At the tender age of 16, JML Baumann left his native village in Germany and emigrated to London where he worked as a baker’s assistant before acquiring his own bakery business. In 1851, his uncle from Durban, SA, visited him in London and suggested he emigrate to South Africa.
Mr. Baumann arrived in Durban in 1881 and joined his uncle in a bakery and grocery business. He subsequently took over the business and was known for the quality of his products. In 1885, a local resident, Mr. Plowright approached Baumann with a biscuit machine which produced ’dry’ biscuits for sale to ships.
In 1895 Baumann purchased a more advanced machine and commenced manufacture of more ‘fancy biscuits’ such as Ginger Nuts and Marie. He printed his first price list and operated under the name L Baumann & Co. In 1911 one of his sons, Albert entered the business and further contributed to its success.
The factory survived the anti-German riots of 1915 when the shop and bread and cake premises were burnt down. Ironically at the time, the biscuit factory was producing biscuits for the army, and two of JML Baumann’s sons were fighting the Germans in South West Africa. The factory was put under government protection to prevent further damage.
Due to the anti-German sentiment in 1915, the company’s name was changed from Baumann’s to Bakers Limited, and before long his son William’s biscuit enterprise was incorporated into the company. One of JML Baumann’s sons moved to Cape Town where he started a biscuit factory under the name of ‘Selected Products Ltd’.
At the beginning of the 1930s, almost 200 people were employed and the 1935 wholesale catalogue listed 240 different biscuit lines! Originally biscuits were packed loose in tins and the company was prepared to pay railage on the empty returns.
The company then introduced packets which consisted of 2 layers of paper: one was the familiar blue lattice printed Bakers paper and the other inside layer was of ‘pure vegetable parchment’.
Your favourite originals and best in a convenient on the go serving.