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The History of Breakfast Cereals
By Mary Bellis

cherriosThe first modern and commercial cereal foods were created by the American Seventh-day Adventists. The Adventists formed the Western Health Reform Institute in the 1860s. The Institute was later renamed the Battle Creek Sanitarium after its location in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Adventists manufactured, promoted, and sold wholesome cereals.

Cereal or grain is a member of the grass plant family, with starchy seeds used for food. Common cereals are: wheat, rice, rye, oats, barley, corn (maize), and sorghum.

Will Keith Kellogg
Will Keith Kellogg was the founder of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1906. In 1894, Will Keith Kellogg's brother Doctor John Harvey Kellogg was trying to improve the diet of hospital patients. He was searching for a digestible bread substitute using the process of boiling wheat. Kellogg accidentally left a pot of boiled wheat to stand and the wheat became tempered (soften). When Kellogg rolled the tempered or softened wheat and let it dry, each grain of wheat emerged as a large thin flake. The flakes turned out to be a tasty cereal. Kellogg had invented corn flakes. On May 31, 1884, John Harvey Kellogg filed for patent for “flaked cereals and process of preparing same.” Patent #558,393 was issued on April 14, 1896.

Kellogg received his M.D. from Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York City, in 1875. He was a Seventh-day Adventist. (Kellogg's Company)

Will Keith Kellogg
Will Keith Kellogg, founder of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, may be best known as the cereal industry giant and inventor of corn flakes.

W. K. Kellogg / Kellogg Company
Will Keith Kellogg founded the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1906.

Rice Krispies were introduced by Kellogg in 1929.

C(harles) W(illiam) Post
American manufacturer noted for his development of breakfast cereals.

Cherrios
"The year was 1941 and America's first ready-to-eat oat cereal with crisp doughnut-like rings was arriving on store shelves. The introduction of the seven-ounce box of Cheerioats was a major event for General Mills."

Cereal Advertising Icon Toys
Since the Quaker Oats man became the first registered breakfast cereal trademark in 1877, breakfast cereals have been synonymous with characters like Tony the Tiger of Kelloggs, the Trix Rabbit, and Post's Sugar Bear.

Victorian Breakfasts
One distinctly American component was corn, especially in the South where hominy, first eaten by Native Americans, was joined by corn meal mush, corn pone, grits, and so on.

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