Lost Washington: The Corby Baking Company/Continental Baking Corporation

The Corby Baking Company, with its main Washington baking facilities at 2301 Georgia Avenue, NW, started as one of the leading independent baking companies. It was founded in 1890 by W. W. Corby. In 1891 a partnership between brothers W. S. and C. I. was formed and continued until 1925.

Corby Ad 1915
The Corby company made modern baking history, perfecting several processes and machinery for handling the bread in the making. It was intimately associated with the development of the art and science of baking.

In 1899, the Corby borhters invented a dough loaf molding machine, the first machine successfully to mold dough into loaves. Their patented machine was used by other bakeries throughout the county.

In 1900, they invented a new process dough maker which revolutionized dough mixing, and this patented invention also was taken up by bakeries through the country.

The company was one of the first to install its own laboratories in its bakery and was the first to recognize the value of artificial refrigeration for control of temperature throughout the bread making process and use a refrigeration process.

Corby Baking Company
Other innovations included perfecting a system for pasteurization, using milk in bread, and initiatin a schedule of baking and delivery which they advertised as bringin hot bread to every neigh borhood stor in time for family meals.

Corby's laboratoryOn February 2, 1925, the Corby Baking Company, with operating bakeries in Washington, Alexandria, and Richmond, sold their operations to the Continental Baking Corporation, the makers of Wonder Bread. Corby continued to operate under its own name for a while, with Karl Corby functioning as president of Corby and vice president of the Continental corporation.

Continental Baking Company, March 1965 (Courtesy Historical Society of Washington, DC, # PR 1084B)

Continental Baking Company, March 1965 (Courtesy Historical Society of Washington, DC, # PR 1084B)

In 1936, the Continental Baking Company built an addition  to its Georgia Avenue plant. It had previously been granted a permit to erect a one-story addition adjoining its three-story building, and in 1936 they added two stories above it. the ground floor addition served as a garage and the upper stories as the cake baking plant.

It wasn’t until June, 1988, that Continental Baking Co. announced it had decided to off 260 people when its Wonder Bread bakery closed and the operation moved to Philadelphia in the fall.

The Washington bakery at 2301 Georgia Ave. then became a sales and distribution branch.

Today, while the original structure still stands, it has been converted into a mini-mall that primarily serves the Howard University community.
Corby Baking Company
Corby Baking Company
Corby Baking Company

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7 Responses to “Lost Washington: The Corby Baking Company/Continental Baking Corporation”

  1. Lisa Santos Says:

    I have come a old silver spoon with Corbys Modern Bakery and store front on it I was wondering if it has any historic or cash value

  2. Karl Corby Says:

    Lisa -

    If you still have the spoon, I am willing to buy it off you.
    Let me know.

    Karl Corby
    kwcorby@comcast.net

  3. My grandfather worked at Corby in Washington D.C. sometime around 1917 don;t know for how long, I went there on a school feild trip in the 1950′s and gave us little wonder bread loafs.

  4. my grandfather also worked there in 1917. i’ve been doing research on him and came across this site and your interesting reply. please leave a comment as i’d love to know more…

  5. Linda Kleinpeter Says:

    We have one spoon if you are still interested

  6. Linda -
    I would love the spoon.
    How can we coordinate this?
    Thank you.
    Karl

  7. […] as part of the Howard Campus. If you’d like to know more about Corby Bakery, I posted a brief history of it back in […]

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