Children Enjoy Kellogg's Toasted Corn Flakes
Image Dimensions: 30.9 x 27.7 cm
Support Dimensions: none
Corn Flakes, the ever-popular breakfast cereal created by Michigan medical doctor John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will Keith Kellogg in 1894, (patented 1896) was first known as Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes after finding a mass audience. The company that produced it, according to Wikipedia, came to be known as the Kellogg Company in 1922 after first starting out in 1906 as the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company. (founded by Will Kellogg)
The mass popularity of the cereal was promoted with great success after 1906 by the copious use of illustrative art in magazine advertisements by American illustrators that included James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960) and Henry Hutt, (1875-1950) among many others. Soon, the use of photography by Kellogg’s, with staged genre scenes of young children, became more prevalent in national print advertisements starting around 1910. In a 1913 ad titled Burglars!, a photograph of a little boy in his pajamas shows him holding onto his much bigger sister from behind as she steadies a candle while clutching a box of Toasted Corn Flakes as they both venture into the darkness. The following year,”Oh Mamma!” appeared, which showed the glee on a young girl’s face as she accepts a bowl of Toasted Corn Flakes from her mother at the breakfast table.
A rare surviving example of a Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes advertising photograph done in the pictorialist style of shallow focus- it shows two child models at an outdoor breakfast table, and was purchased by this archive in 2017 from a seller in Kimberly, WI. Unfortunately, this oversized bromide photograph contains no written clues on the work to determine exact age. However, an intriguing clue is hidden in plain site: revealing the photograph to have been taken sometime between 1916-1920.
The clue is this: as the little girl scoops a handful of the cereal from the box for her anxious breakfast mate, a paper liner can be seen protruding from the inside of the opened box top. These protective liners “were added a few years later” according to the company- later being around 1916, after the 1914 Kellogg’s innovation known as Waxtite™ encased Kellogg’s cereal boxes in “a thick, smooth envelope of paraffin (waxed paper)” for customer’s peace of mind and to keep the cereal fresh before the box was opened. Since 1920 is the date Toasted Corn Flakes became “Kellogg’s Corn Flakes” on the company packaging, it would seem fair the photo dates to no later than 1920.
print condition: a few closed marginal tears; creasing and small stains: title of work assigned by this archive