Portrait: James Lewis Kraft, founder of the world’s third largest food company

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Portrait
Reading Time:  4 minutes

James Lewis Kraft © culturecheesemag.com - Echtner

James Lewis Kraft © culturecheesemag.com – Echtner

James Lewis Kraft was a Canadian-American entrepreneur and inventor. Kraft was the first to patent processed cheese. Kraft was born near Stevensville, Ontario, Canada to parents Minerva Alice née Tripp and George Franklin Krafft, a farmer. He was of German origin. The Kraft family farm (at Bowen Road at Winger Road) still exists as the area has remained agricultural. Kraft was educated in the Stevensville area (S.S. No. 9) and worked nearby at Ferguson’s General store in Fort Erie, Ontario from 1901 to 1902.

After immigrating to Buffalo in 1902 he was forced out of cheese wholesaler (Shefford Cheese Company) by his partners. Kraft began a new cheese business in Chicago in 1903 by selling cheese from a horse-drawn wagon. Four of his brothers joined the company in 1909. By 1914 J.L. Kraft & Bros. Company, which later became Kraft Foods Inc opened its first cheese manufacturing plant in Stockton, Illinois. Kraft developed a revolutionary process, patented in 1916, for pasteurizing cheese so that it would resist spoiling and could be shipped long distances. The company grew quickly, expanding into Canada in 1919. Kraft saw a large increase in business during World War I when the United States government provided cheese in tins to their armed forces.

J. L. Kraft served as the company’s president from 1909 to 1953. Over the years, Kraft introduced many innovative products and used progressive marketing techniques to make his company one of North America’s leading food producers. During that time the company introduced Velveeta in 1928 and Miracle Whip in 1933 at the Century of Progress world’s fair. Kraft was an amateur jewelry maker; he also supported the Baptist Church and was a strong proponent of religious education for young people.

In the mid-1920s, Kraft began a venture to create a fashionable golf and tennis resort community in Lake Wales, Florida, along with Carl and Bertha Hinshaw. The Florida land bust and the stock market crash in October of ’29 spelled the end of the Kraft connection. The Chalet Suzanne opened in the worst year of the Great Depression, 1931, and has been run by successive generations of the Hinshaw family ever since. Even though Kraft bowed out of the development, a 1920s era Spanish Revival house on the property continues to be called “The Kraft House”. The Krafts’ home, built in 1922 by architect Paul V. Hyland, stands on North Kenmore in Wilmette, Illinois. He is interred in Memorial Park Cemetery, Skokie, Illinois. Kraft has living family members in Illinois and in Fort Erie.

Read more on Wikipedia James Lewis Kraft (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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