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Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Standard Brands Incorporated - Lehman Brothers Collection

Standard Brands Incorporated

List of Deals

In 1929 the Fleischmann Company, the Royal Baking Powder Company, and Chase and Sanborn merged to become Standard Brands Incorporated. Later, in August of that year, the Canadian branches of the parent companies, including E.W. Gillett, officially became known as Standard Brands Limited.

The origin of the Fleischmann Company dates to 1868 when two brothers who were bakers, Maximilian and Charles Fleischmann, joined with James M. Gaff, a well-known Cincinnati distiller, to form Gaff, Fleischmann & Company. The firm began manufacturing the first compressed yeast in the United States. The name was changed to Fleischmann & Company in 1905 after the death of James Gaff.

The Royal Baking Company was created in 1863 by two druggists, Thomas Biddle and Joseph Hoagland, who developed the idea of mixing baking soda and cream of tartar in a premixed container so that homemakers did not need to do it themselves. Their product was called Royal Baking Powder and the business grew rapidly after its introduction. In 1873 the company was incorporated, and in 1899 the headquarters was moved to New York. The company introduced Royal gelatin desserts in 1925.

In 1863 two Boston coffee and tea merchants, Caleb Chase and James Sanborn, combined their efforts to form a single company, Chase & Sanborn. In 1878 their company became the first to pack and ship roasted coffee in sealed cans.

During the 1930s, the companies that comprised Standard Brands continue to introduce new products and new ways to market their goods, both in the United States and in new markets abroad. Fleischmann’s yeast was advertised on a nationwide radio program called “Bakers Broadcast.” In 1934 Chicago held a “Century of Progress” World’s Fair at which Fleichmann sponsored an exhibit for the baking industry. Fleischmann began selling products in Ecuador and the Philippines in 1935 and in Colombia in 1938.

When the New York World’s Fair opened in 1939, Standard Brands had its own pavilion, displaying its largest exhibition ever. During the 1940s, Royal Baking introduced Royal Tapioca, and Fleischmann introduced its “Preferred” blended whiskey and bought the Davies County Distilling Company of Kentucky, a producer of bourbon. Standard bought the Standard Margarine Company of Indianapolis in 1942, adding to the company’s expanding list of products.

The years after World War II and through the 1950s represented a time of accelerated growth and development. Fleischmann Uruguaya Inc. began operations in 1946, and in the following year Standard Brands International was formed as a wholly owned subsidiary to market the company’s products throughout the world. An array of new products continued to be produced: Chase & Sanborn introduced vacuum-packed coffee and instant tea in 1947, followed by instant “Tender Leaf” tea, the first water-soluble tea product on the market. “Royal Dark’n Sweet” pudding as well as Royal custard flavor dessert were introduced. Fleischmann introduced its fast-rising dry yeast in 1948.

Standard Brands acquired the Clinton Corn Processing Company of Clinton, Iowa, an established leader in the corn processing industry, in 1956. It also introduced Fleischmann Vodka.

In 1961 Standard Brands acquired Planters Nut and Chocolate Company, a leading processor in the nut industry founded in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, by two Italian immigrants, Amedeo Obici and Mario Peruzzi. In 1964 it also purchased the Curtiss Candy Company of Chicago, a leader in the confectionary industry with products such as “Baby Ruth” and “Butterfinger” candy bars. It had been started by Otto Schnering in 1916.

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