Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chemical History: RI's Rumford Baking Powder

We are performing in Rumford Rhode Island for the opening ceremonies of the adorable Rumford Little League. This will be our fourth time with them and our 14th season as the MUNROE DAIRY MARCHING MILKMAN BAND.

I was telling my band mates about the history of Rumford Baking Powder.

National Historic Chemical Landmark
The American Chemical Society designated the development of baking powder by Eben Horsford at the Rumford Chemical Works as a National Historic Chemical Landmark in a ceremony in East Providence, Rhode Island, on June 12, 2006. The commemorative plaque reads:

In the mid-19th century, Eben Horsford, Rumford Professor at Harvard University, devised a unique mixture for baking, which he named “yeast powder” and later called baking powder. The acid component, calcium acid phosphate, originally manufactured from bones, replaced cream of tartar, an expensive byproduct of the European wine industry. The mixture of acid with sodium bicarbonate was stabilized by the addition of starch and marketed in one package. In the presence of moisture carbon dioxide is released, leavening biscuits, cookies, or other quick baking products. As a result of Horsford’s work, baking became easier, quicker, and more reliable.