Postum - Definition and History

Postum is a substitute to coffee. Postum furnishes a delicious beverage, pure in food value, with a deep, rich brown color, which is quickly changed to a golden brown by the addition of a little cream, and with a crisp coffee flavor satisfying both palate and nerves.

The Postum business had its beginning January 1, 1895, in a little white barn belonging to C. W. Post, in Battle Creek, Mich. His grounds at that time consisted of about 10 acres. Since that time, great buildings have sprung up all around the little barn, a dozen or more in all, covering the ten acres. The uniform coloring of white has earned for the plant the sobriquet of  “ The White City." On the side of the little barn is painted: "Started here Jan. 1st, 1895" - and as long as the plant remains, the little barn will stand as the birthplace of Postum. Well kept, terraced lawns, with plenty of shade trees, flower beds and other specimens of the landscape gardener's art, surround the office and factory buildings, the verdure making a pleasing contrast with the white of the buildings.

It seems that Mr. Post, during his studies in medicine and general therapeutics, gave special attention to nervous disorders and dietetics. The unusual number of people affected by coffee drinking attracted attention, and in collaboration with an analytical chemist, he conducted a series of experiments looking towards a healthful coffee to be made of nourishing grains that would have a good snappy flavor and satisfying the user's palate, would feed and rebuild the nerve centers broken down by coffee or other stimulants and narcotics.

Literally, hundreds of experiments resulted in failure, and upwards of a year was consumed before the method of preparing and blending the different parts of wheat produced the desired result. Now please attend to the exact facts, which a journey through the works will make plain.

In the first place, not one grain of article of coffee or any other substance whatsoever enters Postum, except choice wheat and about 10 percent of pure New Orleans molasses. No chemicals whatsoever are used.
But, just to brown wheat and mix in some molasses will not make Postum.
First, part of the wheat is coarsely hulled, and the part sticking to the hulls contains certain things nature uses for rebuilding purposes, Potash, Lime, Iron, etc., etc., also the dormant element known as Diastase, most important in the transformation of the starch part of wheat. Now, this coarse part of the wheat is moistened, subjected to slow heat, mixed with the molasses and the Diastase developed. Then, entire wheat berries are carefully browned and ground, and the two parts of the wheat are blended in certain proportions that supply just the food elements and flavor desired.  That is Postum, pure and simple.

But remember, Postum does not acquire the coffee snap nor are the food elements released, except under a rather long boiling.  Long enough on the stove to come to a boil, then full 15 minutes more. Use enough in the pot, and you may be sure of a fascinating beverage, a flavor all its own, and a sure relief from the many ails of coffee.

It is easy for a person to be rid of the coffee habit when well-brewed Postum is served, and the change in health is well worth observation.
All wheat used in Postum is roasted, ground and blended in this room.

The roasted wheat used in Postum is conveyed from the roasters to these cooling pans.  Exhaust fans draw the heat and smoke up through stack; the cooled wheat is then dumped into a hopper and conveyed to the grinders.


These machines automatically make the Postum paper cartons, or boxes, each machine forming 1,200 cartons per hour. The finished carton leaves the machine and passes down a conveyor to the floor below, where it drops on a traveling belt that carries it to an automatic filling machine, which weighs and fills each package ; this same belt then conveys the package to another automatic sealing machine, which seals the top of the paper carton.

P 17
In the farther end of this room are the automatic sealing and filling machines. The man at the right is working the automatic nailing machine, which at two strokes drives all the nails in the lid of the wooden shipping box. The interior of each room is painted white and kept immaculately clean.


From :   Leslie's The People's Weekly 1912 July

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