Robert Rountree Reinhart was born July 30, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois and started working at Quaker Oats at the age of 17 to escape the great depression. After returning from World War II he went back work maintaining Quaker equipment.
But his blue collar was not to last. The guys in the white lab coats were puzzled over how to fix a machine for making puffed rice. Bob overheard them talking about their frustrations with the machine and decided to take a look.
Bob, a man with no college education, drew up some drawings on how to fix the rice puffing machine. The researchers tried his solution. It worked. Bob got promoted. Around that time he married his high school sweetheart, Ruth Duncan.
Robert worked at Quaker till 1983, during which he was awarded roughly two dozen patents. He the team that developed Captain Crunch. He received the 1965 Fredus N. Peters Award from the Quaker Oats Company for his work on the Captain Crunch Machine and Recipe.
He was always fiddling. His children grew up eating cereal out of plain white boxes labeled A, B and C. Before school they had to suffer an interrogation as to which cereal they liked best and why. "They all taste the same" and "I like them all" were not acceptable answers.
Original Captain Crunch Doll & 1965 Fredus N. Peters Award
Captain Crunch was one of the first cereals to use oil in the recipe. Take a piece and squeeze it between your fingers to see for yourself. The oil delivers the flavor to your tongue making Captain Crunch one of the best tasting and best selling cereals. It also caused problems early on getting the cereal to bake correctly. Captain Crunch was optimized for taste, not health.
Captain Crunch was also known in the early days for including a small toy in every box. I remember loving getting the toys as a kid.
Bob the inventor of captain crunch and contributor to Life Cereal invented a third cereal. He called it Tippy Canoes and the cereal pieces were shaped like canoes that would float along the surface of the milk. He and the others who tried the test versions considered it his best cereal but the Quaker Oats executives did not agree. Or at least not enough to risk a million dollar product launch.
A long time resident of Des Plaines, Bob was a member of the 1st Congregational Church of Des Plaines. He is survived by two sisters, Lorraine Schmitz of Concord, California, and Marion Meyer of Buffalo, Michigan.
He is also survived by his three children:
- Robert Rountree Reinhart Jr. and his wife Beth, of Roseville, Minnesota
- Gregory Duncan Reinhart and his wife Ruth, of College Station, Texas
- Virginia Ruth (Ginger) Umstattd and her husband Tom, of Austin, Texas
Bob is survived by ten grandchildren:
- Andrea Reinhart Marston
- Jessica Reinhart Lind
- Rebecca Reinhart
- Katherine Reinhart
- Timothy Reinhart
- Thomas Umstattd, Jr.
- Cynthia Umstattd
- David Umstattd
- William Umstattd
- John Umstattd
Bob Reinhart was my grandfather and I will miss him. My pantry is full of Life Cerial that I eat it in his honor. I apologize for my lack of posts these last couple weeks. During the chaos of the last two weeks I let this blog slip.