1917 Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice Advertisement

Source: Ladies Home Journal (February, 1917)

I have vague childhood memories of people telling me that Puffed Rice was good for me because it was made by shooting the rice grains from a cannon – though I was clueless as to why shooting the grain made it more nutritious. Well, now I know; it’s easier to digest. The cannon (or gun) promotion for Puffed Rice has been around for a long time. I found this ad in a hundred-year-old magazine.

28 thoughts on “1917 Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice Advertisement

  1. When my son was small, he wanted to have a go at making Rice Krispies, as we call puffed rice. We decided that it would work on the same principle as pop corn. But it doesn’t, as far as we could tell from our experiments. So he wrote to Kellog’s in his 6 year old handwriting and got a very po-faced letter back basically saying it was a state secret, and they couldn’t possibly say. Did they think he was going to set up a rival company?

    1. Good grief – you’d think they’d enjoy sharing the basics of how they puffed the rice. Like you, I would have guessed that it would work similarly to how pop corm is popped. I wonder if the rice has to have just the right amount of moisture to make it pop.

  2. This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever read about cereal. It brought a smile to my day! Thanks so much. 😀

  3. We had the puffed cereals when I was a child. I wouldn’t eat them now, preferring to have whole grains that you really chew and that might race through your digestive tract without raising blood sugar by much. I wonder if the process is more like popping corn than anything else. I enjoyed reading the ad. Thanks for posting it.

    1. I had similar thoughts. A hundred years ago they worried a lot about how easy a food was to digest – and a food was considered better if it was easily digestible which often meant that it had little fiber. Today we have a better understanding of the characteristics of nutritious food.

    1. Somehow I’m guessing that the manufacturing methods (as well as the beliefs about the nutritional benefits) have changed across the years. 🙂

  4. I don’t remember ever hearing about the cannons, but I certainly do remember the cereals. Puffed wheat was my favorite, except for Rice Krispies, which made their way into cookies. I did like the coated puffed wheat, which was called Sugar Puffs. Back in 2014, they cut the amount of sugar in the cereal and changed it’s name: sort of like Chem-Lawn turning into Tru-Green. 🙂

    1. I love the analogy. I also liked Sugar Puffs when I was a kid, and hadn’t realized that the name was changed. Even though there’s no way I’d eat Sugar Puffs today, it feels a little sad that a childhood staple has changed.

    1. Yes, I think that it’s best if food breaks down more slowly in your system – but that’s not where they were at a hundred years ago. Back then a lot of research was being done on which foods were digested the most rapidly – and foods were considered better if they were easily digestible.

  5. I saw a funny article about old advertisements that promoted various products as “healthy” that are definitely not healthy and it made me think of you. The funniest one was for butter, suggesting that you should eat as much butter as you can because butter is slippery therefore it will help keep your veins and arteries clear. 😂

    1. When I browse through hundred-year-old magazines, I’m often surprised by how many companies that advertised back then still exist.

  6. I’d never heard about the shooting before! But I do agree that most cereal is like eating air. Great for an evening snack but not enough sustenance for breakfast.

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