Here's What Inspired Quaker Oats' Name

From its humble beginnings as a cereal company, the Quaker Oats Company grew to include hundreds of food products — from frozen waffles to Gatorade — before it was bought by PepsiCo, Inc. in 2001, according to Britannica.

From its founding in 1850, Quaker Oats Company has done its fair share of acquiring other companies, and not just food products (it purchased Fisher-Price toy company in 1969). The cereal company traces its start back to Ferdinand Schumacher, who opened the German Mills American Cereal Company in Akron, Ohio, and John Stuart, who created the North Star Mills Company in Canada, according to the company's website. Over time, multiple companies combined and went through leadership changes before it became the American Cereal Company in 1888. It became known as the Quaker Oats Company in 1901, per Britannica, and sold a variety of products. In addition to its oat and wheat cereals, Quaker Oats Company sold corn meal, baby food, and animal feed.

A principled name

It was in the early days of what became known as the Quaker Oats Company that an image of a Quaker man became its logo. According to the Quaker Oats' website, the company registered a "figure of a man in 'Quaker garb'" with the U.S. Patent Office, although the person who actually picked the name and logo is disputed. The idea to have Quaker in the name of the company was claimed by two former owners, Henry Seymour and William Heston, who both said the word depicted honesty and quality, according to the company.

The Quakers, or Religious Society of Friends, believes that God exists in everyone, according to History. The religious group was started in the 1600s in England where the group was persecuted for their beliefs. Quakers emigrated to the United States as their numbers grew. Quakers believed in many human rights causes. The name and logo became more widely known after a magazine advertisement for the cereal was published in 1882, according to Quaker Oats. The image of the Quaker on the company's products continues to evolve through the years. In 2012, the Quaker man underwent some appearance changes, with Business Insider observing he looks thinner. 

While Quaker Oats and its logos may have undergone some changes in its long history, it's clear its products are here to stay.