Important dates in the history of Tone Brothers Inc.:
* 1873--Brothers Jehiel and I.E. Tone begin a spice and coffee business in Des Moines.
* 1888--Tone pioneers individual packages for spices, which traditionally had been sold to grocers in barrels and scooped out for customers. A two-ounce sealed paper package of pure ground black pepper is sold for 10 cents.
* 1894--Tone develops ready-roasted, unground coffee for sale by grocers.
* 1897--Jay Tone Sr., a onetime high school dropout and the son of I.E. Tone, returns from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and begins a career in the family business. A laboratory is added to the plant. One of the first of more than 40 patents is issued to Jay Tone for a device to extract vanilla from vanilla beans. He later makes extracts from lemon and other fruits.
* 1918--Tone begins using tin cans for spices, replacing paperboard cartons.
* 1932--Tone expands sales to the neighboring states of Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota.
* 1940s--Tone develops pressure-packed ground coffee containers and later sells the invention to Standard Brands.
* 1969--Tone is sold to Mid-Continent Bottlers Inc., Des Moines.
* 1978--Universal Foods of Milwaukee buys Mid-Continent.