Monday, September 14, 2020

Ferdinand Schumacher: The king of Oatmeal

Ferdinand Schumacher (1822–1908) was born in Celle, Hanover, Germany. He came to Akron in 1851 and there he started a small grocery on Howard Street. Ferdinand did not like to see his customers buying such deluxe and fancy foods. He thought it was a little sinful. Back in Germany in the grocery business, he used to sell a lot of oats, good solid grain that grew good solid people, and cost very little. America ought to be eating it. So, he put in a stock. German and Irish immigrants were his initial customers, since they were accustomed to eating oats and unused to the high cost of American meat.

The Quaker Oats Company traces its history back to 1854 when Ferdinand Schumacher built his first hand-operated mill in Akron. 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.

He perfected two revolutionary milling processes—steel cut oats and rolled oats—and popularized the new breakfast product "oatmeal". During the Civil War, Quaker Oats' popularity mushroomed because of its ease of preparation on the battlefield.

By 1886 Ferdinand Schumacher was known as, “the king of Oatmeal”. He brought the world the cereal, “shoot form guns”, a process done only at the Akron plant.  Through various mergers and acquisitions, Schumacher's company became the "Quaker Oats" Company and the Akron headquarters continued to grow through the 1940's. For a number of years before the turn-of-the-century, Quaker Oats was the biggest industry and the largest single employer of the City.
Ferdinand Schumacher: The king of Oatmeal

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