Baking powder wars

Apparently the late 1800s was a brutal time for makers of baking powder. Who knew?

From approximately 1870 until 1906, companies vied for market share, each touting their recipe as the best. Some used aluminum as an ingredient. Some used cream of tartar. Both sides argued over which was better (or detrimental) for your health.

And of course, not all baking powders in the 1800s contained ingredients that were in any way wholesome. In the 1800s, various manufacturers pushed for federal regulation. In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act, which banned adulterated foods, was passed.

Clabber Girl Baking Powder debuted in 1899, originally as Clabber Baking Powder. People routinely added “Girl” to the name based on the picture of a girl on the label. In 1923, the company bowed to the popular moniker used for their product and officially changed the name to Clabber Girl Baking Powder.

In time the parent company, Hulman & Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, gobbled up other famous baking powder brands: Rumford Baking Powder, Hearth Club Baking Powder, and KC Baking Powder (1950); Davis Baking Powder (2002); Fleishmann’s Baking Powder (2003). The Clabber Girl Corporation, held by Hulman & Company, continues to produce all of these baking powders.

You can even buy them online from the Clabber Girl Corporation. Or better yet, stop by their bakery In Terre Haute where you can buy their products as well as sample baked goods, soups, and sandwiches. And while you are there, wander across the hall to the Clabber Girl Museum.


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