In 1879, after being dissatisfied with the quality of the coffee he was receiving for his grocery wholesale business, company founder Herman Hulman decided that he could roast higher quality coffee in-house. Hulman traveled to the east coast to secure a green coffee bean supplier and roasting equipment. As a result of his trip, Hulman forged a business relationship with Jabez Burns & Sons, and returned to Terre Haute, Indiana to begin spice grinding and coffee roasting. Hulman set out to make a coffee suitable for a monarch, yet affordable for paupers.
The United States Trademark and Patent Office first documents Hulman & Company selling their Rex Coffee blend for commerce in 1885 and issued a U.S. trademark to Hulman’s son, Anton Hulman, on June 12th, 1905. Rex Coffee was sold from Chicago to Louisville, Cincinnati to St. Louis. Hulman & Company roasted coffee and marketed under a myriad of names, the most famous of which being: Rex, Farmers Pride, Dauntless, Crystal, and Delicious Sips. Coffee roasting activity remained a staple of Hulman & Company until 1968.
During a historic renovation project in 2009 of the original Hulman & Company building in Terre Haute, a leather suitcase used by salesman in the early 1900’s was discovered. This suitcase contained original Hulman & Company coffee samples which, paired with old Hulman & Company sales catalogs and other historical reference material, were used to help re-create the Rex Original Blend and Farmers Pride Coffee blends sold today.
As a part of the renovation project, it was determined coffee roasting would resume at this historic location, where Clabber Girl Corporation, a division of the modern day Hulman & Company, is headquartered.
The first floor of the building was restored and today contains Rex Roasting Company, where all of our coffees are roasted on site; the Clabber Girl Bake Shop, which has breakfast, lunch, retail sales, and catering; and the Clabber Girl Museum, where visitors can experience the rich history of the Hulman family and Clabber Girl.