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  • James Lewis Kraft was a Canadian-American entrepreneur and inventor. Of German origin, he was born near Stevensville, Ontario in Canada to Mennonite parents, George and Minerva Tripp Kraft. He was the first to patent processed cheese. Kraft was educated in the Stevensville area and worked nearby at Ferguson's general store in Fort Erie, Ontario. After immigrating to Buffalo and then Chicago in 1903, he began selling cheese from a horse-drawn wagon. Four of his brothers joined the company in 1909. By 1914 J.L. Kraft & Bros. Company, which later became 'Kraft Foods Inc opened its first cheese manufacturing plant in Stockton, Illinois. Kraft developed a revolutionary process, patented in 1916, for pasteurizing cheese so that it would resist spoiling and could be shipped long distances. The company grew quickly, expanding into Canada in 1919. Kraft saw a large increase in business during World War I when the United States government provided cheese in tins to their armed forces. J. L. Kraft served as the company's president from 1909 to 1953.

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