King Arthur Flour
|Private company, employee-owned company|
|Products||Flour, ingredients, baking mixes, cookbooks|
|Revenue||Not publicly disclosed|
Number of employees
|325 (as of 2014[update])|
|Subsidiaries||The Baker's Catalogue, Inc. (mail order)|
The King Arthur Flour Company, formerly the "Sands, Taylor & Wood Company", is an American supplier of flour, ingredients, baking mixes, cookbooks, 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 F. 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 business structure in 1996, and also changed its name to The King Arthur Flour Co., Inc., reflecting its principal brand.
In addition to its flour business, King Arthur Flour also sells baking equipment, ingredients, baking mixes, and cookbooks through its catalog, The Baker's Catalogue, website, 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.
The employee-owned company has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont every year since the inception of the award in 2006.
In 2012, King Arthur Flour opened a new flagship bakery, café, store and school in Norwich, Vermont, which offers classes and demonstrations to bakers of all skill levels.
- Sands, Brinna B. (1992). "Introduction & History". The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook (2nd 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.
- "Best Places to Work in Vermont". The Best Companies Group, Inc. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- "King Arthur Flour flagship campus in Norwich, Vermont". King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. Retrieved 26 August 2014.