On this date in 1884, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg applied for a patent for "flaked cereal". Kellogg was a health-food fanatic, and was trying to improve the diet of patients at his hospital. His search for a digestible bread-substitute led him to boiling wheat and by accident letting it stand too long and become somewhat hardened. Despite the mistake, Kellogg put the concoction through a rolling process that turned each grain of wheat into a flake, which he then baked into a crispy and light breakfast product. Kellogg's brother Will helped improve the process, began marketing it to the general public, and the rest is cereal history.
First "Flaked Cereal" patent, Science Buzz, May 31, 2009.