|This article is outdated. (July 2013)|
|Founded||St. Louis, Missouri 1894|
|Headquarters||Gray Summit, Missouri,
|Area served||United States|
|Key people||William H. Danforth, Founder|
|Products||livestock food, animal health products|
|Owner(s)||Land O’ Lakes|
Purina traces its roots back to 1894, when founder William H. Danforth began producing feed for various farm animals under the name Purina Mills. The predominant brand for each animal was generally referred to as “Chow”; hence there was “Purina Horse Chow”, “Purina Dog Chow”, “Purina Cat Chow”, “Purina Rabbit Chow”, “Purina Pig Chow”, and even “Purina Monkey Chow”. Later, in 1902, he merged with university professor Webster Edgerly, founder of Ralstonism, who was at the time producing breakfast cereals, to form the “Ralston-Purina Company”.
Ralston Purina sold Purina Mills, the U.S. animal feed business, to British Petroleum in 1986, while retaining the pet food and international animal feed businesses. In 1993, the Sterling Group of Houston led a leveraged buyout of Purina Mills. In 1998, it was purchased by Koch Industries, but a U.S. bankruptcy court cancelled out all equity held by Koch to maintain the company’s viability. Purina Mills was purchased by Land O'Lakes in 2001.
Purina Mills licenses the Purina and Chow Brands for the United States and its territories (including Puerto Rico) from the successor of the Ralston Purina Company and owner of the trademarks, Nestlé Purina PetCare.
Ralston Purina was famed for its “checkerboard” trademark. The inspiration for the Ralston Purina logo came from a family from founder William Danforth’s childhood who dressed in checkerboard cloth. The checkerboard trademark, intended to make their burlap bags of feed stand out from competitors, was introduced in 1904. Ralston Purina’s headquarters was called Checkerboard Square. At one point, Ralston Purina owned an interest in the St. Louis Blues National Hockey League team; during this period, the arena they then used was referred to as the “Checkerdome”.
The checkerboard logo then evolved into a personal development concept Danforth put forth in his book I Dare You, in which he proposed that four key components in life ("Physical," "Mental," "Social," and "Religious") need to be in balance, and one area was not to develop at expense of the other. The concept became intertwined with the company in 1921, when it began selling feed that was pressed in cubes called “checkers”.
- Carman, Tim (2009-04-16), "Food History Potpourri: Ralston Purina’s D.C. Roots", Washington City Paper, retrieved 2009-10-19
- History of Purina Mills, Inc.
- "A Glimpse from the Past to the Present". Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- Danforth, William. I Dare You!. Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 0-7661-2786-9.
- "William H. Danforth, Founder". Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland. Retrieved 2009-10-19.[dead link]