How did an American company founded in 1790, just a few short years after the Revolution, end up being named after an English king?

The answer is quite "dramatic."

British troops landing on Boston's Long Wharf in 1768, from an engraving by Paul Revere.

In 1790, Boston businessman Henry Wood began importing flour from England, headquartering his new firm at the city's Long Wharf.

The United States, with nearly 4 million inhabitants, couldn't produce enough flour of its own to satisfy the bread-baking wives of the new nation's 16 states; Wood saw a sales opportunity and took it.


The business flourished over the next 106 years, eventually coming to be known as Sands, Taylor & Wood.

And then, one hot September day in 1896, a star was born.

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Messrs. Taylor, Sands, and Wood (l to r), at the Boston Food Fair in 1896.

"In 1896, Mark Taylor, Orin Sands, and George Wood, of the Sands, Taylor & Wood Company, introduced their new and exceptional product: King Arthur Flour. This new flour was milled from a unique blend of 100 percent hard wheat with no additives needed to enhance its baking qualities or appearance.

"Wood received inspiration for the name while in the audience of a Boston musical based on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He witnessed the same values in Arthurian legend he saw in his new exceptional flour: purity, loyalty, honesty, superior strength, and a dedication to a higher purpose.

"King Arthur Flour was introduced at the Boston Food Fair on September 10, 1896, and it became an immediate success." - from  Images of America: King Arthur Flour Company.

This all-American flour company, whimsically named after one of England's finest kings, has been building on that success ever since.

Interested in more King Arthur Flour history? Check out our history page

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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was an award-winning Maine journalist (favorite topics: sports and food) before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. Hired to write the newly launched Baker’s Catalogue, PJ became the small but growing company’s sixth employee.PJ wa...
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