Aerial image of the Rumford Chemical Works building located in Rumford, Rhode Island.
The Rumford Chemical Works is significant as an important local industry that produced nationally known products. The limit was founded by George P. Wilson and Professor Eben Horsford to produce chemical food additives designed to increase the nutritive value of foodstuffs.
It was named for Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford 1753-1814, an American-born British scientist and inventor who had established a fellowship at Harvard that had funded some of Horsford’ s studies in nutrition and chemistry.
First located in Providence, the company moved to East Providence in 1857, purchasing land that had been part of the Ring of the Green. The works gave its name to the surrounding neighborhood, and for over a century it was a mainstay of the local economy. The firm’s chief product was Rumford Baking Powder, a substance invented by Professor Horsford that added essential minerals to baked goods while also serving as a leavening agent. Rumford Baking Powder was marketed nationwide and became a well known item across the country.
Today it is produced at a plant in Terre Haute, Indiana, where company operations were consolidated in 1966. Though no longer located in East Providence, the Rumford Company played an important role in the economic and industrial development of the community. Its original works memorialize that contribution to the city.
Source: National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form: Rumford Chemical Works and Mill HousesSee also:Department of Economic Development - Videotapes, Tourism, 1977-1992Development Council photographs, circa 1945-1980The Book of Rhode Island, 1930This is Rhode Island, 1972
Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission: Historical and Architectural Resources Preliminary Reports, 1978-1991Guide to Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation Division of Tourism photographs