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Brand and Hardin: Flour, Lumber & Salt

“The name of Brand & Hardin loomed as the foremost one in the Saginaw Valley milling trade.”

“Who has not heard of Gold Medal Flour?* Then there was the O.K. Roller Patent brand, a fancy flour made from winter wheat, Special Patent brand, a fancy flour made from winter wheat, Special Patent, a fancy flour made from winter wheat, Special Patent, a straight winter wheat flour; Monarch, an all-spring wheat flour. Gold Medal was a blend of winter and spring wheat.”

--The Saginaw News, April 16, 1956


The week’s recipe celebrates two products that were once produced by Brand & Hardin – flour and salt. Located at Mackinaw Street and Niagara, the firm manufactured much more than these two products, we simply couldn’t locate a recipe that included wood shingles and animal feed.

Tracing its roots back to a flour mill started by Daniel Hardin in the 1850s, the company was reorganized and became Brand and Hardin. This 1887 description details the products and facilities:

Brand & Hardin. Manufacturers of Roller Process Flour; also Manufacturers of Shingles and Salt; Corner Water [Niagara] Mackinaw Streets, Saginaw City. This well known and prosperous firm was originally established in 1876, the members being Messrs. J.F. Brand and A.C. Hardin. They occupy a spacious and complete flour mill, four stories high, and 80 x 100 feet in dimensions, in which they have all the necessary machinery and appliances of the manufacture of flour of superior quality by roller process, and have recently made addition of a feed mill, into which they are now putting a complete outfit of roller process machinery. The flour mill has a capacity for the manufacture of 200 barrels of flour daily, and the firm have a salt block adjoining, with a capacity for the manufacture of 13,000 barrels per annum, and a shingle mill in the rear of these premises, in which they cut 3,000,000 shingles per season. Their whole premises cover an area of 150 x 235 feet, fronting on the railroad tracks of the Michigan Central Railroad, and running hack to complete docks on the river front. The firm have four engines, 75, 35, 25 and 15 horse power, respectively, using two large boilers, and making salt from exhaust steam, thereby securing great economy in the expense of their salt manufacture. In their flour mill a force of eighteen men and three horses are employed, and they have twenty-five

men employed in their shingle mill and salt works. The trade of the firm is very large, and so celebrated are their brands of “ Gold Medal," " O. K. Roller Patent," “Standard” and " Puritan, that the local demand, and that of the northern portion of Michigan, calls for their entire product. In shingles their trade is mainly in the States of Ohio and New York, while their salt is sold through the medium of the Michigan Salt Association. Messrs. Brand & Hardin are energetic business men, thoroughly understanding all the departments of the business in which they are engaged, and supervising all its operations with good judgment, dealing with the trade upon fair and accurate methods, which have secured for them a high place and a constantly growing trade and prosperity. (Leonard, J. W.. Industries of the Saginaws: Historical, Descriptive and Statistical. United States, J.M. Elstner & Company, 1887, p. 104.)

Well into the twentieth century, the company kept expanding and in 1912 added an elevator exclusively for the handling of beans where they employed about 45 women to “pick” beans. Eventually, the facility was taken over by Frutchey Bean Company. In 1956, the mill and attached elevator, which had become westside landmarks were destroyed by fire. The Saginaw News noted the iconic building’s passing:

“It gives a man a turn to hear that an old friend has died.

Many a West Sider felt that way today about the old Brand & Hardin flour mill – a grain storage elevator in the latter days of its almost 75 years on the Saginaw scene.” (The Saginaw News, April 8, 1956, p. 13.)

*No, there does not appear to be any connection between Brand & Hardin flour and the famous Pillsbury product of the Same name. In fact, Saginaw advertising as late as 1916, indicates local stores carried Gold Medal Flour made by both millers.,Medal%E2%84%A2%20flour%20was%20born.

The Recipe: Mrs. C. A. Schultz's Cream Scones

2 c. flour

4 T. butter

3 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs

1 T. sugar

½ c. evaporated milk

½ tsp. salt

Sift flour once. Measure. Add baking powder, sugar and salt and sift again. Cut in butter. Add well beaten eggs and milk. Turn on a lightly floured board. Roll to ¾-inch thickness. Cut in round or diamond shapes. Brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar and place in buttered pan. Bake 15 minutes in 400° oven. Makes 12.

Tester Notes:

I added lemon zest and blueberries.


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