Our historyTwo centuries of baking joy.
King Arthur Baking Company has a long and storied history, stretching back nearly to the American Revolution. We've been providing bakers with superior flour since 1790: from Martha Washington's apple pie through the invention of the chocolate chip cookie, from flour in wooden barrels to bags at the supermarket, we've been there. Simply put, King Arthur and American baking have been close companions since the very beginning.
America's First Flour Company Is Founded
There were 13 states in the new United States. George Washington was America's first president. And Henry Wood began importing flour from England, establishing his business at Boston's Long Wharf. Henry Wood & Company, the original ancestor of King Arthur Baking Company, was the first flour company in the young United States — and first food company in New England.
First Apple Pie Appears
"As American as apple pie" — but when did the original recipe for this iconic pie appear? In Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery, handwritten by the first president's wife during the latter part of the 18th century.
We Begin Milling Flour From American-Grown Wheat
We begin milling flour from American-grown wheat. As American farmers moved west, wheat farming flourished. A more bountiful wheat supply, along with the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, made it possible for Henry Wood & Company to stop its English wheat imports and begin selling American-milled flour.
San Francisco Sourdough: Feeding The Miners
Gold was discovered in northern California in 1848, and the rush was on. Hungry miners developed naturally fermented "sourdough" as a way to bake bread. And in 1849, The French Bakery became the first shop in San Francisco offering sourdough bread for sale.
Pecan Pie Makes Its Debut
Pecan pie became a stalwart of Southern baking in the twentieth century. But its first actual appearance was in Harper's Bazaar magazine, which published a rudimentary recipe in 1886.
Our Flour Gets A Name: King Arthur
The Sands, Taylor, & Wood Company introduced its "new and improved" flour at the Boston Food Fair, naming it King Arthur for its Arthurian attributes: "purity, loyalty, honesty, superior strength, and a dedication to a higher purpose."
New York City's First Pizzeria Opens
Pizza was brought to America in the late 19th century, courtesy of a wave of Italian immigrants. But it wasn't considered "takeout" until 1905, when Gennaro Lombardi began selling pizza out of his New York City grocery store — thus establishing America's first pizzeria.
Banana Bread Starts Its Rise To Popularity
That most ubiquitous of quick breads, banana bread, first appeared on the American scene in 1930 not to showcase bananas — but thanks to the increasing availability of commercial baking powder and baking soda.
The Chocolate Chip Cookie Is Born
A landmark moment in cookie history took place in 1933 when Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, added chopped chocolate to her sugar cookie recipe in an attempt to create a chocolate cookie. The chocolate didn't melt... and the chocolate chip cookie was born.
King Arthur Expands
After a mid-century expansion, by 1968 King Arthur had become New England's largest bakery supply distributor, offering virtually every ingredient used by professional bakers, from pie fillings to flavorings to ice cream toppings. In the late 1970s, the business decided to return to its original mission: selling flour to home and professional bakers.
Zucchini Bread Invades American Kitchens
The back-to-the-land movement of the 1960s extended into the 1970s, with people embracing "grow your own" and healthier natural foods. One of the first and most popular recipes for zucchini bread appeared in Beard on Bread in 1973.
Boston To Vermont: King Arthur Establishes A New Home
After nearly 200 years headquartered in Boston, King Arthur moved north to Norwich, Vermont. Over the next 10 years, the company grew quickly, and in 1995 launched an ambitious building project destined to become today's flagship campus.
The Baker's Catalogue Is Launched
With the demand for King Arthur flour growing beyond New England, the company launched The Baker's Catalogue. Mailed to 10,000 customers, the small, black-and-white catalogue included baking tools, bowls — and flour, of course.
Chocolate Lava Cake Explodes
Chocolate took prime place on restaurant dessert menus during the 1980s, with soft-center chocolate soufflé cakes appearing regularly. In 1991, the chocolate lava cake — chocolate cake with a truly liquid center — erupted at various New York City restaurants.
We Begin Our Middle School Outreach Program
In 1992, King Arthur's Life Skills Bread Baking program taught 900 Connecticut schoolchildren to bake bread and share it with those less fortunate. Today, our Bake for Good program has expanded nationwide, and has reached hundreds of thousands of middle school kids.
King Arthur Goes Online
Christmas Day 1996 marked the launch of the company's first website, showcasing 13 recipes, an invitation to "sign our guest book," and information on our four different flours. Today, the site features more than 2,000 recipes, 1,500+ blog posts, and 1,000 baking products.
Our Bakery And Baking School Open Their Doors
A long-time dream of King Arthur co-owner Brinna Sands was for the business to open an onsite bakery and school. After years of research and planning, Brinna's dream came true: The King Arthur Flour Bakery and Baking Education Center opened their doors on our Norwich, Vermont campus.
King Arthur Becomes Employee-Owned
In 1996, owners Frank and Brinna Sands, in order to ensure King Arthur would remain in good and caring hands after their retirement, decided to sell the company to its employees. The sale was completed in 2004.
King Arthur Joins B Corp as a Founding Member
Carrying on a long-time business commitment to do the right thing, King Arthur proudly became a founding B Corp member, changing its bylaws to reflect its commitment to all stakeholders: shareholders, business partners, the community, and the environment.
King Arthur introduces the wheat crown
After 230 years of baking, we decided it was time to change our company’s name and logo to better represent who we have become and the things we believe in. The wheat crown represents our heritage, our quality, and our commitment to agriculture.