How did King Arthur Flour get its name?

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.”

longwharf

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.

Excalibur

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.

photo 1[1]

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, including video.

 

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Neil Hawley

    This will be my third year as a judge for the King Arthur cooking contest in Jay VT on Aug. 8th. This year two of the judges will be dressed in old style judge robes complete with the white wigs. i will be dressed as the knight on the flour package. i was wondering if that knight has a name? The Jay Day festival committee hope to have a place in the parade for us. Please let me know if you have a name for the knight on the package.
    Thanks so much.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      I believe it’s Galahad on the package. Our Signature All Purpose Flour is also known as Sir Galahad in the business. Have a great time! ~MJ

  2. JCKeller88

    I loved this story about the logo. I have to share that my three-year-old grandson, who is not old enough to tell the cross of St. George from the symbol of the American Red Cross, looked at my box of gluten-free baking mix, pointed to the man on the horse and asked, “Grandma! Why is that man riding to the hospital???”

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for sharing, JC. We here at King Arthur all got a good laugh at your story this morning. We’re guessing your grandson is not the only child in the world wondering why the flour man looks like he is on this way to the ER! We love baking for the simple fact that it allows you to creates fun memories like these with the people you love. Happy baking! –Kye@KAF

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