A History of Wilton – Celebrating 85 Years

A History of Wilton – Celebrating 85 Years


I think Wilton makes baking and decorating really accessible
and really easy so I think when a mother or father can look at a craft or some kind of
treat and they know they can do it they
can pass it on to their children who can pass it on to their children and it just I
feel like it really brings people together we believe that if you follow the Wilton Method you can be successful we believe that if you follow Wilton
inspiration you can be be successful and if you utilize Wilton’s innovative tools
you’ll be most successful the first word that comes to my mind when I think
of Wilton is easy I think that we make products
that make baking and decorating very easy very funny very accessible and
we strive to have people be able to create
their own amazing cakes. Cake decorating is truly an art form, it’s a fun creative hobby and
yet you really don’t have to be an artist to be a good cake decorator my Dad Dewey McKinley Wilton started working in
a candy factory at the age of fourteen or fifteen years old he had an aptitude for candy making and quickly
rose to level of forman by the age of 19 after working in the candy factory he
worked as a poled sugar artist and did specialty cakes and decorations
for a number of various fancy caterers all around the Chicago area, all the
time he was doing this he was also doing specialty items at
home working every night I never recall him taking a night
off. in 1929 my dad discovered he had an aptitude for teaching and
established the Wilton School of Cake Decorating he taught new confectionery in decorating
techniques to bakers caterers and chefs across the midwest over the next several years he acquired a wealth of cake decorating knowledge and developed the Wilton Method of
cake decorating. What’s sort of amazing about the Wilton Method and how we teach sweet treat making and primarily
cake decorating is we’ve always viewed it cake decorating not being magic that anyone can do it, that is really
really true especially when we take a look at globally how we teach the method is something that anyone can learn. What
makes the Wilton technique or Wilton method so unique
compared to everything else is that we actually have a direction we’re
teaching them we teach them by clock position we teach them by angle and pressure control, push upward slightly towards 12 o’clock and absolutely quit squeezing and that’s your rosebud, in 1939 he took the school around the nation to
teach the Wilton Method he would be gone one and a half to
three months at a time he would teach in various towns
sometimes three students in the morning possibly two in the afternoon and a
group in the evening the business is rooted internationally and I guess testimony to that is that we are known so well-known overseas because everyone wants to know the
American method and American method an easy is synonymous with the Wilton
Method in 1946 when I return from the service I suggested we open the Wilton school in
our home at this time nobody was teaching cake
decorating we put our first ad in the bakers
helper magazines it generated seven students classes were
growing fifteen to eighteen students taught in our
home in the dining room I can recall the students walking down
the street carrying their suitcases looking all
over they were looking for the Wilton School of Decorating, I’d run out and ask are you looking for the Wilton school they’d say yes and I would say it’s here in the house
they look very perturbed of course once they took the course they were
delighted with it and how hard we worked with them. My
experiences here at Wilton have been very fulfilling because I have been a
teacher and teaching is very exciting for me to see what I can teach students what I
find is important is making people believe in themselves if you can teach them simply what they can do and pulling that talent out a lot of times
people don’t even know they have those talents but giving them the self-confidence and the
right tools to make them believe in themselves
they will be able to do it The Wilton classes were fun they were really really informative I had
a great time I learned a lot in 1948 the school was growing rapidly and moved to a facility in Chicago we
honored the GI Bill of Rights and taught many World War II veterans
cake decorating & candy making we showed them how to make peanut brittle
fudges English toffee and all the various
candies they could use to open up a shop of their own when we make things that are difficult and only kept in the hands of the few available to the many then you really have an innovative company and what is great about Wilton of our 85 years of being a great American company is we’ve taken
something that in the European tradition was only done in the back room cake
decorating was something that only artists knew how to do and by developing the method and delivering it to
students everywhere we’ve allowed many students many cake
decorating enthusiasts to have the opportunity to have success
we’ve not kept it to just those that are artists we’ve opened it up and sort of democratized the activity of cake decorating. School staff
increased to and eventually included the entire
Wilton family my dad and myself plus my siblings
Martha Mary Jane and Wesley. Well when I when Wesley and I worked together he would
tell me simple little stories on how his dad would have him get up on a crate
and actually decorate so his dad would hand him a
piece of sugar and say this is what I want you to do
with it I want you to make a piece of ribbon or a flower out of it so I see those same things happening
they started in their home and many of my students start their
businesses right out of their kitchens and work it from there, the tools and the methods go way back we still instill in the students the same things that actually I was taught by Wesley which carried on probably through Norman
which is the exact precision of what they do learn high expectations for
quality work but it also should be very easy for them
to learn how to do I’ll tell you one thing about decorating
once a person learns to decorate they never stop, it’s not like some
hobbies you just use it all the time because your
continually celebrating occasions I’m sure Dewey would be proud of
everyone who helped to make Wilton a success however the ones
who truly made all this possible are the millions of people all over
the world who are creating amazing cakes and sweet treats I feel that we’ve
just touched a small portion of the population and the world is yet to be introduced to
cake decorating

7 thoughts on “A History of Wilton – Celebrating 85 Years

  1. When I was 5 my mom had my younger brother (1970) He was a colicy baby.  She was at her wits end.  My father suggested that she take a class in the evenings a couple nights a week, to give her a break.  She chose to learn cake decorating and took a few of the Wilton classes.  That turned out to be her career for many years after, she was an amazing pastry chef.  I learned a tremendous amount from her and both my brother and I were fortunate enough to have her make our wedding cakes.  My wedding cake was the last one she was able to make because of horrible arthritis.  I saw her make many amazing cakes on our dining room table and when my brother and I got underfoot, she would just give us a piece of wax paper and a tube full of icing and tell us to make flowers to keep us busy.  I still use what she taught me, though I am not nearly as good as she ever was, but the one thing I remember was that Wilton was the only name we ever used when it came to tips and supplies and cake pans.  I have bins full of vintage Wilton cake pans in all shapes and sizes in my attic and when I need a special cake I am fortunate enough to be able to have so many to choose from.  This video was a lovely tribute to your father and your company.  Greatness comes out of all corners of America and in an age where we are always looking for a faster way of doing things, I can say that I have seen your company expand and broaden over my own lifetime.  Thanks for sharing.  Hope I didn't share too much!

  2. We're kicking off our 85th Anniversary by taking a look back at how our founder's dedication to making it easy to learn cake decorating led to a company that is still guided by that same passion today. We hope you enjoy this video on the history of Wilton! #wiltoncakes   #cakedecorating  

  3. Wow, what an amazing story on how everything started at Wilton. I became a Wilton fan at age 14 and It's amazing how passion and dedication to help others lead to an empire of cake decorating. Looking at the pictures , it made me want to be part of it when it all started. Congratulations on 85 years of sweetness. Not everyone can say that proudly.

  4. When I was young my mom would buy your Wilton year books and after I got married & had 3 kids & was a stay @ home mom with only 1 car I felt like I need mommy time. I found an add in a paper for classes down the street. My husband stayed with the 3 kids when he got home from work & I went & had fun. In one of the classes I was preparing a cake for the cake fell apart so I called the teacher crying saying why I couldn't come & she told me to just bring it . oh my goodness I still have the pick of that fan cake & am still amazed. thank you

  5. Wow happy get to know the wilton story!
    Its amazing!
    I would like to follow the wilton cake decorating course, what do I do further to follow the course?
    Please help me with a heart!

  6. As a 10 year old boy who learned a few techniques from a home decorator, finding the Wilton distributor in 'the Big City' was magical and a real lifeline. I continued and developed a name by age 14 . So much work and joy. And really just touching the surface I started doing more and more creative things with pastry and cakes. You really do not forget how to work. Wonderful to see Wilton teaching the world 50 years after I started.

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