It is a coincidence that three independent transitions were taking place simultaneously about 1870 to 1885. A revolution in the flour milling industry was under way irrespective of anything happening in Kansas. As a region reaching a relative maturity,

     Kansas was outgrowing pioneer standards of efficiency in milling and of quality in flour, and besides, as a seller of flour in the commercial market, it was necessary to meet the higher competitive standards both domestic and foreign. Lastly, the growers of wheat were shifting from soft to hard wheat as a matter of agricultural adaptation to environment regardless of the customs of the milling and baking industry and public taste in bread.

     From the standpoint of the method of extracting flour from the wheat kernel, the revolution in the milling industry involved the change from the direct reduction (low grinding) process to the gradual reduction (patent flour) processes, which might be accomplished either by stone burrs or by rollers. The objective of the more primitive low grinding process was to produce as much flour as possible from a single grinding, and in contrast the object of the gradual reduction was to break up the kernel by successive grindings, producing middlings to be reground into flour, these being purified of bran between each grinding. Whether accomplished by stone burrs or rollers, the gradual reduction processes were well developed in Europe long before this revolution in American milling and centered especially in France, Switzerland and Hungary (Budapest). The French had developed gradual reduction by the stone-burr process to a high state of perfection long before there was a Kansas, and French burrs were the standard of excellence in Kansas mills. Early roller process patents were issued in France, 1823-1834, and a successful mill was built on the roller principle, with middlings purifiers, etc., by Jacob Sulzberger (1803-1855) a Swiss, at Frauenfeld in 1833,

Public Acceptance of Hard Winter Wheat 189

and other mills were built between 1833 and 1846 by the same firm at Mayence, Milan (removed to Venice), Pesth, Munich, Leipzig, and Stettin. [1]

     The story of the roller mill was rather widely known among millers of the eighties. When the historic Pesth Roller Mills, 1844-, burned in 1888 it was news that stirred deeply the sentiment of Kansas millers. Among later generations only a few historical specialists seem to know the roller story. The popular traditions have treated the roller system and the purifier as American inventions and associated them exclusively with hard wheat.

     In the United States the "New Process," flour was made by an adaptation, about 1865-1871, of the European high-grinding process, using stone burrs and middlings purifiers. The Washburn mill at Minneapolis was not the first, but was the most widely known, starting operations in 1871 making "New Process" or "patent" flour. The next stage was the combination burr-and-roller mills 1873, the burrs being used to break the grain and the rollers to regrind the middlings. The third stage was the full roller mills, beginning 1877 or 1878 (Philadelphia or Minneapolis), and the John Stevens corrugated roller to make the first break, 1879. [2] Much disagreement will be found in the histories with respect to nearly every step in the development of flour milling, and therefore it is not safe to be dogmatic on the details of even the major developments.

     The flour industry in Kansas passed rapidly through the successive phases of milling technology. Pioneer mills were the simplest of low-grinding stone mills, at first without and then with, bolting devices. High grinding and the middling purifiers came in the seventies, the "New Process" mills being conspicuous, 187783. The first purifier, a Smith, was claimed for the C. Hoffman mill at Enterprise, Kansas, installed in 1873. [3] Among those mills in the central wheat belt, that can be identified explicitly as "New Process," were mills at Hutchinson, 1877; Salina, 1877; Topeka, 1878; Abilene, 1882; possibly one 1880-81; and Marion, 1883. [4] The combination, roller and burr, mills were at Salina, 1881 and 1883; Enterprise, 1882, probably; Abilene, 1882; Halstead,

190 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

1883, probably. When rollers were used in conjunction with burrs, it was the usual arrangement to make the first break of the grain with the burrs, employing the rollers for the later stages of the milling process. [5]

     The full roller mills were equipped in Marysville, winter 1881-82; the C. Hoffman mill, Enterprise, April 1883; the Salina Mill and Elevator Company mill (Shellabarger and Goodnow) 1883, and the Underwood mill, Salina, 1885; the Inter-Ocean and the Topeka Mill and Elevator mills, Topeka, 1882, the Shawnee Mills (Shellabarger), Topeka, 1883; Abilene Mill and Elevator Company mill, Abilene, 1885; the Monarch Mills (D. Howell), Newton, 1883; the Ehrlich Mills, 1883 and the Marion Mills, Marion, 1884; the Harvey County Roller Mills, 1883 and C. Eisenmayer and Company, Halstead, 1885; the Acme Roller Mills, Milford, 1884; the New Cambria mill, 1885; the Fogarty mill, Junction City, 1885; the Moundridge Roller Mills, Moundridge, 1887. From 1885 to 1887 there was a general rush to the roller equipment by nearly all millers who thought they could possibly finance it. The J. B. Ehrsam Machine Company, Enterprise, developed the Kaw Roller Mill, and installed the furnishings for many of the Kansas mills of the late eighties and nineties; machines of their own building and machines for which they acted as agents.

     During the first years of the eighties there was the greatest of confusion in the minds of the best millers concerning the relative merits of the several processes. In 1882 at Abilene when Johntz Brothers and Rice were putting in combination roller and burr machinery, their competitors, Stoddard and Humphrey were installing a "New Process" mill. In 1883 at Halstead, the Reasoner interests planned a "New Process" mill, and changed before the project was completed, becoming the Harvey County Roller Mills. The same year in May at Marion, Strohwig and Weber equipped a "New Process" mill, large instead of small burrs, probably with a wheat steamer, and in the fall the Ehrlich Mill adopted full roller equipment. In connection with an edi-

Public Acceptance of Hard Winter Wheat 191

torial visit to the Marion Mills in October 1883, Strohwig explained hard wheat milling problems:

[He] showed us the difference in color of flour made from the Russian and May varieties of wheat. Consumers seldom take this difference into consideration, however, when finding fault with the millers about the darkness of the bread made from their flour. But then the contrast will disappear when the Russian wheat entirely supersedes the softer varieties, as it seems destined to do. [6]

     The Marysville mill seems to have been one of the first, if not the first full roller mill in Kansas and was installed in the winter of 1881-82. At the same time, 1881, at Salina, the Goodnow mill was going only part way in putting in a roller, and two years later, upon reorganization with the Shellabarger interests, roller millers of Decatur, Illinois, in control, the mill became a full roller establishment. At the same time, 1883, Underwood went only part way in making his a combination roller and burr mill and went to full roller equipment only during the winter of 1884-85. Two of the millers that stand highest in Kansas milling traditions, C. Hoffman of Enterprise and Bernard Warkentin of Halstead and Newton, were late in the procession in identifying themselves with full roller machinery. The Hoffman mill became a full roller mill in April 1883, Warkentin did not own a mill during the period but managed the C. Eisenmayer and Company mill at Halstead, controlled by C. Eisenmayer, Sr., his father-in-law. Warkentin severed connection with the mill at Halstead in the summer of 1885 and made a visit to Europe, returning in October. In the meantime the mill was incorporated and installed full roller equipment. Warkentin became a member of a group at Newton which incorporated in January 1886 as the Newton Mill and Elevator Company and bought the Monarch Mill, a full roller mill since 1883, of D. Hamill. So far as can be determined this was Warkentin's first identification with a full roller mill.

     This historical survey of the retooling and rebuilding of flour mills leads to the conclusion that the strictly local millers were either quite conservative, or limited in financial resources, or both. The problem of capital requirements was important because the technological changes in machinery between 1877 and 1885 were

192 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

astonishing. The Fogarty Mill in 1883 paid $6,000 supposedly for new machinery and in 1885 the roller machinery cost $10,000 The invoice included 16 sets of Allis rolls, 5 Smith purifiers, 1 Gray purifier, 3 Gray centrifugal reels, 9 bolting reels, 8 scalping reels, 3 flour packers, 1 bran packer and 2 turbine water-wheels. In Marion, the "New Process" was installed in 1883 and the next year the mill was completely refitted with roller machinery. To a very substantial extent the modernizing of the larger mills with full roller equipment was done in part at least with outside money and in part also under the leadership of outside men. The Topeka Mill and Elevator Company mill of Topeka was financed in part by L. Z. Leiter of Chicago. The Shawnee Mills, remodeled to the roller system, was a Shellabarger enterprise. The Salina Mill and Elevator Company mill in 1883 was remodeled by D. S. Shellabarger of Decatur, Illinois, where he was interested in two roller mills, and only recently he had withdrawn from the family group interested in the Shawnee Mills. The Eisenmayers of Halstead had originally been millers in Summerfield, Illinois, gradually transferring interests to Kansas, C. Eisenmayer, Jr., moving to Halstead in 1883 and becoming manager in 1885, and the retooling being done by P. Eisenmayer of Summerfield, Illinois.

     The role of the tool makers should not be overlooked in the transition to roller mills. The firms most frequently identified in early refurnishing operations were the Richmond City Mill Company of Richmond, Indiana, The Case Manufacturing Company of Columbus, Ohio, and most important of all, E. P. Allis and Company, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was the Allis Company that is supposed to have persuaded the Topeka Mill and Elevator Company to equip their mill with rollers and other machinery for hard wheat. [7]

     It was only in part that the hard wheat was the cause of retooling mills prior to 1883, and it is debatable to what extent the hard wheat influence was the determining factor prior to that year. As applied to the "New Process" mills of the late seventies there is no evidence of hard wheat being grown in such volume as to constitute a determining influence. From 1880 through 1882, the

Public Acceptance of Hard Winter Wheat 193

spread of hard winter wheat was only being noticed for the first time in the public prints in Marion, Dickinson and Saline counties. In 1883, for the first time a McPherson county source recognized hard wheat as the leading variety in that county but mills in McPherson county were not roller equipped.

     The mill furnishers were committed to the manufacture of the new roller machines for the hard spring wheat region. They were leading in a new departure of great promise, showed a justifiable pride in their machines, and it was more profitable from the standpoint of volume tool production to sell one basic type of product to all mills regardless of whether they ground hard or soft wheat. And besides, the roller machinery was more efficient for soft wheat than the stone mills. Of course, for soft wheat, different adjustments were required for successful milling. In the Ohio valley and the eastern Great Lakes region, a similar milling revolution was in progress and chronologically earlier than in Kansas, the roller mills grinding soft wheat exclusively.

     Beginning with 1883 and during succeeding years, the hard wheat influence was becoming a determining factor in mill machinery. In Marion, Strohwig, who had installed "New Process" burr equipment in April 1883, was explaining defensively in October the difference in color between flour made from Russian and May wheat, and tried to impress the editor with an optimistic view of the matter. In April of 1884, he was putting in rollers, and in October of the same year, the last of the stones were removed to make way for rollers,-three successive installations of machinery in eighteen months. From Junction City came the fullest public explanation of the refurnishing of the Fogarty mill. It was an E. P. Allis job, the contract being announced early in January 1885, to increase the capacity of the mill and because of the quantity of hard wheat in the region:

Within the past two years the wheat product of this region has greatly changed. It is estimated that seventy per cent of our wheat crop is hard or Russian wheat, and thirty per cent soft wheat. The old stone burrs proved a failure in making first-class flour out of hard wheat, and hence we read all over the country of mills making similar changes. The soft wheat commands the better price, and makes more pounds of flour to the bushel,

194 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

while hard wheat is not graded or recognized at all in some markets, which seems to be a contradiction. But it will be understood that the agriculturist knows what he is about when it is stated that the hard wheat is a more certain crop, yields more to the acre, and is adapted more generally to la j soils, in some of which soft wheat fails. While this change does not lessen the efficiency of the mill in handling soft wheat, it created an absolutely certain home market for hard wheat. The south half of the county is so directly tributary to Mr. Fogarty's mill that he is amply supplied with wheat, and is only occasionally required to appear on the street as a buyer. [8]

     It is well to emphasize that the explanations laid stress on the fact that Fogarty's market was not local. He claimed that he had been shipping nine carloads per week, mostly to Galveston, Texas, and the reconditioned mill would be able to increase shipments to fifteen cars.

     There were three stages in the evolution of the relations of the mills to the source of their wheat supplies. The earliest mills, whether with or without bolting apparatus, were operated primarily as toll mills, the customer bringing his own grain to be ground and taking it home as grist or flour. The miller's function was that of service for which he took his pay in a portion of the flour. The second stage was that of an exchange business in which the farmer brought his wheat to the mill and exchanged it at a fixed rate set by the miller for flour already ground. In the first case the quality of the flour was determined by two factors, the quality of the wheat, which was the customer's own responsibility, and the skill of the miller who performed the grinding service. In the second case, the responsibility for both the quality of the wheat and the service lay with the miller. With this assumption of responsibility by the miller the customer became increasingly critical of the quality of the flour, and the miller was limited in the quality of flour he produced by the quality of the wheat his customers brought to him. To supply non-farmer customers, the miller accumulated toll flour in the first instance, and the difference in exchange value between wheat and flour in the second. If lie could sell flour in excess of such supplies he bought wheat outright, either in his community or shipped it in from outside. As his trade territory was his primary source of supply, the quality

Public Acceptance of Hard Winter Wheat 195

of his flour was determined largely by the quality of the wheat produced. For the most part he had to take the wheat as it came in and make the best flour possible out of it so long as it was millable at all. If his flour was too bad, his customers shipped in commercial flour from eastern milling centers. With the increase of railroad facilities this competition was more and more decisive. A miller and a community burdened with low grade wheat had only a limited opportunity to take advantage of such a situation as is represented by the following advertisement:

Farmers, we arc in need of a low grade of wheat, something from 30 to 50 cents per bushel. We cannot pay above market prices for this grade of wheat, as our figures, at which we have sold the flour to the Government, do not allow us to do so. Bring in your damaged wheat now, as the time may come when you cannot get rid of it. [9]

     The third stage in the relation of miller to the source of grain supply was the merchant mill, which, purchased on its own account only the grades of wheat required to meet its flour standards: If an elevator or chain of elevators was operated in connection, such wheat as was offered, that did not meet grade requirements, could be worked off through commercial channels. [10] The early merchant mills bought primarily direct from the producers of their own community, but with increase in mill capacity and the development of central grain markets the large mills depended upon the organized grain markets. The merchant mills usually discontinued custom grinding, and by the early eighties many communities were without custom facilities. In the cases of the Hoffman Mills at Enterprise and the Underwood Mills at Salina, both the old and new mills were operated, the old mills offered custom work for a time, but the new mills were restricted exclusively to merchant business. [11]

     The relation of the mills to the market for flour was undergoing important changes as the growing of wheat increased beyond the local flour market. The more exacting mature community insisted upon better flour and outside flour competition compelled the miller to raise his standards. Sale of flour in eastern markets likewise compelled increasing emphasis upon quality and,

196 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

during the middle eighties and early nineties, with low prices and wheat surpluses, the Kansas millers invaded the foreign market, Europe and Central and South America. In the late eighties this situation drew a hearty response from Kansas millers to James G. Blaine's reciprocity program. This was one of the principal themes discussed in the early issues of the Kansas Miller and Manufacturer established at Enterprise in January 1888 as spokesman for the Kansas Millers' State Association. The foreign market raised the issue also of advertising and marketing promotion and handling, foreign warehousing and also agency expenses, which could be met only by the big mills or by an association of smaller mills. Another question was railroad relations, and a more favorable outlet for Kansas wheat, flour rates, and the relation between wheat and flour rates, shipment of flour through New Orleans and Galveston. Lastly, on the question of wheat prices and speculation on the grain exchanges, the millers' association joined with the farmers' organizations in endorsing the Butterworth bill in 1890 and 1891 to prohibit gambling in futures. [12] It was this combination of influences interacting upon each other and the miller, along with drouth and world depression that ruined many millers, that resulted in the partial or complete closing of many mills, and the sale of others to interests outside the state possessed of the requisite capital and organization and managerial ability to survive. It was a part of the larger movement toward industrial integration that crystallized in the anti-trust and anti-monopoly agitation and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890. The milling business did not escape the charges of a millers' trust.

     Extracts from the third and fifth annual reports of the Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industry (1887, 1889) summarized the question as conservative contemporaries saw it in the process of becoming and without the long perspective of hindsight. The first represented 1887:

The revolution undergone by this industry during the last few years, in the substitution of the roller system for the time-honored burr, has been severe. The change necessitated large outlays, and the result is that in common with so many other industries, the business is concentrating in larger mills and heavier capital. With the extension of railroads into almost every portion of our State, and the superior grade of roller flour, the old-fashioned mill is `losing its grip.' Flour is shipped in and wheat is shipped out, and the result is that the burr mill has to shut clown or limit itself to custom work with a diminished output.

Two years later there was some repeti

     tion, but the description added further conclusions:

     During this period the milling industry has passed through a season of great depression, resulting from short crops, and the tendency toward concentration, caused largely by the rapid extension of railways and the introduction of the roller system, thus rendering unprofitable the operation in very many localities of the old-style custom mills, and as a consequence forcing them to be closed down permanently, or else converting them to other uses. . . .
     Yet, while this is true of the industry taken as a whole, in the milling centers the business has, in spite of the short crops, shown during the same period a healthy increase, and the volume of output has been steadily maintained.


     In 1880 the Kansas City board of trade provided for the first time for Turkey wheat establishing the class name as hard red winter, and all Turkey wheat was to be inspected as such. [13] The market in hard wheat was evidently mostly a nominal affair, the reports on activities being frequently, no bids, no offers; bids, no offerings; and bids and offers, but no sales were mentioned and at other times hard wheat was omitted. On October 7 the spread between hard and soft wheats on the basis of bid and asked prices was 2¾ and 2¼ cents respectively for No. 2. [14]

     In 1883 price discrimination against hard winter wheat became an issue in the markets and the local papers began quoting hard wheat prices separately. The first instance of this in the Abilene Chronicle was July 28, 1883 when No. I wheat was quoted at 80 cents, No. 2 at 75 cents and Russian at 72 cents. At Halstead the Independent August 31, 1883, published an extract from a letter from Doling and Langenberg, St. Louis, to Peter Wiebe, grain dealer, dated August 27:

We have found it almost impossible to work that Turkey wheat off; had one of our largest exporters send samples to Europe, but the parties

Public Acceptance of Hard Winter Wheat 197

198 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

there don't want it unless at about 10ct. below our No. 2 Red and our millers have all got their curiosity gratified they say.
We understand that New York, who has been taking the Toledo wheat, is ruling it out, and the demand there is light with a discrimination of from 3 to 5 cents against the wheat mixed with the hard wheat.
We wish your farmers would abandon it and use May and Fultz wheat, both of which arc always in demand and bring a good price.

     On December 15, 1883, the Junction City Union reprinted a long article from the Cincinnati Miller and Millwright describing the excitement on that market arising out of what was described as an attempt to force acceptance as No. 2 Red of an inferior quality of wheat grown in Kansas and some parts of Missouri said to have sprung from seed brought from Turkey. Although similar in color, it was so hard that it was almost impossible to break the grains by ordinary methods. At Kansas City the Turkey wheat was reported to have a bad reputation, the millers condemned it as almost worthless, and the price was low. The Miller and Millwright made an investigation at Cincinnati and received a bad report. The first consignment had been received in Cincinnati in September and inspected as No .2 Red, the firm of Nelson, Penn and Company being largely responsible inadvertently for bringing it into the market there, not knowing its true character until the mills undertook to grind it. Root and Company's Broadway Roller Mills had the first experience with the wheat, the flour turning out poor and mushy, rejected by customers. It should be noted that this was a roller mill accustomed to grinding soft wheat. The Root firm refused to accept delivery on the remainder of their contract and the committee of the Chamber of Commerce decided in their favor. A separate classification and grading of the wheat was demanded by millers and granted as Grade Turkey. Furthermore, damage suits were threatened on warehouse receipts filled with wheat having a Turkey admixture.

     Shortly after printing the foregoing article the Union sympathized with a Geary county farmer who was loaded with this inferior wheat. During the remainder of the winter the situation was critical in the junction City market, the spread between soft and hard wheat being 15 cents February 9, 18 cents February,

Public Acceptance of Hard Winter Wheat 199

23, 21 cents March 15, and 20 cents March 29, 1884. On this last named date the prices were 85 and 65 cents per bushel. The panic later in the year reduced prices, the December ii quotations on No. 2 being 42 and 37 cents respectively, and February 14, 1885, 65 and 50 cents. At Abilene the spread was not so drastic during the winter of 1884-85, ranging from 3 to 8 cents. At Enterprise the Hoffman Mills dominated the market and the spread was only 5 cents on December 11, 1884, and z cents on February 12, 1885. In mid-February the Anti-Monopolist, Enterprise, discontinued quotation on soft wheat. The actual hard wheat price situation was a different story, however, because on the dates above, used for comparison, the quotation for No. 2 hard wheat was the same at Junction City and Enterprise, 37 and 50 cents per bushel respectively. Hoffman was not paying a premium for hard wheat, he was discriminating against soft wheat by 8 and 13 cents respectively. At Abilene through 1886 to 1889 the spread fluctuated, but for the most part varied from z to 5 cents until late March and early April 1889 when they sold at the same price and continued on that basis, with short term exceptions throughout the remainder of the year. Through 1891 to the end of 1893 the spread was almost uniformly one grade; that is No. 2 soft winter and No. 3 hard winter sold at the same price or a spread of 2 to 5 cents for the most part. In the spring of 1894 and through 1895 with some exceptions the spread disappeared, No. 2 of both selling at 40 to 45 cents. During the winter of 1896-97 only hard wheat was quoted at Abilene, but at Salina both were quoted in the press and a price boom of 1897, under stimulus of short crops abroad, caused a spread in favor of soft wheat of about 5 cents.


     During the early days of Kansas milling for the commercial market, Missouri flour dominated the market both in Kansas and neighboring states. Kansas millers resorted to the use of the Missouri label to sell their flour. [15] It required many years of advertising and selling to make a place in the market for the Kansas brands. There is evidence that Kansas wheat was recognized indirectly much sooner than Kansas flour. In 1883, a correspondent

200 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

from McPherson county reported that the wheat of his county was in great demand and much of it was shipped to Minnesota. [16] This is the first instance found where Kansas wheat was going to Minneapolis mills to be ground and sold as hard spring wheat flour, the standard of flour excellence. Charges of such practices were made by Kansas millers in subsequent years when the hard spring wheat crop was short, the climax coming in 1900 when the Kansas Millers' Association adopted a resolution of condemnation October 15, 1900. [17] One outcome of the controversy was the publication and endorsement of Kansas wheat by the National Miller, Philadelphia, by the Scotch milling firm of Hunter, Craig & Company which declared "that Kansas hard wheat makes the highest-test flour on the market," and even The Weekly Northwestern Miller, Minneapolis, admitted that

In this territory is grown as fine wheat as is raised in any part of the world. [18]

     In the foreign market Hoffman placed some Kansas flour in 1884 at Paris upon which he reported that the bakers' verdict was the "only flour equal to Hungarian hard-wheat flour ever offered them." [19]

     In 1888 Jannsens & Company, Antwerp, Belgium wrote the Newton Mill and Elevator Company that

Kansas flour of Turkey wheat is always welcome to this country. In fact it is the only flour that answers well the purpose. St. Louis flour is too flat, and Minneapolis flour is not liked at all in this country. The Hoffman Mill at Enterprise was shipping to this firm the same year. [20]

     Such favorable comment should not lead to over-optimistic generalizations. This is illustrated by the tour of Europe by C. B. Hoffman in 1891. Concerning the Netherlands he remarked that they liked soft, chalky flours from their own wheat or corresponding wheats from Illinois, Michigan and Indiana. Minneapolis sold little flour there. According to his informants not more than one or two firms would take hard wheat flour a few years earlier and not over fifteen in Holland and Belgium would buy them then. In London two years earlier Kansas wheat could not be sold to advantage: "Bakers insisted that it had neither the good qualities of spring wheats nor those of [soft] winter wheats;

Public Acceptance of Hard Winter Wheat 201

that was sort of hybrid, which was only fit for Americans. [21] In 1891 London bakers were accepting Kansas flour along with Minnesota flour. Liverpool and Glasgow accepted Kansas flour earlier than London. France had been accepting Kansas flour only for about a year, but the difficulty there was the tariff. Italy, France, Switzerland and the eastern part of the German Empire got their flour imports from Austria-Hungary and their wheat from Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria and the Balkan provinces. This survey of the European flour situation led to an illuminating discussion of the nature of Kansas flour and should dispel some misconceptions about the extent of the differences between the hard and the soft wheats as they were then being produced under subhumid climatic conditions:

In speaking of Kansas flour I have had in mind, chiefly, the product of hard wheat, but, as a matter of fact, all the flour made from Kansas wheat except, probably that grown in the eastern one-fourth of the state, has the qualities of a hard wheat flour, and takes its place between a spring wheat and a soft winter wheat, St. Louis grades, for instance. Our flours are rounder, smoother than the spring wheats and have more strength, better baking qualities than [soft] winter wheats. I believe that our best patents come nearer to the Hungarian patents, than any flour offered in the European market.21

     At the turn of the century the Kansas miller was interested especially in the foreign market for flour and discussion of improvement in flour quality turned largely on that objective as the test of success. Herbert Hackney, of the Topeka Milling Company, urged the enactment of a law establishing a bureau of flour inspection to fix a standard for "Kansas Hard Wheat Flour" and require inspection and the stamp of approval on all that met the requirements. The flour could then be sold on the foreign market on the basis of that standard of quality rather than the mill brands, some of which were inferior and gave a bad reputation to the remainder. [22] The second line of miller interest was in the improvement of the quality of Kansas hard winter wheat.


     In addition to the market preference for soft wheats during the eighties and early nineties, they found favor with the farmer

202 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

on agricultural grounds. The search for a perfect wheat was unending. The hard wheat had suffered seriously, although less than most other varieties during the adverse years of the late eighties and the mills were left with inadequate supplies of grain, 1886-1889 inclusive. [23] The Eisenmayer mill, Bernard Warkentin, manager, shipped in a car of Oregon May wheat for seed in 1884 and in 1888 Warkentin was growing May wheat on his farm near Halstead.
[24] J. S. Hollinger, long a leader in wheat in eastern Dickinson county, secured Eversole seed from Franklin county, Pennsylvania in 1887 and offered seed for sale in 1888 and 1889 reporting that "it is the one variety yet discovered that can be depended upon in this state." Some farmers who raised them during the nineties classed Eversole and Turkey as hard wheats and some considered Eversole as the better of the two. [25] J. J. Schneider, near Detroit, offered Golden Drop, which had grown successfully in 1888. [26]

     In spite of all that has been written on wheat there have been found no reliable estimates through these years of the proportions of acreage devoted to hard and soft wheats. In 1892 several millers made reports on their respective counties to the Kansas State Millers' Convention. Riley, Geary and Saline counties did not report, but for Dickinson, C. V. Topping of Enterprise estimated that 25 per cent was soft wheat and 75 per cent hard wheat. The report for Marion was 10 per cent soft and 90 per cent hard; Harvey, 5 per cent soft and 95 per cent hard; Cowley (north half) nearly all soft wheat; Sumner county, half soft and half hard, and Reno, all hard. [27]

     After fair wheat crops in the early nineties, the failures of the mid-nineties left the millers short of wheat in 1894, 1895 and 1896. The Hoffman mill shipped in Oregon soft wheat to see what kind of flour could be made of it, but "entertain[ed] no idea of this flour taking the place of the usual grades of hard wheat flour." [28] The farmers were again stimulated to continue the search for a more reliable wheat. Winter Fife was grown for three years, 1892, 1893, 1894, "side by side with Russian, and other varieties, it yields more, has a stiffer straw, stands frost better, has smooth

Public Acceptance of Hard Winter Wheat 203

It is just the wheat for this country." [29] In 1897, Hollinger procured a new list of varieties from Greencastle, Pennsylvania, at a cost of $2.50, because he thought that the "county needs new seed wheat." [30] Charles Kubach introduced Indian Valley wheat in 1894 and offered it for sale after a three years test beside Russian and reported a yield in 1897 of more than 36 bushels of 61 pound wheat compared with 31 bushels of lesser quality Russian wheat. [31]

     The hard winter wheat was in the ascendancy all through the nineties, but this record shows clearly that its acceptance was not complete. At best it showed some conspicuous weaknesses. Although hardier than the soft winter wheats the hard wheats winter-kill badly in severe seasons, [32] In 1900 Carleton insisted that hardier varieties than Turkey should be found, hardier to Kansas and to the region further north that should become a winter wheat region. A second serious deficiency was the weakness of the straw which caused the wheat to lodge badly from storms or when the growth was rank and heavy in favorable crop years. To these inherent weaknesses were added the complaint that the seed had deteriorated in quality. Although there is little doubt that the quality had declined, the probability is strong that the public standard of excellence had been raised since the pioneer days which in retrospect were becoming a mythical golden age. One statement in 1900 held that the quality deteriorated when planted on the same ground for a number of years "so that in many localities it has changed to a yellow, softer berry, instead of the original dark red hard wheat." [33] A later commentary on the crop of 1901 sought the explanation in the theory that inbreeding of Kansas wheat for twenty years caused the deterioration. [34] Secretary F. D. Coburn, of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture, had surveyed the situation in 1896 and published the comments of leading wheat and milling authorities. Such men as Bernard Warkentin, J. W. Krehbiel, C. B. Hoffman and C. V. Topping, were in general agreement that the Russian wheat had changed character in Kansas as a result of climate and soil. Professor C. C. Georgeson, of the Kansas State Agricultural College, agreed that the hard wheat had deteriorated but disagreed with them all on

204 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

the reason. As a scientist, he pointed out the biological factors involved; that the varieties such as Turkey wheat had been created by selection for certain qualities, that the plants did not breed true, and therefore, when planted year after year without selection the natural tendency was to revert to the original types. He pointed out that the only way to maintain the original high quality of such a variety was to continue the same process of selection which had created the variety in the first place. The average farmer was not in a position to keep up this process, he pointed out, as a part of his regular farm routine and other means must be employed. [35] Formerly wheat improvement had turned on the issue of the several varieties of soft wheats against the hard wheat. Now the situation was changed and the leading issue was improvement of the hard wheat or new varieties of hard wheats to replace those then grown.

     Practical suggestions for not only maintaining but improving the quality of wheat were offered on various occasions. M. A. Carleton's program was that in winter-killing years especially, the farmer should save carefully the surviving plants and their seed, even if not more than a dozen in a whole field. This should be planted for seed, and every year the farmer should maintain his seed plot where he grew seed from selected plants transmitting the desired qualities. [36] He maintained that uncertainty of yield and inferior quality had probably done more to destroy farmers' profits during the nineties than the low prices themselves.

     A part of the Kansas wheat tradition credited Bernard Warkentin with importing new seed wheat direct from Russia in 1885 or 1886 to improve the Kansas quality. Thus far the present author has not found any contemporary confirmation of the story. As the Warkentin family was in Europe the summer and fall of 1885 after severing connections with the Halstead mill, there is little probability of that date for such an importation. In 1886 Warkentin was one of the principal stockholders in the Newton Mill and Elevator Company, and after seeing Russian wheat in the previous year, it seems reasonable that he might have imported some to sow in the fall of 1886. The only unquestioned

Public Acceptance of Bard Winter Wheat 205

instance prior to 1900 of such importation into Kansas that has been found was a shipment received by C. Hoffman and Son in December 1895. Although late for planting, it was sown, a few acres each by several farmers. [37] The yield record had been 34.5, 31 and 18 bushels respectively for 1897, 1898, 1899 and in 1900, Hoffman refused to sell any of it for seed as it had deteriorated and became mixed with rye. In 1900 Hoffman was importing 100 bushels more. He recommended also the plan outlined by Carleton for seed plots of selected wheat. [38]

     In 1900 a large-scale importation of Russian- grown wheat was determined upon under the sponsorship off the. Kansas State Millers' Association and the Kansas Grain Dealers' Association. One newspaper story credited Bernard Warkentin of Newton with being the principal inspiration of the project, based upon his experimental work near Halstead. Acting in concert with Carleton, who was in Russia in 1900, the committee reported that

We are advised that the best hard winter wheat suitable for Kansas, should be obtained from central Crimea, where he found a colony of Mennonites, who make it a specialty of raising pure, clean, hard Turkey wheat, and as this year's crop is of a good quality, free from smut or any objectionable weeds, Mr. Carleton thinks it is the proper time to import a lot of this wheat for next year's seeding. [39]

     The advance-order price was set at $2.25 per bushel and the wheat was to be delivered at cost, whatever that might be. The committee in charge hoped that orders would be placed that would justify a shipment of 25,000 to 30,000 bushels and if that much could be handled a ship would be chartered, thus reducing the bushel cost. A shipment of approximately 15,000 bushels was imported from the Crimea by way of Odessa in July 1901. At Kansas City it was warehoused under federal supervision and distributed from there to the several counties in Kansas and Oklahoma in car-load lots during August. The Dickinson county allotment was about 500 bushels and the price was $2.30. In connection with this distribution the statement was made that "It is the greatest shipment of hard seed wheat ever brought to this country. . . . The purpose is to improve the quality of Kansas

206 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

hard wheat for export flour." The Abilene Reflector spoke from the standpoint of the farmer that "The chief demand in new wheat for this part of the state is that it shall have strong straw," and explained that the past spring storms had beat down the wheat in the bottoms and but for a dry harvest it could not have been saved at all. The complaint was registered, however, that the price was so high as to be prohibitive for general purchase. [40]

     As large as the importation of 1901 was it seems to have had little influence on the hard wheat situation as a whole. Such an outcome should be a warning against the naive acceptance of the traditions about the original introduction in 1874 of about one peck each by twenty-four Mennonite colonists, no more, no less, as the source of the Kansas hard wheat. After the 1901 importation the pessimism continued about deterioration of hard wheat. In the fall of 1905 the Santa Fe railroad cooperated in moving western Kansas grown wheat into south central Kansas counties, those mentioned especially were Sumner, Cowley, Sedgwick, Kingman, and Pratt. In Stafford, Russell and Ellsworth counties, Canadian grown Turkey was imported. Such new seed was reported to have had magical results. [41] The nature of the Kansas wheat improvement problem was changing substantially at the close of the nineteenth century. It was no longer local, it was regional and even national. Mark A. Carleton (1866-1925) was born in Ohio, grew up in Cloud county, Kansas, was educated at Kansas State Agricultural College, and did his initial wheat research on the staff of that institution going to the United States Department of Agriculture from there in 1894. In 1895 he transferred his experimental work from the East to Saline county Kansas and then to Riley county. According to his own story, he was first attracted seriously to the Turkey hard wheat in 1895 and 1896. In the latter year he visited the Mennonites in McPherson county and became fully convinced of the importance of the Russian wheat. In 1898 Carleton made his first trip to Russia to study wheat. He became enthusiastic about the durum (macaroni) wheats and urged the

Public Acceptance of Hard Winter Wheat 207

growing of such types on the High Plains, but they did not prove out in the Kansas portion of the Central Plains. In 1900 he brought back hard red winter wheats, the most important of these to Kansas being Kharkov, which closely resembled Turkey. It had the same weak straw but was hardier. Tests were made with these new varieties near Halstead, Kansas, by the United States Department of Agriculture in cooperation with the Kansas Experiment Station,, 1899-1900 and 1900-1901. [42]

     Kansas expermentation with wheat had been handicapped by the location of the state experiment station east of the wheat belt, and the delay of the state in acting upon the knowledge of the wide diversity of climate in the 400-mile-long-state reaching from the humid Missouri border to the semi-arid High Plains. Secretary Mark Mohler had pointed out these diversities in 1890 saying that however valuable the experimental work was to the Manhattan district it was "of but little value in many other portions of the state." He urged that at least one farmer in every county undertake certain experimental work. [43] In 1892 a movement was initiated at Garden City, led by the Herald of that place to divide Kansas into two equal parts so that the Plains country could get institutions that would serve its interests. In 1895 Ellis county acted by proposing that the abandoned Fort Hays military reservation be turned over to the state by the federal government and a part of it be used as an agricultural experiment station to serve the Plains. Congress acted favorably in 1900, on the request of the Kansas legislature, and the state opened its work there in 1902 as a branch of the Manhattan Station. An attempt was made in 1904 to introduce the field system of experimentation in Plains crops; 10, 25 and 50 acre fields instead of one-half acre plots, ("garden patches"). What Superintendent Haney and the farmers wanted was to determine what crops and practices would be successful under regular farm conditions. The proposal was vetoed, however, by the Board of Regents.

44 The first year's test with Kharkov at Hays was on a four-acre plot which yielded 41.2 bushels per acre in 1903. [45]

     The first test in the experiments with Carleton's importations

208 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

was to determine adaptability to climate and soil, and bread making properties. Having settled those questions, the next was to grow seed wheat in quantity for distribution both at the stations and on farms of cooperating growers. General distribution to the public would then expand rapidly. In 1906 the Great Bend Tribune reported that Russell county got Kharkov in 1904; W. C. Stanley in Barton county had received his start in 1905 and had 2,000 bushels for sale in 1906. A Kingman county farmer had made his own importation from Russia in 1905. By 1908 fairly large-scale distributions were made for the two stations and cooperative growers, some 10,000 bushels of improved seed of several varieties of hard and soft wheats. The limit was five bushels to the farmer, and about forty bushels to the county. [46] This was eight years after the first importations by Carleton before even this moderately widespread distribution of Kharkov was available. In 1909, under the title of "Kharkov taking Kansas," a milling news item stated that little of this variety had come to the mills as most of it had been used for seed, but that in the fall of 1910 it would come in volume. [47] Recognition should be given at this stage to the cooperation of the railroads, especially the Union Pacific and the Santa Fe, with governmental agencies in their annual wheat train demonstrations which brought the newest information to country way-stations on their principal lines.

     In its release of August 2, 1898, the Kansas State Agricultural College announced that the chief work of the experiment station that year had been the crossing of varieties to increase yield and gluten content, and some 3,000 would be planted that fall. In 1906 selections were made from Crimean wheat, one of these, Pedigree No. 762, from a single head, became the Kanred variety distributed in 1917. It was winter hardy but had a weak straw like Turkey and Kharkov. In 1912 Earl G. Clark, Sedgwick, Kansas, a private experimenter, found the plants which produced Blackhull, distributed commercially in 1917, and from this came later Superhard Blackhull. The Blackhull had a stiff straw, made a large yield of heavy test grain, was less winter-resistant than I Kanred and was deficient in milling and bread-making qualities

Public Acceptance of Hard Winter Wheat 209

to the prevailing standard tests. The year the Kansas station started experiments with crosses was four years prior to the rediscovery by the biological world of Mendel's law of hybridization which opened new horizons to plant and animal improvement. In 1916 a hybrid experiment was begun with Pedigree 1066, a sister strain of Kanred, crossed with Marquis, the best of the northern hard spring wheats, which resulted in Tenmarq. This variety was early, but less winter-resistent, had a stiff straw and rust resistance, but not smut resistent. Each of these varieties had a particular niche in the Kansas scene from the standpoint of winter-resistance and earliness to avoid June hot winds at the bloom and filling stage. From south to north they were Tenmarq, Blackhull, Turkey and Kanred. From the standpoint of the farmer, the miller and the baker, each had its virtues and defects. Yield tests rated them Tenmarq, Blackhull, Kanred and Turkey. Milling and baking tests placed them, Tenmarq first, Kanred and Turkey second, and Blackhull third, with Superhard Blackhull at the bottom of the list." Briefly, these are the high points of the twentieth century hard wheat improvement campaign that gave substance to the slogan of 1924, "Kansas grows the best wheat in the world."

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1. Early French Roller Milling," Kansas Miller and Manufacturer, December 1889, reprinted from The Milling World; Louis B. Fiechter, "Switzerland's Record," Ibid., April, May, 1888, reprinted from the Northwestern Miller.
2. Charles B. Kuhlmann, The Development of the Flour-Milling Industry in the United States. (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1929).
3. C. B. Hoffman, "Milling in the Golden Belt," Sixteenth Annual Report of the Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industry for 1900, pp. 180-182. Reprinted in the Thirteenth Biennial Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture ... 1901-1902, 18: 538-40.
The statement was not specific as to whether the mill of 1873 would qualify as a "Nev, Process" mill, probably not.
4. Some of these towns may have had a "New Process" mill earlier and other towns in the area probably did, but explicit data are too scattered or indefinite to use here. The new Hoffman mill at Enterprise built in 1881 must have been a "New Process" mill. The data arc compiled from the newspaper files of these towns.
5. L. A. Fitz, "The Development of the Milling Industry in Kansas," Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society, 12: 53-59.
6. Marion Record, October 19, 1883.
7. Herbert Hackney, "Kansas Wheat and its Products," Thirteenth Biennial Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture . . . 1901-02, 18:455. Circumstances suggest that the change in the Reasoner Mill at Halstead in the course of its construction was inspired from a similar source.
Five sets of rolls were corrugated and were used to break the grain, five sets were porcelain to make the second reduction of the middlings and three sets were smooth iron to treat trailings and size the middlings. (Topeka Daily Capital, November 16, 1882.)
8. Junction City Union, January 10, March 21, 1885.
9. Enterprise Kansas Gazette, September 8, 1876.
10. The Salina Mill and Elevator Company in 1883 established a chain of elevators. (Salina Herald, April 26, 1883.)
11. Enterprise Gazette, March-April 1881, several mentions. Saline County Journal, March 26, 1885, A historical sketch of the development of the Underwood Mill.
12. Kansas Miller and Manufacturers, passim, 1888-1881. These matters would require separate studies in themselves, but the details are not essential to the immediate purposes of this book.
13. Kansas City Daily Times, July 29, August 3, 1880.
14. Ibid., August 3, 4, September 1, 2, October 7, 8, 1880. M. A. Carleton's statements in the Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture, 1914, p. 402-403 are incorrect, as no sales at the prices he quoted were recorded. On October 7 No. 2 soft, cash, was 78¾¢ bid, 79¼¢ asked; No. 2 hard, cash, was 76¢ bid, 77¢ asked. No sales were recorded.
15. J. L. Shellabarger, Shawnee Mills, Topeka, "Kansas Milling in early days," Sixteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industry for 1900, pp. 176-178.
16. Monthly Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture for ... April 30, 1883, p. 4.
17. Sixteenth Annual Report of the Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industry for 1900, pp. 185-187.
18. Ibid.
19. C. B. Hoffman, "Milling in the Kansas Wheat Belt," Thirteenth Biennial Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture . . . 1901-02, pp. 18-181.
20. Kansas Miller and Manufacturer, March, 1888, p. 8.
21. C. B. Hoffman letter, Kansas Miller and Manufacturer, October, 1891, p. 4-5.
22. Sixteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industry for 1900, pp. 184-185.
23. Annual Reports of the Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industry, 1886-1899.
24. Halstead Independent, September 12, 1884, June 15, 1888; Abilene Reflector, May 31, June 21, 1888; Chase County Leader, August 8, 1889.
25. Clark, Wheat Varieties, did not consider Ebersole, or Eversole, _as a hard wheat, but as similar to Fulcaster, Egyptian Amber, Turkish Amber, Deitz, Tuscan Island and Golden Chaff. Opinions of Kansas farmers are recorded in the Thirteenth Biennial Report of the Kansas State yBoard of Agriculture ... 1901-02, 18: 590, 609, 631.
26. Enterprise Independent, August 23, 1888.
27. Kansas Miller and Manufacturer, October 1892, p. 5.
28. Enterprise Journal, May 30, June 6, 1895; Eleventh and Twelfth Annual Reports of the Kansas Bureau of Labor and Industry, 1895, 1896.
29. Abilene Weekly Reflector, September 6, 1894.
30. Ibid., September 9, 1897
31. Ibid., July 29, 1897; September 15, 1S98.
32. M. A. Carleton, Yearbook, United States Department of Agriculture, 1900, pp. 535. Salina Herald, March 29, 1895.
33. From a seed wheat committee circular reprinted in the Abilene Weekly Reflector, December 13, 1900. Attention should be directed, however, to Shelton's description of the first Turkey wheats raised at the college in the early eighties as amber not red. Cf., Chapter 15.
34. Abilene Weekly Reflector, July 23, 1901.
35. Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture, reviewed in the Enterprise Journal, July 23, 1896.
36. M. A. Carleton, "Wheat improvement in Kansas," Thirteenth Biennial Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture .. 1901-02, 18: 499, 514-515.
37. Abilene Weekly Reflector, December 12, 1895.
38. C. B. Hoffman in Abilene Weekly Reflector, June 28, 1900.
39. Abilene Weekly Reflector, December 13, 1900; August 1, 1901.
40. Ibid., August 1, 22, 29, 1901. Halstead Independent, July 11, 1901.
41. Stafford County Republican, Stafford, September 7, 1905; July 26, 1906; Hays Free Press, September I, 1906. Russell Record, September 6, 1906.
42. DeKruif, Hunger Fighters. This book is popular in character and not careful in detail, but gives a biographical sketch of Carleton. Carleton's work with wheat is traceable with greater accuracy in his numerous writings; see especially for present purposes his "Successful wheat growing in semi-arid districts," Yearbook, 1900. United States Department of Agriculture (Washington, D. C.) 529-542.
43. Mark Mohler, "An experiment worth trying," Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture . . . June 30, 1890, pp. 17-18.
44. "Experiments at Fort Hays Branch Station, 1902-04", Bulletin No. 128. Experiment Station, K. S. A. C. The historical sketch is in pp. 253-259; Hays Free Press, August 22, 1904.
45. Ellis County News, Hays, August 21, 1903.
46. Announcernents published in the Russell Record, July 23, 1908 and in the Ellis County News, Hays, August 20, 1908.
47. The Daily Drover's Telegram, Kansas City, Mo., February 5, 1909.
48. John II. Parker, "Wheat Improvement in Kansas," Twenty-ninth Biennial Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture, 1933-34 34: 135-164. S. C. Salmon, "Establishing Kanred Wheat in Kansas," Agricultural Experiment Station, (K. S. A. C.) Circular No. 74, (August 1919). S. C. Salmon, et al., "Blackhull Wheat in Kansas," Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin No. 241, (June 1927).