Saturday, August 8, 2020

Early history of oats mills in United States

Oats were first planted in the United States in 1602 by Scottish settlers on an island off the Massachusetts coast.

Pennsylvania Dutch farmers found oats useful as a livestock feed, fitting well into their general farming operation.

By 1869, the center of production had moved to the upper Mississippi Valley. Illinois became the leading State followed by Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

In 1850, Ferdinand Schumacher founded German Mills American Cereal Company in Akron, Ohio. During the same period, John Stuart established the North Star Mills Company in Canada.

In 1856, Schumacher purchased a mill along the canal in Akron. He organized his German Mills American Oatmeal Factory in Akron, Ohio. His mission was to introduce steel-cut oats to the American table at a time when oats were considered an inappropriate food for anything but horses. German and Irish immigrants were his initial customers, since they were accustomed to eating oats and unused to the high cost of American meat. Oat milling was a low-cost operation, and competitors quickly appeared as oats gained acceptance as a food.

He installed machinery that permitted his workers to produce twenty barrels of ground oats per day. Demand for his product skyrocketed during the American Civil War, as the federal government purchased the oats to feed Union soldiers.

In 1863, due to the demand for the oats, Schumacher moved his operation to Mill Street in Akron, where he established the Empire Barley Mill.

While Schumacher was taking the oatmeal market by storm, several smaller, but prosperous, oatmeal operations cropped up throughout Ohio and the Midwest. Among these were Robert Stuart in Chicago and Iowa, and Henry Parsons Crowell in Ravenna, Ohio.

Crowell managed a milling company called Quaker Oats, which was the first oatmeal manufacturer to oversee the production process from raw crop to retail distribution. Crowell was holding the key positions between the general manager, president and chairman of the company from 1888 until late 1943. He was called the cereal tycoon.
Early history of oats mills in United States

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