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Historical Plaque

The O.A.C Review
Trent Institute

The growth of the baking industry in the past generation has been phenomenal, when the making of bread has left the home and become centralized in the commercial bakeries throughout the land. Accompanied by this rapid growth were all the problems of large production, changing qualities of the wheat and the scientific principles of Bacteriology and chemistry to worry the baker and make his work of an extremely complex nature. From the beginning of this growth the baker gradually realized his helplessness in solving the many problems which confronted him and yearned for a source, to which he could turn for help. With this desire for knowledge and the increasing demands made upon the baking industry by the public, their desires began to materialize in 1924.

Through the untiring efforts of Mr. H. E. Trent, secretary of the Canadian Bread Bakers' Association, sufficient funds were contributed by the bakers and the allied trades to erect and fully equip a most attractive edifice. This building was completed in 1926, and is known as "Trent Institute."

After the building was fully completed, equipped, and paid for, which involved a sum amounting to about $100,000, it was presented to the Ontario government and accepted by the Prime Minister on May 11, 1927, to be maintained as a faculty of the Ontario Agricultural College.

The first course of instruction opened January 10, 1927, with ten students, and the numbers have gradually increased until the third course just completed, had an enrolment of 16 students, with two fellowships.

The course is of four months duration, from September to December 24th, and from January to May 1st. It is devised to assist the baker in the commercial production of bread in the most scientific and practical way. With its most modern equipment the students are taught the principles of large shop production as well as handwork, to take care of the smaller bakeries. They make bread on a commercial scale and are instructed as far as possible the reason for the different steps and methods of procedure.

There is also an experimental laboratory course, where baking materials are tested and the effects of the various ingredients brought out in the finished loaf product. The elementary, or basic fundamentals of chemistry, bacteriology and mathematics are taught as far as possible, to enable the student to more fully grasp the technical phase of the course. A complete course in the cake making and decorating is given in a fully equipped cake laboratory. The principles of compounding, creaming, baking and finishing of cakes are thoroughly studied and batches made on a commercial scale.

Besides the tuitional work at the institute, service work in the industry is being encouraged. Bakers experiencing trouble on new problems may consult the Institute as to their solutions.

Prior to the opening of the Trent Institute a wheat and flour-testing laboratory had been maintained in the Department of Chemistry since the year 1906, under the direction of Miss M.A. Purdy. This Department has now been transferred to Trent Institute and is a service to the millers and bakers in the testing of wheat and flours.

The staff of Trent Institute: Prof. R. Harcourt, Director; H.C. Maedel, Assistant Director and Instructor in Bread Making; Jan Micka, Cereal Chemist and Instructor in Experimental Baking: W.H. Croot, Instructor in Cake Making and Decorating. W. Rushton, Baker; Mrs. M.E. Child, Assistant in Flour Testing.