OAT MILL and OAT MEAL
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• When Henry Parsons Crowell bought a small bankrupt oat mill for a few thousand dollars in the mid-1800s, he soon found that he had a major competitor whose name was Ferdinand Schumacher. Schumacher had a near monopoly on oats, having invented a better oat-milling device which allowed him to produce oats faster and cheaper than anyone else. He was ruthless in his business dealings and sent many other oat dealers out of business by undercutting their prices. • However, Crowell discovered that Schumacher sold oats only in 180-pound barrels, which were kept, usually without lids, in the back of stores. Crowell knew he couldn't out produce Schumacher, so he decided to compete with him by adding new features. • Crowell sold his oats in two pound packages, advertising that his re-sealable cartons kept his oats free from dirt, disease, animals, and insects. Cooking instructions were printed on the package, as well as recipes. Crowell's oats became the first food product boasting a four-color printed carton, and it was the first product to offer sample miniatures. • Crowell’s was also the first business to add another new feature: premiums, in which boxtops could be redeemed for dishes and kitchen items. Soon Crowell’s oat company was a food processing giant, and he eventually bought Schumacher out. By the time Crowell died in 1943, he was one of the wealthiest men in Chicago. • His company, whose name summons images of honesty and integrity, still sells oats in familiar round cartons. What’s the name of Crowell’s company, now one of the largest manufacturers of breakfast foods in the world with headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa? (Answer at top of next page)
"Cereal," "Bird Brains" and "Oatmeal"