John Harvey Kellogg and Will Keith Kellogg Turn the Tables on Breakfast Foods
(This episode is produced in 1997, for release upon the evening of January 21, 1997.)
Jack Perkins narrates this account which focuses upon the lives and careers of two of the five children of Ann Janette Stanley Kellogg and John Preston Kellogg: John Harvey "J.H." Kellogg (born 1852) and Will Keith "W.K." Kellogg (born 1860), both in Tyrone, Michigan, before the family relocates to Battle Creek, for John Preston Kellogg to establish a broom factory, at which the sons begin to work at young ages.
In 1866, the husband and wife team of James White and Ellen White open Battle Creek Sanitarium, a wellness and fitness center based upon principles practiced by their Seventh-day Adventist Church, to which J.H. Kellogg belongs for a while, but maintains a life-long practice of Vegetarianism, and abstinence from physical relations, along with a regiment of Water Therapy, Sunshine Therapy, and physical exercise.
J.H. Kellogg, attending Eastern Michigan University and New York University Medical College at Bellevue Hospital, earns his medical degree in 1875, and marries Ella Eaton, in 1879, after meeting in New York.
The Whites hire J.H. Kellogg as Battle Creek Sanitarium Medical Surgeon and Physcian upon his return to Michigan, and he quickly advances the facility from the verge of closing to become a profitable institution, thus adding two stories to the long structure, and welcoming affluent visitors from across the nation, and, subsequently, severing ties with the sect to which the Whites belong.
While the 5'4" somewhat eccentric J.H. Kellogg shows no priority for money, his brother W.K. Kellogg becomes a seasoned marketing adviser after learning salesmanship from their father's broom factory, and so J.H. hires W.K. as Battle Creek Sanitarium Business Manager, paying him $9 per week, while paying the nurses no salary except for room and board because J.H. maintains that everyone should feel more than content to work for him and this worthwhile establishment.
When shredded wheat cereal is introduced to the market by a Denver, Colorado, manufacturer, the Brothers Kellogg begin to experiment with methods to present this as more appealing to breakfast diners who consider it bland tasting at the time. Besides, some guests secretly sneak over to nearby Little Red Onion Restaurant for menu selections not available at the Sanitarium.
W.K. then accidentally creates a batch of wheat flakes during one of J.H.'s out-of-town journeys, and upon his return, the brothers begin to experiment creating flakes of wheat, rice, oats and corn.
After corn flakes catch on around the Sanitarium as a viable breakfast selection, W.K. intends to keep the formula secret, but J.H. begins to show guests the recipe process, for which one visitor, a C.W. Post, of Texas, decides to cash in, by manufacturing and marketing Grape=Nuts for the summer months and Postum drink for the winter months, thus earning $one million in a year's time.
This creates a rift between the Brothers Kellogg because J.H. maintains that no one should profit from health foods, and W.K. maintains that the Kelloggs could easily market their product, as 100 new separately-owned factories emerge in Battle Creek to cash in on cereal manufacturing because no one else outside of the community knows how to make corn flakes, and so prospective manufacturers bait employees of other factories to work for them at double the salary of their current employer, causing Battle Creek to become a boom town.
W.K. finally decides to strike out on his own in 1902, but more trouble sets in when Battle Creek Sanitarium burns to the ground, and all is lost unless W.K. agrees to assist J.H. in its rebuilding, which he does and delays plans to create his own cereal empire for another four years.
But after the Brothers Kellogg enter into separate ventures, lawsuits begin to spring forth, with differing claims as to who owns the rights to produce corn flakes and products under the Kellogg's name. While W.K. succeeds in the cereal industry, J.H. allows his patent for peanut butter to slip away.
The brothers remain estranged for most of the remainder of their lives, while J.H. remains at the Sanitarium, after adopting seven of 40 wards, before relocating to Miami, Florida, and becoming even more eccentric, while W.K.'s cereal empire prospers through the years of the Great Depression, in which he establishes four shifts of employees in order to offer Battle Creek locals employment opportunities.
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Norm Williamson Jr. (Grandson of W.K. Kellogg), Frances Thornton (Neighbor of Dr. J.H. Kellogg), Laura Davis (Assistant Corporate Secretary: W.K. Kellogg Foundation), Garth "Duff" Stolz (Curator: Health and Heritage Museum), Jim Middleton (Filmmaker/Collector), Richard Schwarz (Biographer: "John Harvey Kellogg, MD.: Pioneering Health Reformer"), Harvey Green (Author: "Fit for America: Health, Fitness, Sport and American Society"), and Scott Bruce (Co-author: "Cerealizing America").
Still Photographs include John Preston Kellogg, Ann Janette Stanley Kellogg, John Harvey Kellogg, Ella Eaton Kellogg, Will Keith Kellogg, C. W. Post, George Bernard Shaw, John D. Rockerfeller, Henry Ford, Clarence W. Barron (Wall Street Journal Publisher), and Olympian/Actor Johnny Weissmuller, as well as Battle Creek Sanitarium and Little Red Onion Restaurant.
Archive film footage includes John Harvey Kellogg, Will Keith Kellogg, Johnny Weissmuller, Zoological film, and an early Corn Flakes commercial.
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