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In 1879 Thomas John Edmonds, then 20 years old, stepped off the sailing ship Waitangi at Lyttelton. Thomas was born in London in 1858 and had worked for Allen and sons, one of London’s largest confectionery firms.
Thomas and his wife Jane soon opened a small grocery store in Linwood, Christchurch where Thomas learned from his customers of their dissatisfaction with the unreliable baking powder products they were able to purchase at the time. In response to their comments, he began making his own baking powder out the back of his shop. His first batch of 200 tins went on sale in 1879. One customer reputedly questioned the superiority of the product over the one she was currently using.
Edmonds is said to have replied “It is sure to rise Madam” and so the famous Edmonds promise was born. From this comment, the iconic rising sun logo and Sure to Rise trademark were developed, both of which still appear on Edmonds Baking Powder today.
Thomas spent 3 years perfecting his baking powder but demand for Edmonds Baking Powder was initially low so Edmonds travelled the Canterbury region leaving free samples with almost every household, promising to take it back on his next visit if anyone was unsatisfied.
No tins were returned and the householders asked for more. Demand slowly grew until its popularity spread from the housewives of Canterbury to span the whole of New Zealand.
Edmonds Baking powder also won a prize at the Dunedin Exhibition in 1890. As the 19th century drew to a close Edmonds moved to Ferry Rd, Christchurch and in the expanded premises increased the production of Edmonds products.
Edmonds Baking Powder went from strength to strength and by 1912 one million tins had been sold.