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How Kellogg's Corn Flakes Became the Accidental Cereal

Updated on January 3, 2012

The Kellogg Brothers and Battle Creek's Sanitarium

We've all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But as you eat your breakfast cereal in the morning, you've probably never stopped to think that the bowl of corn flakes that you may be eating almost never was. As a proud Michigander and a history buff, the story of how corn flakes came to be has always been one that has fascinated me. The founder of Kellogg Cereal, W.M. Kellogg and his brother, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, ran a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan back in the late 1800s. Dr. Kellogg was extraordinarily health conscious for his day. He was a strict vegetarian and believed that anything that was not natural should not be consumed. It is quite interesting that the ideas that he professed in the late 1800’s are the same that health experts are touting today: daily exercise, whole grains, no smoking, no caffeine, no alcoholic drinks and to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis. He founded the sanitarium for the elite of his day to promote a healthy lifestyle. People from all over would come to his center for relaxation and rejuvenation but more importantly, to learn how live a healthier life. Mary Todd Lincoln and Sojouner Truth were among the guests that practiced the good health principles of Dr. Kellogg.

The History of Corn Flakes

So what does all of this have to do with corn flakes? Well, being so very health conscious, Dr. Kellogg wanted to feed his clients the best possible food available. Since it was important to him that his guests eat high quality foods, he and his brother made food on the premises. While cooking wheat one day, the brothers had to step away to attend to important business matters and left the wheat out. Later they came back to find that it had become stale. Instead of just throwing it out, they decided to try to roll it out into dough and continue to create the food. To their surprise it did not roll out into dough but began to flake into pieces. They toasted these flakes and served them to their guests. It was a hit with the clients and at that point they tried the same process with other types of grains. Not only was a tasty food created for the patients at The Battle Creek Sanitarium, but unbeknownst to the brothers, a whole new industry had been created. Little did they know that this discovery would revolutionize the way people would now eat breakfast. In 1906, Kellogg's Corn Flakes as we know it today, was created when W.M. Kellogg decided to start his own company and mass produced the breakfast cereal making breakfast a now quick "on the go" type of meal.


Kellogg Company Today

Battle Creek, Michigan is dubbed the “Cereal City, USA.” In the early days the general public was able to tour the factory. There were paper hats that were given out for the people to wear and served as souvenirs at the end of the tour. In 1986, the company stopped giving tours claiming that it was for both security and sanitary reasons. In response to the closing of the factory tours, a museum, Cereal City, USA was created in 1998. The museum simulated the cereal making process, souvenir shops, and play area for kids. Unfortunately the museum closed in 2007 leaving cereal enthusiasts no place to tour. The Kellogg Company is a huge corporation today which operates under many brand names from Sunshine to Keebler to Morning Star and even Kashi. Their products span from the original health conscious fare such as cereals and veggie burgers to much more consumer driven food such as snack cookies and crackers that are far from the mission of the sanitarium in which the company evolved from. So the next time that you sit down and eat a bowl of Kellogg's Corn Flakes, think about the long history of the bowl of toasted flakes that sits before you.

Useless Kellogg Trivia

  • The rooster’s name on the box of Corn Flakes is Cornelius, Corny for short.
  • One ad campaign gave a box of cereal free to each woman that winked at her grocer.
  • The movie The Road to Wellville is loosely based on the sanatorium that the Kelloggs ran in Battle Creek.
  • Kellogg was the first company to advertise on a billboard in Times Square, New York
  • 128 billion bowls of corn flakes are eaten world wide annually.
  • There are approximately 299 rice krispies in a rice krispie treat.
  • Kellogg's Corn Flakes was the originator of the cereal box prizes with the Funny Jungleland Moving Picture Book in the early 1900s.



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    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I enjoy trivia. And I never knew this about Kellogg's cornflakes. I found that very interesting, and your additional list of trivia at the end was a nice touch.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Me too Stehpanie! I'm glad you enjoyed it, it was a fun one to research. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      I love history of food. It's so interesting how certain favorite foods came to be. I'll probably never eat cornflakes again without imagining some guys with rolling pins rolling out those little flakes. :) Thanks for a fun hub!

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Glad you enjoyed it Rose! It was a fun one to write. :)

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 6 years ago

      Love it! It's always interesting when something is "accidently" discovered. Nice hub.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Glad you enjoyed it Top-Banana, thanks for commenting.

    • top-bannana profile image

      top-bannana 6 years ago from England

      Never thought it'd really want to know the story of Kelloggs corn flakes, but after reading actually found it quite fascinating. Thank you for sharing this with us. I love finding out new things and this is one i enjoyed finding out.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      It is fun to learn how different things came about. Thanks for stopping by and commenting celeBrity.

    • celeBritys4africA profile image

      celeBritys4africA 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I was interested to find the history of corn flakes...great hub!

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks TreasuresofHeaven for reading and commenting. I wish that I would have had an opportunity to tour the museum, how cool!

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 6 years ago from Michigan

      Very unique hub. Hi cardelean, you did a great job on this Hub. My children toured the Kelloge museum when it was open.

      I'm of fan of your family here on HubPages!

    • speedbird profile image

      speedbird 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Great hub on Corn Flakes, voted up and rated AWESOME

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      You aer right, great minds do think alike! I will be sure to check out your Kellogg hub. As for the brick hub, I'm not sure which one your are referring to, I have not written any hubs on bricks but thanks for the idea! :)

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      The old saying is that great minds think alike. I too wrote a hub about Kellogg. I see you also have a hub about bricks which I wrote about as well. It is interesting that a dozen writers can take the same subject and come up with something different.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Sinea Pies: I know who would have thought! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Cara-just to let you know that Rosie has tied all of the hubmob hubs together in one of her hubs where this and the yo yo hub are featured once more. Check it out on the forum thread. :)

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      To come up with such a great invention accidentally! I wonder how many other highly successful, every day items were born that way. What a great hub.

    • gypsumgirl profile image

      gypsumgirl 6 years ago from Vail Valley, Colorado

      What an interesting topic! I bet it was fun to research! I really enjoyed your hub and learned a great deal at the same time. Thank you!

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Thanks for bring my knowledge on the history of corn flakes. i will read it out to my sister.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

      What a great, fun hub to remember when I am tucking into my crunchy nut corn flakes... or my Kellog's frosties.. two of my fav flakes. This is an inspired compilation, well done!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Cornflakes great hub cardelean! Something I would never have thought about before.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks so much! I'm thrilled to have all of this great info. I'm off in the summers so I'm always looking for fun things to do with my kids. We just may have to take a little road trip at the end of June! :)

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Yeppers!! I love Michigan!! I've been all over this great country of ours, lived in Florida and Missouri but always come home to Michigan. Those other places are great to visit, but I sure did miss 'home'.

      My son never misses the Breakfast table! So of course I had to call him, it's at the end of June. It is FREE too!! You can eat as much cereal, juice, milk and if they are introducing a new product that is brought out too! Of course there are things like rides, rock climbing etc.. It usually comes before the International Balloon Festival. Here is the link to the 'happenings' in Battle Creek... It's the Chamber of Commerce and they update their site often! If you get the chance come during 'The Taste of Battle Creek' too! For a nominal fee you get to try all sorts of foods!

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Hope you enjoyed your history this morning attempted humor!

      Sweetsusieg, I didn't know that you are a fellow Michigander. You are right there is great history in Battle Creek and all over Michigan, I love learning about it and sharing with my students and my own children. That is SO cool about the breakfast table. When do they do this? Thanks for adding that great piece of info!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Since I lived in Battle Creek for 8 years and now live on the outskirts of it, of course I HAD to read!! So much History to be had in Battle Creek!! Once a year the city hosts "The World's Longest Breakfast Table". Everyone is welcome to come join in and eat!

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      I'll be tucking into a bowl of history in the morning.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks everyone for the commments. As always, your kind comments encourage me to keep on writing!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I voted it up also, for its history. Many unknown facts for me. I'm glad to see that you got it done! Yeah. Sending it off to facebook.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Fun Hub!

      Up and useful!

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      for pure unadulterated junky sugary cereal, Frosted Flakes is at the top of my list! Fortunately for me, I eat it maybe once every couple years.

      Enjoyed the hub. I voted it up and useful

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      Your hub is an interesting history of corn flakes.