In 1896, the World’s Food Fair and Home Congress was hosted at Mechanic’s Hall in Boston. More than 200 food producers from around the country attended to offer samples of their goods. One brand introduced at the event remains available today: King Arthur Flour.
King Arthur, the Vermont flour company, has roots all the way back to 1790 when Henry Wood began importing European flour to Long Wharf in Boston and the company chose the fair to announce it was releasing the product under the new name.
The 1896 congress was directed by Ellen Robinson, editor of a business magazine for women, the Business Portfolio, and sponsored by the grocers association. Robinson, an artist and writer, organized the event to showcase foods and cooking techniques.
In addition to food, the month-long evented featured art shows, lectures and forums on science, technology and nutrition. To jazz things up, also on offer were bands – providing four concerts a day – bicycle giveaways and 400 silver souvenir spoons given away each day to the first ticket-buyers of the day.
The mammoth event was modeled after other major fairs, and every state was invited to participate and trains offered special rates to encourage visitors from all around New England to attend.