The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers recognized the accomplishments of W.K. Kellogg and John Kellogg by designating a site in Battle Creek, Mich., as a historic landmark honoring the development of the innovative process.
The cereal flaking process developed by the Kellogg brothers represents a milestone in the history of food engineering and continues to serve as the basis for modern cereal manufacturing processes by a variety of companies throughout the world. By being named an ASABE historic landmark, the process joins the ranks of the McCormick reaper, John Deere's steel plow, and Eli Whitney's cotton gin, which are also designated by the society as engineering landmarks.
In 1894, the Kellogg brothers were making cereal products to improve the diets of their patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, a general health facility. The original cereal was a granola product made from wheat that was boiled, rolled into a sheet, toasted, and ground into a meal. The brothers accidentally left a batch of boiled wheat stand in the water overnight before passing it through the rolls. The individual grains were pressed into flakes and toasted to form the first dry cereal flakes. The new flakes, they found, were quite tasty, and their patients agreed.
The brothers later produced the flakes in quantity and served them to their patients, supplying them by mail after patients returned home. Two years later, Will Kellogg made the first corn flakes. He founded the Battle Creek Toasted Cornflake Co. in 1906, which was renamed the Kellogg Co. in 1922.
The award ceremony was held on September 26 at the Helen Warner Branch of the Willard Library in Battle Creek. To mark the site, a plaque was permanently placed at the library.