Over one hundred and fifty years ago, in 1846, two natives of New England took the first step toward establishing an industry that has since become of national importance in the US. Baking soda, which is a common name for bicarbonate of soda, is now found in practically every kitchen throughout the U.S. and is regarded a necessity by millions of Americans. It was first prepared for commercial distribution by two early New Englanders, John Dwight of Massachusetts and his brother-in-law, Dr. Austin Church of Connecticut.
Dr. Austin Church was born the year George Washington died, 1799, at East Haddam, Connecticut. He studied medicine at Yale, and received his doctorate in 1823. After marrying Nancy Dwight, he moved to Hartford, Connecticut, and later lived in Rochester, New York.
John Dwight was born in South Hadley, Massachusetts, in 1819, a descendant of the John Dwight born in the U.S. in 1600, who settled at Deedham, Massachusetts.
John Dwight and his brother-in-law, Dr. Church, started the manufacture of bicarbonate of soda in this country in 1846. The first factory was in the kitchen of his home with baking soda put in paper bags by hand. (Today, the pure bicarbonate of soda is processed and packed by highly specialised modern machinery and reaches the consumer never having been touched by human hands.)
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