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The History of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

In 1846, brothers-in-law Dr. Austin Church and John Dwight started packaging bicarbonate of soda for commercial distribution. At first, they worked out of Dwight's kitchen and a year later, John Dwight and Company was officially formed. They began by selling baking soda under the name Dwight's Saleratus (Latin for aerated salt, another term for baking soda) with Lady Maud, a prize-winning Jersey cow shown at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, as the packaging mascot. In 1867, Austin Church retired and Church & Co. was formed by his two sons. The famous Arm & Hammer logo was brought over from his son James’s business, Vulcan Spice Mills; it symbolizes Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. In 1896 — just one year after the release of their “Beautiful Birds of America” trading cards, which were meant to promote environmentalism — Church & Company and John Dwight & Company officially merged to form Church & Dwight Co., Inc. The newly merged company continued to manufacture their branded Arm & Hammer Baking Soda but reportedly discontinued distribution under the name Dwight's Saleratus around this time. In 1907, the company began using recycled paperboard packaging; this is notable because recycling was not a popular practice at the time. In 1922, the Arm & Hammer “A Friend in Need” health education booklet was circulated; it was aimed at teaching consumers looking for money-saving tips all about how Arm & Hammer Baking Soda could be used for affordable personal care. The company also began running ads in national magazines like Good Housekeeping and McCall’s toward the end of the decade. In 1950, Arm & Hammer released the first reference wheel to help consumers easily look up the product’s different uses around the home. In 1970, the company served as corporate sponsor for the first Earth Day. The concept of keeping the refrigerator fresh with a box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda was introduced in 1972. In 1986, Arm & Hammer Baking Soda was used to clean the Statue of Liberty ahead of her 100th anniversary, and in 1997, Arm & Hammer got a website. Today, Arm & Hammer Baking Soda remains a popular product not only for baking but also for household cleaning and is considered one of the most recognizable brand names in America.

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