Saturday, March 7, 2015

German Mills American Oatmeal

In 1850, German immigrant Ferdinand Schumacher opened a grocery store in Akron, Ohio. His major customers were German and Irish immigrants and they bought a lot of oats - which, at the time, most Anglo-Americans considered animal feed.

Demand for his product was high and in 1856, he set up the German Mills American Oatmeal Factory in Akron, Ohio. The factory produced 20 180-lb barrels of oatmeal daily with a water-powered stone mill.

Sales were brisk, particularly to cities with large immigrant populations, so Schumacher opened additional mills to meet the increasing demand. His preoccupation with oat eventually branded him ‘The Oatmeal King.’

A Schumacher employee, Asmus J. Errichsen, developed a method of producing the millstones and was the first significant modernization in oat milling.

In 1878 Schumacher imported porcelain rollers from England to manufacture rolled oats.

In the early 1860s, the Civil War was a shot of adrenalin for his venture: the government found oats to be relatively inexpensive, accessible and nourishing and order hundreds of barrels from him to fortify the Union troops.

Soon he became the largest oat miller in America.
German Mills American Oatmeal

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