King Arthur Flour
|Type||Private company, employee-owned company|
|Headquarters||Norwich, Vermont, United States|
|Key people||Frank E. Sands II, chairman|
|Products||Flour, baking mixes, cookbooks|
|Employees||300 (as of 2012[update])|
|Subsidiaries||The Baker's Catalogue (mail order)|
The King Arthur Flour Company, formerly the "Sands, Taylor & Wood Company", is an American retailer of specialty flours, cookbooks, baking tools, ingredients and baked goods. The company was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1790, and is now based in Norwich, Vermont.
The King Arthur Flour Company was founded in 1790 in Boston, Massachusetts, by Henry Wood. Wood was primarily an importer and distributor, originally of English-milled flour. The business grew quickly, and Wood took on a partner in the early 1790s, forming Henry Wood & Company. Benjamin Franklin Sands took over the company in 1870, renaming it to reflect his ownership interest. In 1895, the company was reorganized as a joint-stock company, named Sands, Taylor & Wood Company after its then owners: Orin Sands, Mark Taylor, and George Wood (no relation to Henry Wood).
In 1896, Sands, Taylor & Wood decided to introduce a new brand of premium flour. George Wood had attended a performance of the musical King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, which inspired the name of the new product: King Arthur Flour. The brand was introduced at the Boston Food Fair on September 10, 1896, to substantial commercial success.
With Orin Sands's death in 1917, control of the company passed to his son, Frank E. Sands, grandfather of current chairman Frank E. Sands II. As the market for retail flour declined, the company expanded into the bakery market, first with wholesale flours and later (in the 1960s) into commercial baking equipment. Sands, Taylor & Wood also introduced other retail food products under the King Arthur name, including a line of coffee.
Sands, Taylor & Wood acquired Joseph Middleby, a maker of baking supplies such as prepared pie fillings, in 1973; three years later, that business was expanded with the purchase of H.A. Johnson. As interest rates rose through the 1970s, financial pressures forced the company to change strategy, and in 1978 then-president Frank E. Sands II sold off all but the core flour business and relocated the company from Brighton, Massachusetts to Norwich, Vermont.
Sands, Taylor & Wood Company converted to an employee-owned structure in 1996, and also changed its name to The King Arthur Flour Co., Inc., in reflection of its principal brand.
In addition to its flour business, King Arthur Flour also sells baking equipment and ingredients through its catalog, The Baker's Catalogue, and at its flagship store, The Baker's Store, located in Norwich, Vermont. It has also published four cookbooks, including the King Arthur 200th Anniversary Cookbook and the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, the latter of which was a James Beard Award winner for Cookbook of the Year in 2003.
In 2009, it was named one of the best five large companies to work for in Vermont.
In 2012, King Arthur Flour opened its Baking Education Center in Norwich, Vermont, offering classes and demonstrations to bakers of all skill levels.
- Sands, Brinna B. (1992). "Introduction & History". The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook (2nd ed. ed.). Countryman Press. pp. 12–19. ISBN 0-88150-247-2. LCC TX765.S265 1992.
- Hamel, PJ (September 10, 2013). "how did king arthur flour get its name?". King Arthur Flour. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
- The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. Countryman Press. 2003. ISBN 0-88150-581-1.
- "King Arthur Flour 2006 media kit" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- ""Best Companies" in Vt. announced". Burlington Free Press. February 11, 2009.
- "The Baking Education Center". King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. Retrieved 25 November 2012.