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Kellogg through the years

8:49 AM, Feb 19, 2006   |    comments
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1890s 1894: W.K. Kellogg and his brother, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, invent ready-to-eat cereal flakes in the Battle Creek Sanitarium, John Harvey's famous health spa. 1900s 1906: W.K. Kellogg opens the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Co. on Bartlett Street near the Grand Trunk depot. It makes Kellogg's Toasted Corn Flakes, the first product of what would become the Kellogg Co. The plant could produce 1,600 cereal cases a day and employed up to 150 workers. 1907: The plant burns to the ground in a mysterious fire. Within a month, ground is broken on a new plant on Porter and Stiles streets. It is in operation by 1908. 1910s 1912: Tours for first-time visitors of the Battle Creek plant were made available from 9-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. 1914: The Waxtite brand package, one of Kellogg's most significant innovations, is developed. The outer wrapping of paraffin paper is sealed with heated irons and makes packages moisture-proof. 1920s 1922: W.K. Kellogg prevails over his brother's lawsuit, and Kellogg Co. becomes the company's official name. 1923: Kellogg buys and absorbs the Quaker Oats Co. plant on Porter between Spencer and Stiles. 1924: Kellogg opens its first plants outside of Battle Creek in London, Ontario, and Sydney, Australia expanding the company around the world. (Today Kellogg products are manufactured in 20 countries on six continents.) 1927: A nursery is in operation at the plant for the children of female workers. 1928: As airmail service grew in importance. W.K. Kellogg decided to build an airport for Battle Creek. He acquired Wells Farm just west of the city for $30,000, where the first airfield was constructed. With the assistance of Kellogg Co. executives Eugene H. McKay, Earle J. Freeman and Rudolph Habermann, an association was formed to manage the W. K. Kellogg Airport. 1930s 1930: Kellogg introduces six-hour shifts to keep more people employed during the Great Depression. The W. K. Kellogg Foundation is founded. 1936: Two local buildings are enlarged to keep up with the high demand for cereal. 1938: Vitamin fortification of cereals begins. 1939: W.K. Kellogg retires and is replaced by Watson H. Vanderploeg. 1940s 1942: Plant begins packaging K-rations for World War II soldiers, an effort continuing to 1945. Its machine shop also makes parts for guns and mine sweepers as well as mysterious parts which in 1946 company officials learned were used on the atomic bomb project. 1943: Plant in Omaha, Neb., opens. 1944: W.K. Kellogg establishes a trust fund to help 25-year employees and their families during financial emergencies. 1950s Oct. 6, 1951: W.K. Kellogg dies at age 91. His body lay in state for three days in the main lobby of the company office building so that hundreds of workers and Battle Creek residents could pay their respects. 1952: Plant in San Leandro, Calif., opens. 1952: Kellogg's Frosted Flakes introduced, as is Tony the Tiger. 1954: A two-year, $7 million plant expansion begins. A five-story south addition expands the plant by 140,000 square feet and requires moving Porter Street 23 feet southeast. 1956: Warehouse sprawling over 4 acres opens at Raymond Road and Porter Street. It will store raw materials such as sugar, rice, bran, raisins, malt syrup and large rolls of paper and will be used as a shipping point for Kellogg's Corn Flakes. 1957: Lyle C. Roll replaces Vanderploeg as president and general manager of Kellogg Co. 1959: Plant in Memphis, Tenn., opens. 1960s 1967: Expansion plans announced for Kellogg's packaging materials plant, which prints cereal boxes. 1970s 1972: Joseph E. Lonning replaces Roll as Kellogg's chief executive officer. 1976: Kellogg acquires Mrs. Smith's Pie Company and renames it Mrs. Smith's Frozen Foods Co. 1978: Lancaster, Pa., plant opens. 1979: William E. LaMothe replaces Lonning as chairman and CEO. 1980s 1981: As part of Kellogg's 75th anniversary, a historical state marker is dedicated and the Porter Street complex joins the State Register of Historic Sites. 1982: Kellogg dropped a bombshell in May when it unveiled a plan that asked the residents of the City of Battle Creek and Battle Creek Township, the city's largest and wealthiest suburb, to merge. Kellogg hoped that the combination of the two communities would create a stronger entity and spark industrial and commercial development. In exchange for approving the merger, Kellogg promised to build a new $30 million headquarters facility in the downtown area. Kellogg pledged to provide $1.6 million for the city's economic development fund, while other companies would pledge $4 million if voters approved the merger. In November, city voters approved the merger by a vote of 9,524 to 816, while voters in the township endorsed the measure by 6,857 to 3,804. On Jan. 1, 1983, the city of Battle Creek with 35,724 residents annexed Battle Creek Township with its population of 20,589. 1984: Kellogg production workers agree to eliminate six-hour shifts, cutting 156 jobs shortly thereafter and a total of 500 in the following years, in return for Kellogg's commitment to modernize the plant. 1985: Kellogg announces "Project 100," a $500 million improvement at Porter Street that will be Kellogg's largest single capital investment ever. 1986: Company administrative offices move from Porter Street to an $80 million world headquarters built downtown. 1986: Popular 50-minute tours of the South Plant end because of the modernization projects. 1988: Production begins in Building 100. 1989: Kellogg decides to shut down its in-house printing operation, the Kapaco Division, and transfer the work to outside contractors. Kapaco's 80 carton and container workers are moved into cereal-making jobs. 1990s 1992: Arnold G. Langbo replaces LaMothe as Chairman and CEO. 1994: Kellogg establishes a convenience foods division. 1995: After first cutting about 100 salaried jobs locally, Kellogg announces it will close its San Leandro, Calif., plant and eliminate 1,263 production jobs companywide, including 745 in Battle Creek. Eventually the local cuts fell to 685, of which 56 people were involuntarily terminated. 1996: Kellogg will spend $60 million to replace corn flake equipment in Building 1, the original building at the Porter Street site. With the improvements, the plant will produce a fourth of the company's global corn flake supply. 1997: Kellogg closes three of its seven European plants. In Battle Creek it opens the $75 million W.K. Kellogg Institute for Food and Nutrition Research. 1998: Kellogg's Cereal City USA, a museum chronicling the cereal industry in Battle Creek, opens in the downtown. 1998: Kellogg cuts 765 white-collar jobs, nearly 480 of them in Battle Creek, to save $105 million annually and become a more "focused, results-oriented" company. April 1999: Carlos M. Gutierrez replaces Langbo as CEO. June 1999: Kellogg announces it is considering closing the south operations of the Battle Creek plant, eliminating up to 700 jobs and saving $35 million to $45 million a year. Building 100 will remain in operation, employing about 400. Oct. 1, 1999: Kellogg reaches an agreement to acquire Worthington Foods, Inc. for $307 million. Worthington was the world's largest company devoted solely to making and selling vegetarian and other healthful foods. Oct. 29, 1999: Cereal production ends at South Plant after 91 years. 2000s 2000: Kellogg sells the Lender's business to Aurora Foods; company purchases Kashi for $32 million. October 2000: Kellogg announces it bought Keebler Foods Co. for $3.8 billion plus assumbed debt. 2001: Since Keebler skipped warehousing products and instead shipped them directly from factories into retail stores, it improved product freshness and reduced inventory. Kellogg moved its convenience foods, such as Rice Krispies Treats and Nutri-Grain Bars, into the Keebler system. 2001: A cross-promotion deal was signed between Kellogg and The Walt Disney Co. that resulted in the release of special premiums and made Kellogg the official breakfast sponsor at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris. 2003: Keebler's product innovation group was moved to Battle Creek and was assigned to the newly created Snacking Division. May 2004: Kellogg announces it will move the corporate offices of Keebler's snack division, which formerly were Keebler's corporate headquarters, to Battle Creek. The move brings at least 300 jobs to Battle Creek and solidifies that Kellogg's corporate offices will remain in the Cereal City. November 2004: President George W. Bush nominates Gutierrez to become Commerce secretary, and Kellogg board appoints James M. Jenness as the new chairman and CEO. January 2006: The company reports that net earnings in 2005 totaled $980.4 million, up 10 percent from 2004. Jenness said it was the company's fourth year in a row of exceeding its targets for sales growth and delivering earnings-per-share growth in double-digit percentages.

Battle Creek Enquirer

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