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Weird Facts about
Quaker Oats®

  • In 1887, Henry D. Seymour, one of the founders of a new American oatmeal milling company, purportedly came across an article on the Quakers in an encyclopedia and was struck by the similarity between the religious group's qualities and the image he desired for oatmeal. A second story contends that Seymour's partner, William Heston, an ancestor of Quakers, was walking in Cincinnati one day and saw a picture of William Penn, the English Quaker, and was similarly struck by the parallels in quality.
  • Oatmeal's popularity as a breakfast food soared when Ferdinand Schumacher, a German immigrant running a grocery store in Akron, Ohio, prepared oatmeal in such a way as to reduce cooking time, packing his prepared oatmeal in convenient glass jars. Schumacher's success inspired the launch of dozens of other oatmeal companies, including the Quaker Mill Company, founded in 1877 in Ravena, Ohio.
  • Merchants originally bought oatmeal in nondescript barrels, selling it to customers by scooping it into brown paper bags. In 1880, Henry Crowell, president of the American Cereal Company, visualized the advantages of selling packaged products directly to consumers, packaging Quaker brand oatmeal in the now famous cardboard canister and launching an advertising campaign.
  • The name Quaker Oats inspired several law suits. The Quakers themselves unsuccessfully petitioned the United States Congress to bar trademarks with religious connotations.
  • Explorer Robert Peary carried Quaker Oats to the North Pole, and explorer Admiral Richard Byrd carried Quaker Oats to the South Pole.
  • A gigantic likeness of the Quaker Oats man was placed on the White Cliffs of Dover in England, requiring an act of Parliament to have it removed.
  • In 1988, when nutritionists claimed that oat bran reduced cholesterol, sales for the Quaker Oats Company jumped 600 percent. In July 1992, a major report in The Journal of the American Medical Association, sponsored by the Quaker Oats Company, concluded that oat bran lowers blood cholesterol by an average of just 2 to 3 percent. On the bright side, the report claimed that a 1 percent reduction in cholesterol nationwide could lead to a 2 percent decrease in deaths from heart disease.
  • In 1990, when the Quaker Oats Company used Popeye the Sailor Man in oatmeal ads (showing "Popeye the Quaker Man" fighting Bluto), the Society of Friends objected, insisting that Popeye's reliance on physical violence is incompatible with the religion's pacifist principles. The Quaker Oats Company quickly apologized and ended the campaign.
  • Old Fashioned Quaker Oats and Quick Quaker Oats are the best-selling "long-cooking" cereals in the United States.
  • Instant Quaker Oatmeal is the best-selling "instant" hot cereal. In fact, Instant Quaker Oatmeal is the number-three selling breakfast cereal in America.


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