Corn flakes

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Corn flakes
Cornflakes in bowl.jpg
Corn flakes
Place of origin United States
Region or state Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan
Creator Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1894)
W.K. Kellogg
Main ingredients Milled corn, sugar, malt flavoring, high fructose corn syrup
Variations multiple
Cookbook: Corn flakes  Media: Corn flakes

Corn flakes are a popular breakfast cereal originally manufactured by Kellogg's through the treatment of corn. A patent for the product was filed on May 31, 1895, and issued on April 14, 1896.[1]


Advertisement for Kellogg's Toasted Corn Flakes from the July 21, 1910 issue of Life magazine.

The accidental legacy of corn flakes goes back to the late 19th century, when a team of Seventh-day Adventists began to develop new food to adhere to the vegetarian diet recommended by the church. Members of the group experimented with a number of different grains, including wheat, oats, rice, barley, and corn. In 1894, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the superintendent of The Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan and an Adventist, used these recipes as part of a strict vegetarian regimen for his patients, which also included no alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine. The diet he imposed consisted entirely of bland foods. A follower of Sylvester Graham, the inventor of graham crackers and graham bread, Kellogg believed that spicy or sweet foods would increase passions.[2]

This idea for corn flakes began by accident when Kellogg and his younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg, left some cooked wheat to sit while they attended to some pressing matters at the sanitarium. When they returned, they found that the wheat had gone stale, but being on a strict budget, so they decided to continue to process it by forcing it through rollers, hoping to obtain long sheets of the dough. To their surprise, what they found instead were flakes, which they toasted and served to their patients. This event occurred on August 8, 1894, and a patent for "Flaked Cereals and Process of Preparing Same" was filed on May 31, 1895, and issued on April 14, 1896.[1][3][4]

A newspaper advertisement for Kellogg's Toasted Corn Flakes in 1919.

Dr. Kellogg introduced Kellogg Corn Flakes in hopes that it would reduce masturbation.[5] In fact, Kellogg devoted much of his energy to discouraging sexual activity of any kind, and was an especially ardent critic of masturbation, which he believed could cause "cancer of the womb, urinary diseases, nocturnal emissions, impotence, epilepsy, insanity, and mental and physical debility" as well as "dimness of vision" and moral corruption.[6]

The flakes of grain, which the Kelloggs called granose, were a very popular food among the patients. The brothers then experimented with other flakes from other grains. In 1906, Will Keith Kellogg, who served as the business manager of the sanitarium, decided to try to mass-market the new food. At his new company, Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, he added sugar to the flakes to make them more palatable to a mass audience, but this caused a rift between his brother and him. In 1907, his same company ran an ad campaign which offered a free box of cereal to any woman who winked at her grocer.[7]To increase sales, in 1909, he added a special offer, the Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures Booklet, which was made available to anyone who bought two boxes of the cereal. This same premium was offered for 22 years. At the same time, Kellogg also began experimenting with new grain cereals to expand his product line. Rice Krispies, his next great hit, first went on sale in 1928.[8]

There have been many mascots of Kellogg's Cornflakes. The most popular one is a green rooster named Cornelius (Corny) Rooster, which has been the mascot since his debut. In earlier commercials, he had a speaking part and his catch phrase was "Wake up, up, up to Kellogg's Cornflakes!" He was voiced by Dallas McKennon and Andy Devine. Later, he stopped talking and simply crowed.[citation needed] The concept of using a stylized cockerel originated in a suggestion by Kellogg family friend Nansi Richards, a harpist from Wales and a Welsh language proponent. The Welsh word for cockerel is ceiliog (pronounced Keyeleeog or in some dialects keelog).[9][10]


Corn flakes are produced in significant quantities at the Trafford Park factory in Manchester, England, which is also the largest cereal factory in the world.[11]

Cereals derived from corn flakes[edit]

A former patient of the Battle Creek Sanitarium named C. W. Post started a rival company, as well as the major other brand of corn flakes in the United States, called Post Toasties. Australia's Sanitarium also manufactures their own brand of corn flakes called Skippy corn flakes. Many generic brands of corn flakes are produced by various manufacturers. In addition, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda Co-operative, etc. have brought out similar products based on cornflakes. A variety of corn flakes that is sold in the United Kingdom is one where honey and nuts have been added to the corn flakes – this is known colloquially as "honey nut corn flakes", and as Crunchy Nut under the Kelloggs brand name.

Corn flakes in cooking[edit]

A wide variety of different recipes for dishes involving corn flakes exist. Crushed corn flakes can substitute for bread crumbs.

Honey joys are a popular party snack in Australia; honey joys are made by mixing corn flakes with honey, butter and sugar and baking in patty cases, or muffin cups.[12] A variant popular in the UK is chocolate corn flake cakes, made with corn flakes, dark chocolate, golden syrup and butter.[13]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b John Harvey Kellogg, U.S. Patent no. 558,393, Flaked Cereals and Process of Preparing Same, filed May 31, 1895, issued April 14, 1896.
  2. ^ "Dr. John Harvey Kellogg". Archived from the original on July 12, 2007. 
  3. ^ "News of the Odd, John Harvey Kellogg Serves Corn Flakes at the San (March 7, 1897)". 
  4. ^ "Inventor of the Week: W.K Kellogg". 
  5. ^ "What do cornflakes and masturbation have in common?...". Daily Mail. 
  6. ^ "The Guy Who Invented Corn Flakes Was A Strange, Strange Man". Mental Floss. Retrieved 2015-08-06. 
  7. ^ "Food Facts and Trivia: Corn Flakes". Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "100 Years of Cornflakes" (PDF). 
  9. ^ "Why is there a Cockerel on the Kellog's Box (sic)". BBC Wales - History. BBC. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ Davies, Glyn. "Putting the 'Ceiliog' in Corn Flakes". A view from Rural Wales. Glyn Davies (Welsh Member of Parliament). Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Kellogg's Fast Facts". Kellogg's. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Honey joy recipe". Kelloggs. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Chocolate cornflake cakes recipe". BBC. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "NESTLÉ BUTTERFINGER Pieces 6x1.36kg". Nestlé Professional. Nestlé. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Cornflakes at Wikimedia Commons