Austin Church was born in 1799, at East Haddam, Connecticut. He studied medicine at Yale and received his doctorate in 1823. After marrying Nancy Dwight, Dr. Church moved to Hartford, Connecticut, and later lived in Rochester, New York.
Nancy Dwight’s brother, John, was born in South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1819, a descendant of the John Dwight who was born in England in 1600 and settled in Deedham, Massachusetts.
In 1846, these two New Englanders first prepared a product that would become a household name: bicarbonate of soda — that is, baking soda.
Church and Dwight’s first factory was the kitchen of the latter’s home, with baking soda packed in paper bags by hand. (Today, pure bicarbonate of soda is processed and packed by specialized modern machinery, never touched by human hands.)
A year later, in 1847, John Dwight and Company was formed. Dwight’s saleratus, “aerated salt,” adopted the Cow Brand as its trademark (owing to the use of sour milk with saleratus in baking). The standard package of the product weighed one pound.
Due to its popularity among consumers, Dr. Church saw a growing need and demand for baking soda. He developed larger production facilities and formed a partnership, Church & Company, with his sons, James A. Church and E. Dwight Church. They trademarked their product under the brand ARM & HAMMER™.
In 1896, the descendants of Austin Church and John Dwight consolidated their interests under the name of Church & Dwight Co., Inc.
Baking soda is now found in nearly every kitchen in the country, regarded as a necessity by millions of American consumers.
Of course, baking soda is no longer confined to the kitchen. It is used throughout the house, in every phase of housekeeping and personal hygiene. ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda, which was first prepared in a New England village, now is used the world over.