French s Mustard

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Brothers Robert and George French bought a flour mill in 1883 in Fairport, New York. It burned down in 1884 and they relocated the flour mill to Rochester, New York. They named their mill the R.T. French Company. Robert French died in 1893 and brother George became company president. George (who developed the creamy yellow mustard) and another brother, Francis, introduced French’s mustard in 1904.

French’s Cream Salad Mustard ad from 1922.
In 1926, French’s was sold to J. & J. Colman of the United Kingdom a company that as well as its own mustard brand produced home care products such as Lysol, Reckit’s Blue and Brasso, as well as other products such as the Frank’s Red Hot condiment line.[1]

In 1928, the Atlantis Sales Corporation was formed as a subsidiary of R. T. French to handle sales and distribution of French’s, Reckitt, and Colman products.[2] Atlantis remained a separate entity through the nineteen-fiftiesBuy it here now

In 1960, French’s purchased L. C. Forman and Sons Pickle Company of Pittsford, NY. Forman produced a variety of pickle products, including a well-known piccalilli relish.[3]

In 1965, French’s introduced a new line of “Cattlemen’s” barbecue sauce. The line was inaugurated with the trip of a horse-drawn “chuck wagon” from Buffalo, New York, across upstate New York to New York City and then to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in June, 1965.[4]

In 1970, the company purchased Widmer Wine Cellars of Naples, New York. The winery was sold in 1983.[5]

In 1985, the company sold its instant potato operations in Shelley, Idaho, to Pillsbury.[6]

In 1986, Reckitt and Colman acquired Durkee Famous Foods; in 1987, the two companies’ headquarters were consolidated in New Jersey.[7][8]

For many years, the fictitious “Carol French” was the face of the company. Her name appeared on numerous recipes and cookbooks, the oldest of which may be Dining Delights from 1948.[9]

Until 1987, French’s headquarters was located at 1 Mustard Street in Rochester, New York. The company continued to have roots in the area until 1987. During its heyday, French’s was a sponsor of the local weather forecast, featuring its address prominently in television advertising. They also were a prominent sponsor of the Rochester Red Wings baseball club, often in conjunction with a local brand of hot dogs, Tobin’s First Prize. The former headquarters location at 1 Mustard Street is now home to a variety of professional offices and public agencies.

French’s also had facilities in Shelley, Idaho, for potato products. A plant in Souderton, Pennsylvania, was constructed in 1957 and closed in the 1990s. A plant in Fresno, California, closed in 1994. Manufacturing operations were consolidated in Springfield, Missouri.

At one point R. T. French manufactured a complete line of spices and extracts, mustard and condiments, pickle products, sauce and gravy mixes, instant potato products, and pet care products. The company also owned Widmer Wine Cellars. As of 2012, French’s primarily markets prepared mustards.

French’s Potato Pancake mix was once one of the company’s most popular products. The mix is still available as part of the Hungry Jack line from Smucker’s. (Page for the product on MyBrands)

French’s also makes Worcestershire sauce, a Stadium type mustard, GourMayo, a line of mayonnaise-based products, as well as French’s fried onions which were sold under the Durkee brand name until Reckitt & Colman acquired Durkee.