HISTORY OF STORCK BAKING CO PARKERSBURG
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For the Storck Baking Co. of Parkersburg to make over 90,000 loaves of bread a day, obviously a large amount of dough must be kneaded. But apparently this is no problem, since its earlier years to approximately $6,000,000 at the present time. Much of this success may be attributed to the capable managing of Robert Storck, son of the founder of the company, Louis Storck. Today, Storck Baking Co. employs over 240 persons. In its infancy, there were only nine office personnel, with 12 in sales and production. With these com parisions in mind, it would perhaps be interesting to relate some of the factors of the rise in bread production.
Almost 52 years ago, a German immigrant purchased the Tonge Baking Co., and saw a future for himself in the baking business in the thriving little community of Parkersburg, W.Va. The plant that Louis Storck bought in 1919 was a small, 3,480 square foot building. Under his leadership, the plant grew from a one horse and wagon bakery to one of the largest bakeries in the eastern part of the country. The coverage area of the company, to note still another comparison, has grown to the greatest part of. West Virginia and parts of Ohio from a mere six mile radius of the city.
No article of food enters so much into the daily diet of Americans as "the staff of life." It is the one staple so necessary at each meal for so many people, the big reason why' bread got Its name the staff, of life. The name "Storck" has come to be regarded as synomymous with the highest quality of this ' great food reliance. According to the October, 1931, West Virginia Review, the product of the plant was on fined to bread alone in 1919, but added a cake department in 1924. By 1931 it was necessary for the bakery to expand to 28, 1 000 square feet of floor space, with ample reserve ground. The company felt that, with the growth of Parkersburg, the plant needed also to grow to keep up with the demand for bread and cakes. From the one horse and buggy system, Storck Baking Co. grew to 19 high powered motor trucks.
Louis Storck, as baker and manager of some of the state's largest bakeries, devoted many years of his life to the job of making better bread. As the West Virginia Review Stated, "In this, he has been a public benefactor, for he has contribute d generously to health, peace, and contentment by supplying to the people a break that is unexcelled in quality. Storck was born in Prussia, Germany, on Feb. 25, 1877. When he was 16 years old, he emigrated to America, determined to make his own place in life. He first went to Martins Ferry, 0., and entered upon a period of four years service in a bakery, thoroughly mastering the art and trade. He then began to' look about for an opportunity to establish a business of his own.
Wellsburg, W. Va. seemed to offer an inviting field In 1899, along with his brother, Daniel, Louis Storck established a bakery business at Wellsburg. The two brothers had a combined capital of $150 with which to found and establish their bakery, according to the Review. A combination of a high quality product, coupled with good business management, brought success to the project and increasing demands caused expansion of the original plant. In January, 1903, Storck bought an interest in the Juergens Baking Company at Wheeling and, in 1904, the Wellsburg plant was consolidated with the Wheeling bakery under the name of the Juergens Baking Company.
The Review stated that Fred H. Frazier became associated with the firm as joint manager of the company. Expansion was made in 1911, and the plant became part of the General Baking Company, with headquarters in New York City. Storck was made. manager of the Wheeling plant, remaining in that position until November, 1919, when he bought the Tonge company. The following is an account from the Review of 1931 on the process of making bread: is an interesting one when carried out by the automatic modern machinery, Every precaution is taken to preserve cleanliness of product and, for that reason, handling or manipulating the ingredients and the dough by hand is eliminated.
Pieces of machinery have been devised to care for all this, incling wrapping of the loaves of bread in waxed paper. Different grades of flour are blended together according to a fixed formula in order to get a uniform mixture. This blended flour is conveyed from great bins, each holding 19,600 pounds of flour, by automatic conveyers to a hopper immediately above the mixer. From these automatic hoppers, the flour, water, and other ingredients are fed into the mixers. Each mixer in the Storck plant is capable of mixing 1,200 pounds of dough every 15 minutes and the tireless arms of shining steel knead the dough with a thoroughness unequaled by any other means. When this mixing process is completed the dough is emptied into' large steel toughs and set aside to rise.
The dough then passes to an automatic dividing machine, in which weighs out and cuts the precise amount needed for each loaf. It is then passed to a machine that rounds it into a perfect sphere. This sphere goes to a device called an automatic proofer, is given its second rising, and is then automatically conveyed, to the moulding machine which moulds it into the loaf. As the moulded loaves emerge, they are placed in pans and conveyed to the proof room, where the dough is permitted to rise for the third and last time. The dough has passed through many machines, and is now ready for the oven. The pans are placed on trays in the giant traveling oven, which has a capacity of 2,500 loaves per hour.
The loaves travel continuously through his oven for a period of 35 minutes, all passing through the same degree of heat, insuring a uniformity of bake and finished with a tender nut brown crust and a firm, closely woven texture on the interior. After being wrapped by a very ingenious machine, the loaves are packed in cartons for shipment, or loaded on the delivery trucks that are lined up and waiting. These trucks move on a schedule as exacting as that followed by railroads, insuring delivery of a certain amount of bread or cakes at a certain time each day.
In 1963, the Storck Baking Co. bought the business and assets of the Conlon Baking Co. in Charleston, which gave them the largest coverage in this area. Then in 1969, Storck Baking Co. purchased the oldest bakery, the Wallace Baking Co. of Elkins. We may say, with tongue in cheek, that we were brought into this world by the stork. However, when we say that good bread and other bakery products are brought by Storck, we can lift our heads high and be proud to say that such a fine product comes to us from a firm right here in Parkersburg.
Hard Up Then, Too Why can't Parkersburg afford a street sprinkler? The Parkersburg Daily Times asked in 1869. Our dry goods merchants alone, the editor declared, could afford to keep one running all summer rather than suffer the loss and damage caused to their stock by dust.
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