The King Milling Company has been family owned and operated for over one hundred years. From its humble beginnings using the stone grinding process, to the fully automated network of steel rolls today, the King Milling Company has always pushed to be on the leading edge of milling technology. A quick look at our history will show that our company has always strove to be a pioneer in the milling industry, finding the most efficient way to produce the highest quality flour and wheat products for our customers.
 

The first mill in Lowell, Michigan was built in 1844 on the east bank of the Flat River and was called the Forrest Mill. In 1867, the second mill in Lowell was built on the west bank of the River and called the Superior Mill. When the Superior Mill filed for bankruptcy in 1890, it was bought by a local lumber company owned by Francis King, his son Frank T. King, Reuben Quick , and Charles McCarty. Thus the King Milling Company was born.
 

King Milling Company "Superior Mill" 1941

These men quickly set to work updating this mill to the new "roller" process giving the mill capacity of 200 barrels of white flour a day (approximately 390cwt*). The company eventually bought out the Forrest Mill on the other side of the river and converted into a corn mill.

In 1900 another local lumberman named Thomas F. Doyle bought into King Milling and his three sons, Charles, Renis and William went to work for the company. Due to various reasons, in 1939 management of the company fell to the youngest of these brothers, William. Under his direction, the volume of the business increased substantially and vast improvements were made to the company as a whole. William directed the installation of new water turbines under both mills and also oversaw the construction of new concrete dam across the river to power the mills.

 

In 1943 the old Superior Mill burnt to the ground.  Instead of buckling under this setback, William used this as an opportunity to improve the mill and started to build.  Over the site where the wooden mill once stood, William built a new state of the art concrete mill filled with all the most modern milling equipment of its time.  When it was completed in 1945, this mill boasted 600 cwt. of daily flour production and could store 80,000 bushels of wheat.

This mill however was only in operation ten days when William died suddenly, passing the company to his two sons, King and Mike.  At the time, King was only 23 and was serving as an Ensign on a destroyer in the Pacific theater of WWII and Mike was 15.  The navy gave King a 90-day emergency leave, while his ship was in dry dock from a Kamikaze attack, to return home and straighten out his father’s accounts.  By the end of the 90 days the war was over and King was released from active duty and became President of the company.  Mike joined him as Vice President after duty in the Army during the Korean Conflict.

 

A-Mill Construction 1944
King and Mike continued to look to the future as they increased the capacity of the mill to 5,400 cwt and added a whole wheat mill capable of producing 4,000 cwt. of whole wheat products.  They also increased the storage capacity to approximately 2,800,000 bushels of wheat.  During this time, King Milling was one of the first mills to switch from the old bucket system for conveying flour to pneumatics.  They also introduced newer transportation systems including bulk trucking capabilities and a system loading 50,000 lbs of flour into the truck in just under four minutes.

 
 
 

Brian, King, Jim, and Stephen Doyle

 











Fifth Floor Expansion, 2004

King Milling Company developed and implemented a wheat steaming process in the 1960’s and further improved this process in the 1980’s.  The steaming process deactivates the enzymes of the wheat, giving them a longer shelf life and this steamed wheat is milled and sold under our Ceres® line of products.

The progressive attitudes did not stop with King and Mike but continues with King’s son Brian, and Mike’s sons Jim and Steven.  With the help of King and Mike, these three worked to fully automate the mill and King Milling became one of the first mills to do so. 
  
In 1985 King and Mike became less active in the daily operations of the company as Brian became President, Jim Senior Vice President, and Steven Vice President. Since then they have worked tirelessly to keep the mill ahead of the business employing the newest machinery and milling techniques. 
 
 In 2004 a fifth floor was added to the mill and much of the old milling equipment was removed and replaced.  This latest addition brought the mill up to the capacity of 8,000 cwt. per day. Using the same exterior structure built by William Doyle in 1945, the mill is now 85% more space efficient and produces 13 times the amount it could when it was originally built.

 

A “B-mill” was built in 2013 and boasts all of the latest and greatest in milling technology. This mill is capable of producing 5,000 cwt of white flour per day, bringing King Milling’s total white flour capacity to its present capacity of 13,000 cwt in white flour between two mills, as well as the 4,000 cwt in the whole wheat mill.

It is interesting to note that the article on the King Milling Company, in Lowell’s centennial book of 1931, boasted a capacity of 495 cwt. per day and an annual grind of 250,000 bushels.  The mill can now produce the 1931 daily capacity in about an hour and a half and grinds 250,000 bushels of wheat in about 18 days. It is also interesting to note that in the year 1890 there were 700 flour mills in the State of Michigan.  The number of mills dropped to 534 in the year 1900 and in 1958, the number dropped to 28.  Today there are only 6 flour mills remaining in the state of Michigan.

 
B-Mill Construction, 2013

 

At the King Milling Company we are proud of our history but always keep an eye to the future.  We strive to stay ahead of the technological curve to produce the consistent, high quality flour and wheat products for our customers. 

* 1 cwt. = 100 lbs

 
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