Sunday, January 31, 2021

Pillsbury and Company

Charles Alfred Pillsbury graduated from Dartmouth College at the age of twenty-one. In 1869 he came to Minneapolis, where he bought an interest in a small flouring mill at the Falls. The purchase was viewed as a bad move at the time, since flour milling was neither stable nor lucrative and the Pillsbury had no milling experience. There were then four or five mills located there, of the old-fashioned pattern, using buhr stones for grinding grain.

Although young Pillsbury knew nothing of the flour business he quickly concerned himself with the supposed inferiority of spring wheat flour as compared to the winter wheat product.

Pillsbury's huskiness habits led him t0 a thorough investigation of the methods of the business in which he is engaged and he applied himself industriously to mastering the details of flour milling.

Pillsbury installed middlings purifiers, machines invented by Edmund La Croix, that could produce fine white flour from the district’s hard spring wheat. He also imported the roller process into the United States from Hungary.

The mill showed a $6,000 profit a year later. His was also the first American mill to use steam rollers instead of burr stones to crush the wheat. In 1870 Pillsbury leased a second mill, doubling the capacity of the firm.
In 1872 Mr. Pillsbury associated with him his father, George A. Pillsbury, his uncle, John S. Pillsbury having been with him since the beginning, and enlarged the scope of his operations. In 1872, he founded C.A. Pillsbury & Co. and began purchasing and building more mills. By 1886, the Pillsbury mills produced 10,000 barrels a day.

By 1880 the family partnership had acquired four other mills, and in 1881 they built the largest single flour mill and most advanced flour mill in the world named Pillsbury A Mill.

The mill began operation on July 5, 1881 with a 4,000 barrels-a-day capacity; two upright 55 Victor Water Wheels of 1,200 horse-power -each supplied the original power. The mill originally produced 5,000barrels of flour per day, a capacity later increased to more than 17,00 barrels. Pillsbury’s Best Flour is still sold around the world.

At a later period, his brother, the late F. C. Pillsbury, was admitted to the firm which continued as Charles A. Pillsbury & Co., until the acquisition of the milling property of this firm and that belonging to W. D. Washburn by an English syndicate, under the name of the Pillsbury-Washburn syndicate.

In 1928 Washburn-Crosby Co. becomes General Mills. General Mills bought Pillsbury in 2001 and succeeded to its interest in the joint venture.
Pillsbury and Company

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