February 7, 2007


And the man behind the brand is...
Samuel Thomas

The story of Samuel Bath Thomas was the story of tens of thousands of American immigrants in the 19th century. Born in Plymouth, England in 1855 Thomas came to New York at the age of 21. He worked a succession of menial jobs until he had saved enough to set up a business of his own. In 1880 Thomas opened a bakery.

He didn’t even have enough money to hang a sign over his door. For the most part he relied on the aroma of his breads and muffins to bring customers in to the shop on Ninth Avenue. Thomas baked the English specialties he knew so well. And they caught the fancy of New Yorkers, so much so that Thomas began supplying restaurants with his creations.

Thomas was making a living but so were millions of others whose names are unknown to us. But for one thing no one would remember Samuel Thomas either. He delivered his baked goods, especially his popular English muffins, to New York restaurants in glass-domed cases with “S.B. Thomas” stenciled on them. People began asking for Thomas’ English muffins in their corner stores as well.

With Thomas’ retail trade established it was not long before Samuel Thomas was selling throughout New York. He died in 1919, having created a taste for the English muffin. Thousands of bakers plied their trade in tiny shops throughout the 1800s; Samuel Thomas is one of the few whose name survived.

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