BRAND NAME COOKING WITH PILLSBURY
The official company website:
Holiday Baking: For the
best holiday baking, many cooks still turn to an old favorite:
Pillsbury's Best 1000 Recipes: Best
of the Bake-Off Collection. A hardcover book
published in 1959, it featured the best recipes from the
Pillsbury Bake-Off contests, which had by that time been
going strong for ten years. It's a popular and elusive
out-of-print cookbook, but worth the hunt.
The following is an excerpt from the book Ideas that
Became Big Business by Clinton Woods. Published by Founders,
Inc. Baltimore, MD, 1959, 414 pages.
Buy this book:
Became Big Business
The Pillsbury Story
The history of the Pillsbury Company is a
history of individuals throughout the years pioneering new
ways of doing things, better ways of doing things, and
introducing new products.
"John Sargent Pillsbury was a pioneering individual.
Back in 1853 he moved west from New England looking for
places start new businesses. He stopped at a struggling
settlement of 1,500 people near the cascading power of St.
Anthony Falls (later to become Minneapolis) on the
Mississippi River. With water power available he saw
immediately the possibilities for mills; not only lumber
mills but flours mills as well. He decided to stay and
within a few years had become a prominent member of the
community, widely known throughout Minnesota as a public
spirited citizen and successful businessman.
The Pillsbury's entrance into flour milling began in 1869
when three Pillsburys--John S., Charles Alfred, and George
A. jointly bought a one-third interest in a broken-down 250
barrel-a-day flour mill in Minneapolis. The townsmen though
their $10,000 investment a shaky one.
By 1872 the Pillsburys were sole owners of their flour mill
and had begun to enlarge its capacity. They switched from
the stone to the roller process, introduced the
revolutionary Middlings Purifier and made Pillsbury's Best
world famous as a premium flour. In 1881 the Pillsburys
completed construction of their Minneapolis "A" mill, a
milestone in the milling industry. In 1886 Fred C. Pillsbury
introduced bran--at that point a useless byproduct--as an
animal feed and gave impetus to a new feed industry.
A major changed occurred in 1889 when an English syndicate
bought the company but kept Charles A. Pillsbury, company
founder, and his uncle, Minnesota Governor John S.
Pillsbury, as managing directors. From 1900 to 1909 the
company, then known as Pillsbury-Washburn, Ltd. was operated
by absentee management. The interest of home ownership was
not there and both product quality and financial returns
Finally, in 1907 the company was forced into receivership.
In September of 1909 the mills were leased back from the
British owners and the name changed to Pillsbury Flour
Mills. The newly organized operation was headed by A. C.
Loring, a great merchant miller, and young, second
generation Pillsburys: the late A. F. Pillsbury, John S.
Pillsbury (now honorary chairman, board of directors) and
his twin brother, the late Charles S. Pillsbury.
By 1923 the Minneapolis milling men had pulled the old
company out of the hole and were able to buy back complete
control and all the real properties of Pillsbury-Washburn
from English investors. American control in the Pillsbury
tradition of quality was re-established. By 1930 Pillsbury
flour mills began to dot the country in Atchison, Kansas;
Buffalo, N.Y.; Enid, Okla.; Astoria, Oregon and Springfield,
In 1940 Philip W. Pillsbury, current chairman of the board,
was elected president and began the modern era of Pillsbury
expansion, product research and diversification.
Globe Mills was acquired to step up West Coast operations.
Feed and soy plants were established at two Iowa points.
In the company's 75th anniversary year "Ann Pillsbury" was
created to extend the company's concept of service to home
makers through the facilities of a Home Service Center. The
Ann Pillsbury Home Service Center now occupies the entire
13th floor of the Pillsbury Building in Minneapolis. More
expansion followed: a feed mill at Lima, Ohio, a number of
grain storage elevators and additional research and
development laboratories in Minneapolis.
Since World War II the Pillsbury family of foods has been
rapidly growing to include a variety of bakery,
institutional and consumer baking mixes. Expansion of
facilities at Springfield in 1949 gave Pillsbury the most
modern bakery and institutional mix plant in the world.
In 1948 Pillsbury introduced a new word--"Bake-Off"--to the
language by launching its famous annual Grand National
Baking and Recipe Contest, designed to select the 100 best
American recipes each year. The Bake-Off is the core of a
recipe service to homemakers which is unequaled anywhere.
In 1951 Pillsbury increased its flour milling and formula
feed processing distribution in the Southeastern U.S. with
the purchase of Ballard & Ballard Company at Louisville,
Kentucky. This acquisition also launched Pillsbury in the
refrigerated food products business. The original Ballard
line of biscuits now includes four kinds of Pillsbury and
Ballard biscuits as well as a line of refrigerated cookies
and specialty rolls.
The company increased its mix manufacturing facilities in
1952 with the purchase of the American Home Foods plant at
Hamilton, Ohio. In the same year, two modern flour mills
were acquired at Calgary, Alberta; and Midland, Ontario.
Grain storage facilities were greatly expanded at Buffalo,
N.Y. by purchase of the Buffalo Pool elevator on Lake Erie.
With the growth of its refrigerated food sales Pillsbury
expanded production with new plants at Los Angeles, Calif.
and Downington, Penn., late in 1953 bringing the number of
these plants to five. Pillsbury's next move was a cake mix
plant built at London, Ontario in 1954 to satisfy the
growing Canadian consumer market. The feed division leased a
modern push button feed plant that year at Gainesville,
Georgia. Other production facilities new since 1954 include
a refrigerated products plant at East Greenville, Pa., a
refrigerated plan and research laboratories under
construction at New Albany, Indiana, a combined baking mix
and refrigerated product plant at Midland, Ontario, feed
division facilities leased at Reedley ad Modesto, Calif.,
construction started on a modern feed plant in Jasper,
In 1957 the company announced the first major break-through
in flour milling technology since the introduction of the
steel roller and purifiers in the 1870's. The new process,
referred to as Turbo Milling uses an unusual application of
the air-vortex principle to create man-made hurricanes in
which flour particles are reduced and separated. Using this
process, Pillsbury ahs been able to produce entirely new
kinds of flours, differing chemically and physically from
any flours produced by conventional milling methods.
Pillsbury today is the world's second largest flour milling
company. The company's stockholders now number more than
12,000. Pillsbury is the world's largest exporter of flour,
manufactures bakery flour and mixes, refrigerated food
products, is a major factor in grain and feed ingredients
merchandising and the manufacture of animal formula feeds."