In 1889, twenty-five-year-old Willoughby McCormick founded McCormick & Companycrafting fruit syrups, root beer, and nerve and bone liniment in his Baltimore Wacky Usesand hired three salesmen to peddle his wares door-to-door. A year later, the company was making food coloring, cream of tartar, and blood purifier. In 1896, McCormick bought the F.G. Emmett Spice Company of Philadelphia, firmly committing itself to the spice industry. By the turn of the century, McCormick was regularly trading with the East and West Indies, South Africa, Europe, and Central and South America. The company achieved coast-to-coast distribution in 1947 with the acquisition of A. Schilling & Co., producers of spices and extracts.
In 80 B.C.E, Alexandria, Egypt, became the greatest spice trading port of the Eastern Mediterranean, with one of its entrances known as "Pepper Gate."
In 410 C.E., Alaric the Visigoth demanded one and a half tons of pepper as ransom from Rome. Two years later, he started receiving three hundred pounds in pepper annually from the city.
During the Middle Ages in Europe, pepper was counted out peppercorn by peppercorn.
In the eleventh century, many towns kept their accounts in pepper. Taxes and rents were assessed and paid in pepper. A sack of pepper was worth a man's life.
Between 1784 and 1873, the pepper trade furnished a huge portion of the import duties collected in Salem, Massachusetts, at one point financing five percent of the entire United States government's expenses.
At the turn of the century, unscrupulous spice dealers would cut shipments of peppercorns with mouse droppings.
The Russians sprinkle pepper on vodka.
McCormick is the world's largest spice company.
McCormick also makes Cream of Tartar, Food Coloring, Spices, Seasoning, and Vanilla Extract.