The History of Corn Flakes

In 1894, corn flakes were accidentally invented by John Harvey Kellogg when he left out cooked wheat. He and his brother, Will Keith Kellogg, were working at an Adventist sanitarium. They were on a tight budget, so instead of throwing the stale wheat out they put it through rollers and toasted it, producing corn flakes. Kellogg bros patented this method in 1895. This became a part of the diet that the Kellogg brothers recommended for their patients, which consisted exclusively of grain-based bland food (shout out to Davis). They also preached no alcohol or tobacco and no sexual activity. JH Kellogg was convinced that masturbation led to “cancer of the womb, urinary diseases, nocturnal emissions, impotence, epilepsy, insanity, and mental and physical debility” as well as “dimness of vision” and moral corruption. Corn Flakes were originally believed by the Kellogg brothers to prevent masturbation. JH was not interested in commercializing his products, but his brother pushed the idea in the early 1900s when other companies began making cereal and were crushing it. This created a rift, and WK bought the rights to Corn Flakes and started the Kellogg’s we all know and love today. One interesting marketing effort that WK used was a promo that read “Wink at your grocer and see what you get.” When they winked at the person checking them out at the store, they got a free box of Corn Flakes. This was a huge success and the company took off.

WK’s son, John L., joined him in the business. However, after John L. divorced his wife and married another girl in the office and then became interested in oat-based products, which WK considered blasphemous, WK gave John L. das boot. WK died years later, leaving behind the most prolific breakfast food company the world had seen.

Take-aways: Corn Flakes were invented on accident, the process for creating them was patented, they were believed to prevent masturbation, strife in Kellogg Fam

John Harvey Kellogg
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