How were corn flakes invented?« Back to Questions List

Corn flakes, or cornflakes, are a popular breakfast cereal.  Maize or corn is a large grain plant. It is believed that the plant was first domesticated in south Mexico.  Corn flakes are produced by toasting flakes of corn, the produce of the plant.

Inventions have made our lives secure, easier, faster and comfortable.  Behind each invention there is a thrilling story, story of hard work and long researches. While majority of inventions took life-time researches and went unrewarded, some happened accidentally. Such inventions were not sought for at all, just happened.

Invention of corn flakes was the result of the efforts of a doctor and his younger brother to find out a suitable vegetarian food for patients. The doctor had a health clinic in Battle Creek, Michigan, U.S.A.  The patients stayed there and took treatment. The treatment was around nature cure. The participants had to stay in the open air, do plenty of exercises and relax. They had to follow a strict diet control. Fish and meat were forbidden. They were allowed only vegetarian food. With the help of his brother Will, doctor was trying to find out a tasty vegetarian recipe to satisfy his patients who were finding it too hard to give up fish and meat dishes.  The research centre was the kitchen attached to their clinic. The doctor was Dr. John Harvey Kellog. 

Corn flakes, conflakes, corn, Kellog, toast, Dr. John Harvey Kellog, clinic, vegetarian food, invention

The brothers conducted their research by boiling, mashing, roasting and baking grains and nuts. Their efforts went on for weeks without yielding any results. They were not ready to give up. 

One day while boiling yet another batch of grains, they had to leave to face some urgent matters. The pot was left on the stove to cool. They could return only after two days. By the time, the over-boiled mush had started to dry and go mouldy. Instead of discarding the same, they continued their efforts by  passing the dried dough through rollers to flatten it. The result was amazing. Each grain formed a separate flake and tasted delicious. That evening in 1894 witnessed the invention of corn flakes. 

While the doctor was happy about the healthy and tasty food for his patients, his brother identified a business opportunity in it. He bought the share of doctor too, took patent in 1896 and built up a huge business, the famous Kellog’s corn flakes. It is one of the most popular breakfast cereal brand across the world. The invention really revolutionized the breakfast habits of the world. 

5 Great ideas:Inventions and discoveries of recent origin

5 Great ideas:Inventions and discoveries of great impact