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k. kellogg, the man behind the flake

  1. K. Kellogg, the man behind the flake

While Grocery Shopping, I recently purchased a box of Kellogg’s Cornflakes, and while busy munching on the golden flakes, I found myself staring at the face of its inventor "W. K. Kellogg."

Just below the picture of this remarkable man was a short bio that somewhat intrigued me, so much so that I thought I would delve into his life in more detail. What I found, both surprised and, in some ways, shocked me.

Read on below and find out the surprising truth of this one-time superintendent of a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan.

We begin our story in 1894, when two brothers, W.K. Kellogg and his elder brother DR. John Harvey Kellogg, 're attempting to create a healthier full-grain wheat-based granola to feed to their wealthy patients who were residents of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, where John Harvey Kellogg worked as a bookkeeper for his wife, Ellen White, the founder of the institute.

Of the two, the younger brother W. K. Kellogg was the most amicable and forward thinker. He would later live become known as the Henry Ford of the food processing industry because of his assembly line technique of mass production, which, up until then, had never been used in the food industry.

The day was hot, and the large copper urns used to boil the wheat putrified the air, fraying the tempers of all inside. However, work on they did until the aromatic mixture had reached its correct texture, thus allowing workers to pour it out onto a granite slab, where it would be left to air until ready for rolling, generally for at least a couple of hours.

At this point, the two brothers were called away, not returning until early the next day when they discovered that the wheat, of which they had very little, had become both stale and brittle.

Being the frugal men they were, they then decided to force the brittle sheet of granola through the large rollers usually used to flatten dough for pastry sheets and were surprised to find that each layer had broken into tiny mouth-sized flakes.

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes had been born and with it the future conglomerate we now know as the Kellogg Company.

It would be nice to think that from then on, the two brothers would, at last, become closer and work in harmony; however, this was not meant to be.

John Harvey Kellogg, for instance, saw no benefits in the new flakes of corn, only allowing his brother to serve the flakes to the patients of the sanitorium and then just to save both waste and, of course, money.

However, W. K. Kellogg saw massive potential in the newly invented breakfast cereal, noticing that after leaving the hospital, patients would write to him asking him to send them a regular supply of the flakes he did by mail order. A move, which unknown to his elder brother, who for reasons unknown, had forbidden him to distribute the flakes outside of the sanitorium.

Now reasonably well off, the young Kellogg moved away from his overbearing brother and, using the profits of his newly formed mail-order business launched, on February 19, 1906, the "Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company." In 1909, it was renamed the "Kellogg Toasted Corn Flake Company," which would be rebranded again in 1922 to its current name, the "Kellogg Company," which today is estimated to have a net value of US$22.1 billion marketing its products in over 180 countries.

Today after paying $2.7 billion in cash to Procter & Gamble for the potato crisps "Pringles," Kellogg’s has become the world's 2nd largest snack food company, second only to "PepsiCo." It was not bad for a company that, 126 years ago, stumbled on a recipe purely by accident, an accident that today has resulted in the Kellogg logo being displayed on millions of breakfast tables worldwide every day.

What do I remember about Kellogg’s Corn flakes? As a young lad being brought up in the United Kingdom just after the 2nd World War, if you had Kellogg’s on the table, then you were seen as quite well off; however, the truth of the matter is quite different, times were hard, and Britain was still under a strict rationing system, a system which would last well into the late 1950s.

Money was short, as were things like sugar, and I include sweets, so if you were lucky enough to have cornflakes for breakfast, then it was a special day.

My old Dad, bless his heart used to eat his without milk as he said he liked them better that way. Alas, today, I know he ate them this way so we kids could have the milk, milk which Mum used to water down to make it go around a little better.

I remember the arguments we used to have as to who would get the little toy found within every box, a toy that many a time because of its size, ended up in one of our stomachs. Yes, even today, I cannot resist shaking the box to see if anyone has pinched the little toy inside.

So on behalf of the "Kellogg Rooster," wake up on the bright side, and start your day with a smile, the Kellogg way, the BargainBrute way, America's favorite place to shop online. Who, by the way, has an extensive range of grocery products, including good old "Corn Flakes" all ready to be shipped directly to your front door? Just follow the link below.

BargainBrute Grocery Shop with just one click

So on behalf of the Vandergraph family and every employee at, together we "Thank you for shopping with us today."

So many thanks for reading, and we will see you once again tomorrow.

Kind Regards,

Stay both safe and well



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