Sunday, January 14, 2007


Ever wonder where Uncle Ben's "Converted" Brand Rice came from? Wonder no more! Welcome to the official reference for the works of Erich Gustav Huzenlaub, inventor of "The Huzenlaub Process" which is "Converted Rice." As was common in Germany during the 1800's, Erich took the names of his father and grandfather, so his official birth certificate name was "Erich Gustav Wilhelm August Louis Huzenlaub."

Over the years, there have been various stories surrounding the beginning of Uncle Ben's Converted Rice. This website provides researchers with the links to patents, correspondence, news, documents, research and photos that commemorate the works of Erich Gustav Huzenlaub and Francis Heron Rogers, two Europeans whose contributions have been lost over time.

The most important fact that has been shrouded over time surrounds the genesis of converted rice. The story shared to date is that a man, by the name of Gordon Harwell was primarily responsible for the development of the "conversion process" found in Uncle Ben's. This is not at all true. Rather, Harwell was a Houston food broker. He was not a chemist or inventor. He attempted to utilize a pressure cooker to preserve rice, but was unsuccessful. Instead he reached out to Erich Huzenlaub in London to convince him to work in the United States. It is also not true that Harwell "started" a company called "Rice Conversion." Rice Conversion, Ltd. was actually an existing London company founded by Erich Huzenlaub. As early as 1939, Huzenlaub and his close associate, Francis Heron Rogers, maintained the Rice Conversion, Ltd. offices at 14 & 19 Leadenhall Street in London, England near the Lloyds of London Building. Huzenlaub and Rogers have numerous patents to their mutual credit (see the actual patent filings below).

In the early 1940's, Erich Huzenlaub met and formed a close association with Forrest Mars, of Mars Incorporated. Mars was on business in England and learned of Huzenlaub's invention of the "converted rice" process. The two men became business partners, eventually developing "Mars and Huzenlaub." Mars admired Huzenlaub's accomplishments with food processes and financed his move to the United States. Working well together, they developed a mutual trust. Some of their correspondence will be posted on this site via the "Erich's Documents Archive" page.

Forrest Mars and Huzenlaub worked closely together throughout the development of the company which became Uncle Ben's, the first branded rice product in the world. At the request of Mars, Huzenlaub eventually worked with Harwell, the Texas food broker. Erich Huzenlaub's U.S. rights for the "Huzenlaub Process" patent was sold to Forrest Mars, Sr., an extremely successful US businessman. Forrest was later instrumental in bringing Erich Huzenlaub to the United States. Under the direction of Mars, Uncle Ben's has become the most successful branded rice company in the world.

Huzenlaub's achievements were not relegated to the converted rice process found in Uncle Ben's Converted Rice. That is simply the accomplishment for which he is best known. Huzenlaub worked in numerous countries around the world. To that end, if you have ever worked with Erich Gustav Huzenlaub in any capacity (Germany, France, Belgium, England, USA, Australia, Philippines, Hong Kong, India, or Africa) OR if you have studied / referenced his work (scientist, university, researcher), please send a detailed email sharing your personal or research encounter to

How has Huzenlaub's work influenced your research (past or present)? What were your experiences if you worked with Huzenlaub between 1888 and 1964? There are few people alive today that can share these stories and we thank you for your input!

We seek copies of any documents, research, citations, photos, references, stories, and other information you may have for educational purposes. All items should be emailed to

Utilize the links to the right and the patents below when in search of accurate information about Erich Huzenlaub, Francis Rogers, or their inventions (most especially related to their creation of the converted rice process).

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