Cream of Wheat Advertising

Vintage advertising can often take one back in time. The Cream of Wheat Company dates back to its founding in North Dakota in 1893. The cereal was produced by millers and became a breakfast brand food that was widely advertised at the end of the 19th century. Cream of Wheats advertising extended into magazines and other forms during the 20th century.

What is Cream of Wheat?

Similar to grits, but smoother in texture, Cream of Wheat is a farina and is formulated as a mix that has been made from semolina. People have eaten it as a breakfast-type porridge. The company first introduced Cream of Wheat at the 1893 Worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.

How is Cream of Wheat made as a food?

The cereal is made by bringing a cup of water to a boil and adding salt. The liquid is then removed from the heat and 1/4 cup of Cream of Wheat farina is added. After stirring, the pot is returned to a low heat and cooked for three minutes, stirring continuously. Milk and sugar can then be added to the Cream of Wheat cooked cereal.

What are some forms of advertising for Cream of Wheat?

Numerous types of advertising promoted Cream of Wheat. Among the forms of advertising that can be collected are:

  • dolls
  • booklets
  • prints
  • advertisements
  • notebooks
Who are some of the artists that illustrated the ads?

As far back as 1895, the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson handled the advertising for the Cream of Wheat Company. Artists that have been associated with the Cream of Wheat brand package design and advertising include a wide variety of artists and illustrators, such as:

  • N.C. Wyeth
  • J.C. Leyendecker
  • Henry Hutt
  • W.V. Cahill
  • Edward V. Brewer
  • Harry Anderson
  • James Montgomery Flagg
  • Neysa McMein
Who is Rastus?

Rastus is the African-American chef character that was developed for Cream of Wheat advertising. Artist Edward V. Brewer illustrated ads and packaging with the image of Rastus, said to be modeled from a chef with the name of Frank L. White.

What other characters can be seen in their advertising?

Twentieth century advertising featured a number of characters that were an addition to Rastus or replaced the chef. Some of the illustrations include art subjects such as:

  • Dennis the Menace
  • Boy fishing
  • Best friends
  • Prophylactic brushes
  • Maid and child
  • Babies
  • Lil Abner
Is framing necessary for Cream of Wheat advertising?

A frame and glass will help protect the advertisement and make it displayable within a home or office. Vintage papers can degrade with time, so simple framing and glass can help prevent this from happening.

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