© Denzil Green
Corn Flakes is a flaked breakfast cereal based on corn, flavoured with sugar, malt, salt, etc, and usually fortified with vitamins. You serve it in a bowl, with cold milk on it.
Corn Flakes is a generic name. Various companies brand theirs by adding their company name, such as “Kellogg’s Corn Flakes” or “Skippy Corn Flakes.” Post Cereals calls theirs “Post Toasties.”
The cereal was first made by the Kellogg’s company
Kellogg’s does not make corn flakes for other companies to sell under other brand names.
In the UK, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are made in Manchester. It is the largest production plant of Corn Flakes in the world, and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
3 cups Corn Flakes equals 1 cup crushed
½ cup crumbs = 60 g / 2 oz
The history of Corn Flakes begins with religion. In 1860, the Seventh-Day Adventist church established its headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, USA. The Church believed in healthful living, and built a health institute in Battle Creak to promote their dietary ideals, which included vegetarian diets.
John Harvey Kellogg (born 26 February 1852) was the son of a broom-maker, John Preston Kellogg (1806 to 1881) and Ann Janette Stanley (1824 to 1893.) The Kellogg family were Adventists. He became the director of the Battle Creak Institute in 1876. He invented the word “Sanitarium”, and applied the word to the name of the Institute (“The Medical and Surgical Sanitarium”.) The Sanitarium became wildly popular.
He hired his younger brother, William Keith, to work for him. William had been born on 7 April 1860. He came to work for his brother in 1880 at the age of 20. In the same year, 1800, Will married Ella Osborn Davis (1858 to 1912.) Will and Ella would have five children: Karl Hugh (1881 to 1955), John Leonard Kellogg (1883 to 1948), Irvin Hadley (died in infancy), William Keith Jr. (1885 to 1889), and Elizabeth Ann Kellogg Williamson (1888 to 1966.)
William was 34 when the great discovery was made in 1894. Will often helped his brother in experimenting with new ways of preparing nutritious food. The two brothers that year were experimenting with masses of boiled wheat dough, put through rollers to make it into sheets. One night, Will left the dough out overnight before rolling it. The next morning, instead of a flat sheet coming out through the rollers, the dough broke up into flakes. Nothing daunted, he put it on the menu for breakfast for patients at the Sanitarium, and it was a hit — the patients asked for more. In fact, patients wanted the flakes even after they had left the Sanitarium and returned home, so a mail-order business was set up, 15 cents for a 10 ounce (280 g) package. In 1896, Will sold 113,400 pounds (51,450 kg) of the Corn Flakes this way — without any advertising.
John Harvey didn’t want to expand the Corn Flake business: he was afraid that the commercialism would affect his reputation as a doctor. By 1906, however, Will (at the age of 46) decided to go for it. He bought out the commercial rights from his brother, sweetened the flakes with malt (which patients loved but his brother hated on health grounds) and started the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company.
On Wednesday, 7 June 1907 his first truly major advertising campaign began in New York City. Housewives were told to go wink at their grocer on Wednesday and they would get a free box of Corn Flakes. The city loved the campaign and sales increased 15 times because of it. He then went on to promote other products such as Rice Krispies and All Bran.
Meanwhile, his wife Ella helped to pioneer Home Economics as a field. She founded a school, and published on the topic. One of her books was “Science in the kitchen: a scientific treatise on food substances and their dietetic properties, together with a practical explanation of the principles of healthful cookery. (Battle Creek, Health Publishing Co., 1898.)
Ella died in 1912. In 1918, William remarried to a woman doctor, Carrie Staines (1867 to 1948.)
Sale of Corn Flakes began in Australia in 1924; in Germany, in 1929.
William became a multi-millionaire, and during the Great Depression, in 1934, he put most of his fortune, about $66 million US, into a foundation he created, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
He died in 1951 at the age of 91. He lost his sight in the final years of his life owing to glaucoma. His guide dog, “Rinson”, was the son of “Rin Tin Tin” the famous dog from the movies.
In 2009, Kellogg’s came up with a way to laser-brand individual corn flakes with their logo. They then considered whether to introduce some of the branded flakes into each box to ensure its authenticity to consumers. As of 2011, the company did not appear to have decided to proceed yet.
Kellogg’s to laser-brand individual Corn Flakes: Kellogg’s has developed a hi-tech method to stamp out imitation cereals – by branding Corn Flakes with the company logo. London: Daily Telegraph. 13 October 2009.
Meyer-Renschhausen E, Wirz A: Dietetics, health reform and social order. Vegetarianism as a moral physiology: the example of Maximilian Bircher-Benner (1867–1939). Medical History 1999;43:323-341.