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The Duncan Hines Seal of Approval
In the 1940s, Duncan Hines was a traveling salesman turned food critic, who through his books became the authority on quality food. When he gave a restaurant a top rating, it would be presented with a Recommended by Duncan Hines sign. Today, their logo is a combination of the sign with a book, and is emblazoned on all of their mix packages.
The Authoring Years
Duncans authoring success began when traveling across America as a salesman. On the road day after day, he would eat in many a restaurant of varying degrees of quality. As more people began venturing on long distance driving trips, he wanted to help them find quality food and excellent service. In 1935, Duncan and his wife, Florence, compiled a list of 167 recommended establishments and sent it out as a Christmas present. He wrote: I am passing this information on to you, hoping that it may yield enjoyment and delectation, should you find yourself in the vicinity of one of these harbors of refreshment as you travel hither and yon.
Word spread quickly, and soon he quit traveling sales to write full time. His books grew to include more restaurant reviews along with hotel and lodging reviews. He also compiled collections of recipes--including one for a passion of his: baked goods.
A Brand Was Born
It was Duncans well-respected persona and business sense that prompted North Carolina businessman, Roy Park, to approach him in 1948. Roy proposed that he lend his name to a line of packaged foods from many top manufacturers. In May, 1950, Duncan Hines vanilla ice cream was delivered to the shelves of grocery stores across the nation. Initially, there were hundreds of products under the Hines-Park name, including cake mixes.
Their venture was a success, and in 1956 Procter and Gamble purchased the brand with the authority to put the Duncan Hines name on other food products. The line was eventually pared down to the the family-favorite mixes you know and love today..