Jacob Loose left school in Illinois at age 16 and took a job earning $5 a week. Four years later, he and his brother, Joseph, opened a dry goods store in Chetopa, Kansas. In 1878, he married Ella Clark of Carthage, Missouri. Jacob founded the American Biscuit Company in 1880.
By 1898, the company owned 17 regional bakeries across the United States. The American Biscuit Company then merged with the National Biscuit Company (NABISCO) in 1899. Shortly after the merger, Jacob became ill and he and Ella moved to England for several years. In 1902, Jacob, his brother, and John H. Wiles formed the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company in Kansas City, which was renamed Sunshine Biscuits in 1946.
In 1905, Jacob and his company were responsible for inventing the Hydrox cookie. And in 1917, they introduced the soda cracker. Jacob’s companies developed creative packaging for their products, and many of them quickly became collector’s items. By 1925, Loose-Wiles employed 30,000 people throughout the United States.
After a serious illness, Jacob Loose semi-retired in 1919 and died at his summer home in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1923. Their beautiful ocean-side estate home no longer stands.