Five years later, in 1916, John sued will over the exact same principle and lost. Will's cereal company had just come out with a product known as Toasted Bran Flakes, and John was already producing a product known as Kellogg's Sterilized Bran. Once again, John lost the suit, and was barred from attaching the Kellogg name to any product or company. Will had won the rights to the Kellogg cereal empire. Under Will’s leadership, the Kellogg Company grew to enormous heights, and before 1930 produced cereals such as Pep, Rice Krispies, and All Bran.
 Bruce, Cerealizing America, 13 Ibid, 13 Ibid, 13Ibid, 14 Ibid, 18 Carroll, Three Squares, 145Bruce, Cerealizing America, 47-49Carroll, Three Squares, 144 Ibid, 144 Bruce, Cerealizing America, 50 Ibid, 50 Carroll, Three Squares, 144 Ibid, 144 Ibid, 53 Carroll, Three Squares, 144 Bruce, Cerealizing America, 51 Ibid, 52 Ibid, 55-56
A New Kind of Health Food
Leading up to the advent of the breakfast cereal revolution, American culture was rapidly shifting. Americans began to lead increasingly sedentary lives due to the urbanization of the cities in which they lived, leading to an abandonment of the agrarian lives they used to lead prior to such urbanization. Unfortunately, the diet of Americans failed to change along with their lifestyles, and Americans on the whole continued to consume the calorically dense foods previously used to fuel the farmer's extremely active lifestyle.
The caloric overload wreaked havoc on the nation's collective digestive system. "Dyspepsia", The term coined for the ailment faced by many Americans, is exactly what made health advocates like Sylvester Graham and John Harvey Kellogg successful. According to them, Americans were overeating themselves until they were sick, and practitioners like Kellogg who advocated lighter diets found their patients miraculously cured. The predominant breakfast style of the time was very heavy, laden with meat and starch. Gerald Carson, in his book Cornflake Crusade, wrote in regards to the effects of the food on churchgoers that "the effects of such a heavy breakfast were so stupefying that the minister preached, in effect, to tons and tons of pork and beans." When vegetarian foods like Corn Flakes and Grape Nuts came on to the market purporting to cure the massive case of indigestion and food induced stupor faced by the country, they took the market by storm. Post, Kellogg, and the other more minor cereal companies all marketed their foods as health foods- aiding in the vitality of the consumer, curing diseases, and later, delicious to boot.
Postum marketed Grape Nuts as a dish that could fix almost any ailment, from appendicitis to loose teeth. Malaria and consumption (tuberculosis) were also reportedly cured by the consumption of Grape Nuts, and alleged endorsements by prominent physicians(who remained nameless in the advertisements) appeared in advertisements for the cereal. It was claimed to be a food especially good for the brain and central nervous system, and several advertisements was targeted towards parents, aiming to portray Grape Nuts as a food highly beneficial for the development of children. Advertisements for the cereal claimed that the human body gained more nutrition from Grape Nuts than any other known food, and the long baking process that the cereal underwent meant that the cereal was easier to digest. Ads for Grape Nuts began to claim that the food was "pre-digested". The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 helped to tone down medicinal claims in their advertising however, and advertisements began to center around the taste and purity of the food, along with less specifically medical claims that cereal was simply good for people- especially children- and it helped them grow and be healthy and strong. Like Postum, Kellogg's company made claims in their advertisements that their foods would have a medicinal effect on the consumer. Boxes of Granose Flakes, the first flake breakfast food produced and sold commercially by the Kelloggs, came with the slogan "Enrich the Blood". The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 helped put an end to their heavily medicinal claims exactly as it had with Postum and Kellogg's transitioned to marketing their foods with less medical claims. Advertisements that arrived after the Pure Food and Drug Act built instead on the vitality improving aspects of the food.