This one falls into the “did ya know?” category, because I certainly didn’t. One of the nation’s “cheeziest” treasures was created right here in Dayton.
Cheez-It brand crackers were first introduced in 1921 by the Green & Green Company, then located at the corners of Cincinnati and Concord streets. “You’ll like Cheez-It” was an early slogan promoting these cheesy crackers.
Below are a few things to know about the orange delights, thanks in part to the Dayton Metro Library’s awesome Special Collections Division, Kellogg (Cheez-It’s current parent company), and a little digging.
1.) The year was 1921
The first Cheez-It Logo was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on May 23, 1921. It was first introduced March 31 of that same year.
2.) Just a local kid
Green and Green Company President Weston Green was born in Greenville on April 15, 1868, according to his Dec. 30, 1926, obituary printed in the “Dayton Journal.”
He moved to Dayton with his parents John W. and Ellen Green as an infant in 1869 and was educated at local schools. The family moved to Fargo, N.D. several years later, but Weston attended Shattuck Military School in Faribault, Minn., graduating in 1884.
Weston relocated to Chicago in 1886 and lived there until he and his father moved back to Dayton in 1897 and ran their small cracker manufacturing outfit, Green, Green and Company, above the Victory theater (now known as the Victoria Theatre.) Weston’s brother Joseph W. Green eventually came into the business as its secretary-treasurer.
According to a Business Men of Dayton 1905-1906 profile available at Dayton History Books Online, Green and Green gradually grew “under the astute management of Mr. (Weston) Green and with harmonious cooperation of his father and brother until today is one of the few independent concerns that have succeeded in maintaining themselves in the face of the spirited competition that was offered by a gigantic combination which, when first formed, embraced two large houses in this city one of which has been abandoned, the local trade now being cared for from one establishment.”
The company eventually moved to its Cincinnati Street building. It incorporated as Green and Green Company in 1907 with Weston as the president. The company made Edgemont crackers, Dayton crackers, Flag crackers and other snacks.
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The Greens’ inventions include coating for crackers and a baking article that would give crackers a certain crisp or semi-crisp and tender characteristic and a light and airy condition, with the flavor of the permeating ingredient.”
4.) The Green brothers
Weston died at Miami Valley Hospital on Dec. 29, 1926 following an operation for appendicitis.
The Green and Green Company last appeared in the 1929-1930 Dayton City Directory, according to antique services website harryrinker.com. Joseph W. Green is listed as president of the American Manufacturing Company and manager of Loose-Wiles in the 1931 director, the website says.
5) From Green to Kellogg, Cheez-Its go on
Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company bought Green and Green in 1930, according to Kellogg’s Media Relations office. That company later became Sunshine Biscuit Company and remained at the corner of Cincinnati and Concord until at least 1972.
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Sunshine was acquired by Keebler in 1996. Keebler was bought in 2001 by Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg. The Sunshine label still remains on the Cheez-it box.
Today, there are now more than 15 different varieties of Cheez-it.