Founder William H.Danforth
An early ad for Ralston Purina cereals.
Ralston Wheat Cereal was first manufactured by Purina in 1902.
Checkerboard Square in the 1940s.
A popular Purina ad image from the 1950's.
The All You Add is Love® ad campaign.
Ralston Purina headquarters today.
Purina O.N.E.® Brand Pet Food
The history of Ralston Purina Company is filled with twists and turns, and an occasional fork in the road. Our past is paved with vivid, often disparate images – from Brain Bread to dog litter, from Maud the Mule to the Energizer Bunny, from Purina Layena to Purina® Dog Chow® brand.
The one thread throughout this curious evolution is the ability to adapt. The Darwinian Concept of biological survival applied to business is not new. Given World Wars, the Great Depression, intense competition, and enormous shifts in business and technology, business survival over time is no mean task.
- William H. Danforth, Founder
- Horses Always Have to Eat
- Robinson-Danforth Commission Company is founded in St. Louis.
- Agricultural Volatility and Reform, and Manufacturing Might
- President and Majority Stockholder of Nothing
- A Whole Grain and a Doctor's Name; William H. Danforth assumes a leadership position and enters the cereal business with the endorsement of "Dr. Ralston."
- Thank you, Mrs. Brown; Ralston adopts the famous Checkerboard logo; The name of the Company is changed to Ralston Purina Company to reflect more accurately the business where "Purity is Paramount."
- Meet Me in St. Louis; Ralston gains exposure at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.
- Prosperity for America, but Not for All Americans
- Checkers and Chows
- Father Doesn't Always Know Best; Ralston opens its nutritional studies facility at Gray Summit, Missouri; Ralston purchases the Ry-Krisp plant in Minnesota.
- The Crash, The Great Depression and The New Deal
- Wheat Chex® is introduced.
- World War II and the Post-War Boom
- Rice Chex® is introduced.
- The Eager Eater; New Pressure Cooked Purina® Dog Chow® dog food is introduced for grocery distribution.
- Ralston manufactures and sells 5 million tons of Chow® brand animal feed for the first time.
- The Go-Go Years
- The Big Board and the Big Fire; Ralston stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange; a dust explosion and fire destroy the St. Louis plant.
- Ralston achieves its first $1 billion sales year.
- Ralston acquires Foodmaker, a California-based corporation engaged in preparing and supplying food for a chain of fast-food restaurants; Ralston invests in Keystone Resort.
- Inflation and the Energy Crisis Take Their Toll
- Ralston sales eclipse $3 billion.
- Ralston acquires Missouri Arena Corporation and the St. Louis Blues National Hockey League franchise.
- Bremner Biscuit Company is acquired.
- The Global Marketplace
- Bill Stiritz in named Chairman of Ralston Purina Company in January.
- Ralston acquires Continental Baking from ITT.
- The sale of restaurant operations is completed in a leveraged buyout to a new company owned by Foodmaker management and institutional investors.
- Ralston acquires Eveready Battery from Union Carbide Corporation; Ralston sells Purina Mills to a subsidiary of The British Petroleum Company.
- The Van Camp Seafood Division is sold.
- Ralston acquires Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation from Nestle.
- A New Reality
- Ralston spins off its cereal and smaller grocery human food businesses into a freestanding company named Ralcorp. The spin-off included Bremner, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation, Keystone and Breckenridge ski resorts and American Redemption Systems; Ralston celebrates its 100th Anniversary at the Annual Shareholder's Meeting in St. Louis.
- Ralston acquires the Golden Cat Corporation, North America's leading marketer of cat box filler; Ralston sells its baking subsidiary, Continental Baking Company, to Interstate Bakeries Corporation of Kansas City, Mo.
- William P. Stiritz, Ralston's Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, retires effective September 30, but remains as Ralston's Chairman of the Board.
- W. Patrick McGinnis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ralston's Pet Products Group, and J. Patrick Mulcahy, Chairman and CEO of Eveready Battery Company are elected to be Co-CEOs of Ralston Purina Company, effective October 1; Ralston completes the sale of its Protein Technologies International subsidiary to DuPont; Ralston Purina acquires Edward Baker Petfoods, the UK's leading manufacturer of extruded complete dry pet foods and a major supplier of branded and private label products to the European market, from Harrison & Crosfield plc.
- Ralston Purina Company completes the spin-off of Agribrands International Inc., formerly the Company's international agricultural animal feeds business.
- Ralston Purina announces its intention to separate its Eveready Battery Company subsidiary in a tax-free spin-off to shareholders. J. Patrick Mulcahy resigns as co-CEO of Ralston Purina Company, remaining CEO of Eveready Battery Company. W. Patrick McGinnis remains as CEO of Ralston Purina Company.
- Ralston Purina completes the spin-off of Eveready Battery Company.
- Ralston Purina Company purchased by Nestlé, S.A.
- Ralston Purina Canada Inc. becomes Nestlé Purina PetCare, a division of Nestlé Canada.
- Nestlé Purina opens a 100,000 square foot warehouse at its factory in Innisfail Alberta, to distribute all Purina products for Western Canada.