HENDLER’S: The Velvet Kind, An Image Gallery Part 1

Article by Rachel Kassman. Originally published in Generations 2011 – 2012: Jewish Foodways.

The Hendler Creamery Company is Born

Hendler’s Ice Cream was an iconic Baltimore treat for 60 years. The Hendler Creamery Company began as “Miller & Hendler” in 1905, founded by Louis Miller and L. Manuel Hendler. Hendler quickly moved to the forefront, purchasing Miller’s interest in the business in 1907 and, in 1912, incorporating it as “The Hendler Creamery Company.” Shortly thereafter Hendler purchased the former power house of the Baltimore City Passenger Railway Company, transforming the building into a state-of-the-art ice cream manufacturing plant.

The Hendler Creamery Company building on East Baltimore Street, adorned with patriotic red, white and blue banners for the company’s 50th, or “Golden” Anniversary, 1955.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.21.2.

In 1929 Hendler’s was purchased by the Borden Company. Manuel, and later his son Albert, became executives with the Borden Company, continuing to manufacture and distribute ice cream under the Hendler Creamery name until Albert’s retirement in 1965. At one point, Hendler’s had 400 stores and a fleet of 120 delivery trucks, selling its ice cream in numerous neighborhood groceries and drugstores. Known as “The Velvet Kind,” Hendler’s Ice Cream is fondly remembered for its 60 years of cool and tasty treats.

Manuel Hendler, hard at work at his office desk. Anonymous Gift, 1998.047.4.24.
Albert Hendler outside the manufacturing plant, c. 1955. Anonymous Gift, 1998.

A Technological Leap

The Hendler Creamery Company was known for its technological advances. Between them, L. Manuel Hendler and his son Albert held 32 patents related to ice-cream making. Albert recalls that “my father, though he didn’t know it, designed the first air conditioning system. That was not his original intention. His purpose was to devise a method for protecting the ice cream plant from flies. To compensate for closing it off to the outside, he ventilated the building by blowing in air which traveled through ducts connected to coils. In wintertime heat was produced by steam, and in summer brine pumped through the coils cooled the interior. By the time we learned the significance of his invention the patent had expired.”

The photo set shown here, by photographer George C. Pace, highlights the company’s commitment to modernization and advancement. The photo captions were written by Hendler advertising executives to highlight the company’s status as the “cleanest and most modern plant in the world.”

Modern continuous freezers lined up for the production of the millions of gallons of ice cream sold each year by Handlers. Here are a few of the many such freezers. This production worker checks all equipment to make certain the ice cream is up to the exacting standards set by the laboratory. Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.3.
This machine being filled by the young lady is an automatic fruit filling machine which adds so much of those delicious fresh fruits found in Hendlers Ice Cream.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.7
Taste testing milk or cream in the Hendler Creamery Company plant.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.8
Packaging the much-liked “dixie cup.”  We have the only “dixie cup” franchise in Baltimore.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.11
Beautiful all stainless steel lifetime refrigerated storage or holding tank. Hendler has many of these tanks to hold ice cream mix at a constant temperature to keep it sweet and fresh. Checking to see that the mix is being agitated properly to keep the blend of materials smooth. Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.13
Stirring and flavoring ice cream mix as it flows from the refrigerated storage tanks to the continuous freezers.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.16
The testing, sampling and chemical work done in our laboratory is the most important phase of Hendlers’ plant operation. It is here where a tight control is kept over each phase of production making Hendler the best ice cream that can be purchased in Baltimore County.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.17
Cleaning, sterilizing and polishing of each piece of equipment and pipe used, ends a busy production day at Hendlers. Here a pipe is being thoroughly cleaned. Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.20

Continue to Part II of HENDLER’S: The Velvet Kind, An Image Gallery

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