Dake & Woodman Bakery
Life Span: 1866-1871
Location: 156 Dearborn, Rear of McVickers Theatre
Chicago Tribune, January 8, 1866
AERATED BREAD AND CRACKERS.
The New Bakery of Dake & Woodman—Important Improvements in the Manufacture.
Man being, according to some matter-of-fact philosophers, definable as a patent digestive apparatus, it is to be expected that every thing having any relation to those important functions of the machine known as the digestive organs, most necessarily be viewed with peculiar interest. Bread is a highly important element in the creation and sustenance of this human machine. It is popularly known as the staff of life; it is the main prop of the the edifice—of the house not built with hands; and according to the nature and quality of this material, so will the result be. A man whose existence depends exclusively upon potatoes, will naturally turn out a Fenian. As the human race progresses, a better, more nutritious kind of food is demanded, and there is no limit to the improvements which may be made upon this very indispensable article of consumption.
One of the most desirable improvements in the manufacture of bread is one of recent introduction, which has given us the cheapest and most wholesome diet now in use. We mean the aerated bread, which is now manufactured in the city by Messrs. Dake & Woodman, of No. 156 Dearborn street. This popular firm baa been identified with the manufacture for some time in Chicago. which derives almost its entire supply from their establishment. Mr. Woodman has been for eight years connected with the bakery basinets, which he carried on with success at the corner of Dearborn and Illinois streets. Mr. Dake has long been favorably known to the public as a member of the firm of Oliver Kendall A Sons, from which be separated to enter upon their present enterprise, which under the joint management of himself and Mr. Woodman, has prospered largely and continues to prosper. Although they carry on an extensive business in the regular bakery trade, the great feature of their business, and the one for which they have become chiefly noted, is the article called aerated bread, and the tea crackers, which are widely celebrated throughout the country.
Messrs. Dake & Woodman nave recently extended their establishment by tbe erection of a new building at the rear of McVicker’s Theatre, at the cost of $75,000, inclusive of interior arrangements. With the extensive facilities now at their command, and which the rapidly increasing trade has rendered necessary, they will be enabled to supply the great demand for this article. They secured the right for the manufacture of aerated bread on the 20th of April last, and also tbe right for aerated crackers, from the patentee, Joseph Fox, of Lansingburgh, New York, who baa the only other machine tor the manufacture of the latter, in existence. This right was purchased aged at a cost of $10,000. The Fox crackers are deservedly celebrated in every part of the Union, and are perhaps the most popular which have yet been made. The process by which these ore tamed out, is of highly interesting, and merits a passing notice.
The dough being property mixed, is first rolled into thin cakes or plates, and then put through a machine, which takes hold of the plates, separating the material into ten or more strips as it passes through. These are carried under a stamp, and after receiving the impression which forms a beautiful cracker, and by a peculiar arrangement condensed, they are distributed by the machine on the tray which conveys them to the oven—one of McKenzie’s patent revolvers, on which the crackers being placed on a rotating wheel, are ensured an equable baking without danger of burning.
The manufacturers are at present turning out at an avenge, eighty barrels of these crackers per day. The consumption is increasing, and orders arc multiplying so rapidly that Messrs. Dake & Woodman nave ordered three extra machines, which will be in operation aa soon as they can be forwarded and set up.
The manufacture of the Fox crackers constitutes only one branch of the business. The demand for the aerated brand is increasing at an equal ratio. Over 9,000 loaves of bread per day are produced bv that new and superior process which is on all hands allowed to be a vast improvement upon the old system in many important respects. It is great comfort to the consumer to know that the morsel which he is masticating has never been contaminated by the touch of clean or unclean bands. He is sever startled by the discovery of a hair which bears a suspicious resemblance to that of the baker’s boy who brought it. The aerated bread as is well known is made solely by the aid of machinery. Two barrels of flour, thoroughly allied, and mixed with filtered water, is passed through a sieve into a strong iron vessel called the kneader, and mixed by machinery for three minutes till it is thoroughly incorporated. Then a quantity of carbonic acid, such as is used in the composition of mineral water, is forced into it at a pressure of 120 pounds to the inch. This raises the dough, which is then let out in small quantities, received into the tins, and baked. The machine being exhausted, the carbonic acid gas is let out, and the process goes on as before. Two of these machines are constantly at work, the one relieving the other, so that the process may go on without intermission.
By these means three important improvements are effected the manufacture of bread. The first, and not the least consideration, is the superior cleanliness of the article. The second is the thorough mixing of the dough, which produces a remarkable lightness of bread, rendering it not only more palatable but more wholesome and nutritious. It also effects a great saving of labor and thereby reduces the price of bread. It would be superfluous to expatiate upon the incalculable benefits atoning from this, to the whole community, and to the poor. A healthy, wholesome diet attainable by those classes who most need it, and thus an unmeasurable amount of good is conferred upon the whole community..
Handbook for Strangers & Tourists to the City of Chicago, 1866
On the corner of Dearborn street, facing the north entrance of the post office, is the retail establishment of Messrs. Dake & Woodman, the well-known bakers, and manufacturers of the celebrated aerated bread. Their manufactory is in the rear of McVicker’s theatre, where is supplied the immense trade of the house, which is in constant receipt of orders from every portion of the west. Their machinery for the manufacture of the aerated bread and crackers is the most extensive in the country, and is of a most interesting and complicated description. Its capacity is enormous, it frequently consuming sixty barrels of flour in a single day.
Chicago Tribune, August 1, 1866
BOSTON CRACKERS ON ‘CHANGE.
Quite a sensation was created on ‘Change yesterday by the appearance of a number of barrels of crackers—the kind, the celebrated “Boston”—the makers, the well known bread and cracker bakers Bake & Woodman, of No. 156 Dearborn street, immediately north of the Post Office. To say that the aforesaid crackers disappeared with marvelous celerity is no imputation on the voracity of the members of the Board of Trade, but it is a testimony to their universally acknowledged excellence.
Thai testimonial was worthily bestowed. The Boston cracker is a decided favorite and these are a decided improvement on the article as heretofore known. They are positively delicious. Pure white as the driven snow, they melt in the mouth almost like a lump of loaf sugar.
It is now several months since the new establishment of Dake & Woodman commenced to give forth to famishing thousands the best of white bread, and crackers equal not only to anything in previous experience, but to the best that ever formed the subject of the wildest dreams by a rational fancy, together with the other etceteras of the business more directly in the fancy line, which have made their home so celebrated. It is no injustice to say that in that time they have achieved such a success that their works do praise items much as to have displaced several other brands sacred in the popular estimation. They are now “familiar in the mouth as household words,” while the productions of their ovens are even sweeter to the palate than anything in the shape of mere words can be or express. One of the surest and best signs of the high standing of this firm is the fact that they are not satisfied with past achievements, but are continually on the look-out for fresh opportunities of improvement. Exempli gratia. They have recently secured the services of Mr. P. Callahan, a gentleman who has fifteen years past been working with the leading bakeries of Boston, to take charge of their cracker department, and have engaged an efficient corps of helpers, all good, practical men. With these, working on the most approved machinery, they feel justified in promising to the public even a better article than has hitherto been furnished by them—an improvement which a great number of their patrons will scarcely deem necessary.
We notice that Messrs. Duke & Woodman are producing a very superior article in the way of bread, made from new wheat of the very first quality—the last white winter crop. It has always been a leading point with them to secure none but the very best of flour for their bread and crackers, and when this is manipulated in the most approved manner, the result can scarcely be other than satisfactory in the highest degree. Hence their success.
Dake & Woodman Bakery
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
Chicago Evening Post, February 22, 1869
Opening of Woodman’s Huge Bakery in the North Division.
Chicago claims the glory of many useful improvements and important projects, which have for the most part been successful. As a provider for the wants of humanity in regard to the sustaining of life her resources and her accomplishments go far beyond any of her older and larger sister cities. As a grain market she is well known to be unexcelled and for the manufacture of the said grain into the “staff of life” she still maintains the same honorable pre-eminence, the size and manufacturing capacities of her bakeries more than their number being the reason of this. Some time ago The Post gave a full description oi one of these mammoth food factories—but this was by no means all Chicago can boast of in that line. In the North Division another large factory has just been established by one of the founders of the one previously mentioned. Mr Charles Woodman late of Dake & Woodman has recently formed a new partnership with Mr Edward Olcott, for some time clerk in the Sherman House under the name of C. L. Woodman & Co. for the purpose of prosecuting the manufacture of crackers. Their new bakery is located at Nos 230 and 232 Kinzie street between North Dearborn and North State. There they have erected machinery and other appliances all of the latest and most approved construction, and on Saturday the factory was formally dedicated to the grateful task of providing bread for the hungry. Drink for the thirsty was also provided but that is not a regular practice. Besides the ground floors and basements of Nos 230 and 232, the firm also occupy the lofts on the second story of the building over Nos 226 and 228. The building is a two-story brick structure 80 by 80 with cellars for storage beneath The offices are at the front of the building on the ground floor Next to the office is the bating room with ovens etc.
In an engine-room at the rear is a little beauty of an engine for raising the elevator and driving the other machinery. This is of thirty-horse power and 16 inch stroke, manufactured by Woodbury & Brother of Rochester, N.Y., for whom Fay & Co., 136 Clark street are agents. The ovens used are known as rotary oven They are built of common brick on the outside with fire-brick around the furnaces only. The bottoms are of soap stone. The machinery of them is so simple and so well poised that the ovens can readily be moved by the hand. These are placed over the furnaces and revolve upon a shaft which passes up from the cellar beneath where it rests upon a solid stone foundation. The revolutions of the plates can be regulated to from two to twelve minutes in time of speed. The crackers are taken upon a broad wooden spade and laid in upon the healed plates and when they have passed once and a half times around are taken out at another door, ready for use. As some crackers take a longer time to bake than others do this regulation of speed is necessary to successful operation.
In the basement below are stored the fuel and material necessary to run the establishment. Here also are the ash-pits of the ovens above of which there are two, one to each circular oven. All the ashes are taken out here.
Ascending to the second story the packing room is discovered. This is very large as has before been shown. The first room only is at present filled up. Wide and broad tables covered with bushels of white crackers, ready for packing and shipping are built around the room. At the rear is the mixing room. At two sides of it are long mixing tanks where the flour yeast and water are mixed to just sufficient consistency to be managed with the shovel. From these it is removed to a kneading machine, placed in the hopper, from which it passes out and is caught by a spiral “worm” of iron which kneads it thoroughly, passing it out ready to he dropped down the shaft or wooden spout, to the men below and there it is cut up and worked over into the most convenient shape for the handling of the oven tenders. The men slice off the dough in large slabs, pass it through a stamper, which cuts out the crackers in large cards, these are then placed in the oven as already described.
About three hundred barrels of crackers are made per day which consumes about SO barrels of flour. Twenty-six years ago it required five men to work a barrel of flour in a day but now with the aid of machinery one man can work five barrels. The rotary oven is the invention of Mr Joseph Vale, of Beloit, a practical baker, and is so arranged that the heat pervades all parts of it equally baking everything evenly, top and bottom. It can be used for either pies, pastry or bread. Mr Woodman has secured the right of use in Chicago.
Both ovens are kept constantly employed, for as fast as one is filled it is found necessary to empty the other. The services of one man are employed constantly at them. Six men are employed in the baking room and but one ton of hard coal per week is used, making considerable saving in the labor and fuel. In Mr. Woodman’s absence the baking department is superintended by Mr Hascull, of Boston, an experienced cracker baker.
Mr. Woodman’s entire establishment with machinery and ovens cost about $40,000 and is a model for completeness and neatness. Mr Woodman commenced baking twenty-six years ago in New Hampshire. Thirteen years ago he came here and has his full share in illustrating Chicago energy and success.
Woodman Bakery Lot
Nos 230 and 232 Kinzie street between North Dearborn and North State
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
Woodman’s Bakery re-opened after the Great Fire at No. 151 Canal Street. In 1880 Charles L. Woodman opened his restaurant at 61 Washington street, just west of State street. It was recognized as the “ladies’ restaurant.”