Utah History to Go
The Pasta King of the Mountain West
Change and Creativity
Struggle for Statehood
Struggle for Statehood Chronology
In 1895 Utahns Wondered When Statehood Would Come
A State is Born
Party Politics and Utah Statehood
The Constitutional Convention is Called
Constitution Was Framed in City and County Building
African American Community and Politics, 1890-1910
The Broad Ax and the Plain Dealer Kept Utah's African Americans Informed
Clarence E. Allen Was Utah's First Congressman
How Utah Lost One of Its U.S. Senate Seats in 1899
Salt Lake Native Was Interred in the Kremlin Wall
The Shooting of Arthur Brown, Ex-Senator From Utah
Convict Labor Helped to Build Utah's Road
Strawberry Valley, 1st Federal Reclamation Project
Women's Suffrage in Utah
Woman Suffrage Dominated Politics in Utah
Kanab Residents Chose Women to Run Their Town, 1912
Ruth May Fox, Forgotten Suffragist
Soren Hanson's "House That Eggs Built"
Utah Arts Council
Utah State Historical Society
The Beginning of Public Support For Libraries
The Pasta King of the Mountain West
Celebrating the New Year in Salt Lake's Chinatown
Electrifying Utah-Engineer Lucien L. Nunn
A Brewer-Sportsman's Prairie Style Home in Ogden
Saltair Village Was a Unique Place to Live
Boxing Fans Take the Plunge at Saltair
Castilla Hot Springs Attracted Many Visitors
Minstrel Shows
Utah State Capitol
Utah in the Spanish American War
Captain Richard W. Young and Spanish-American War
A Soldier's Life at Fort Douglas in the Early 1900's
Methodist Women Missionaries Worked Hard in Utah
Flour Mills
Guano Sifters on Gunnison Island
The Lehi Beet Sugar Factory
The Salt Industry Was One of the First Enterprises
From Free Salt to a Major Industry
Hospitals and Health Crazes in the Late 1800's
The Myths and Legends of Butch Cassidy
Butch Cassidy
Would the New State of Utah Go Metric?
A Look at Working Women in the Early 20th Century
Jobs in 1900
Explosion of Pleasant Valley Coal Company
The Lucin Cutoff
Southern Utah's First High School
Life Was Precarious in Turn-of-the-Century Utah
Salt Lake City Had Its Typhoid Mary
Vaccinations in Wasatch County
Promoting Physical Fitness
Woman's Home Association Tried to Help the "Fallen"
Juvenile Delinquency Posed Problems For Utahns
Traveling Gypsies Brought an Exotic Lifestyle to Utah
The First Large Factory in Utah
The Rise and Fall of Ogden's Packing Industry
Newsboys Claimed Their Street Corners in Downtown
The Bamberger Electric Railway
The First Cars in Two Small Towns
A Bicyclist Challenges the Great Salt Lake Desert
Daredevils of the Sky-Early Aeronauts in Utah
Ogden Defeats Salt Lake City in a War of the Wheels
Utah's Immigrants at the Turn of the Century
Boys' Potato Growing Clubs
Joe Hill and the I.W.W.
Socialist Women and Joe Hill
A Bit of Polynesia Remains
Justice Zane and Antipolygamy
The Salt Lake Valley Smelter War

Miriam B. Murphy
History Blazer, May 1996

At the turn of the century Antonio Ferro opened a small store on West Second South in Salt Lake City where he sold groceries and tobacco products. In March 1905 the budding entrepreneur married Giovannina Calfa and soon thereafter launched the Western Macaroni Manufacturing Company. Eventually marketed under the "Queen's Taste" label, no less than 45 different varieties of pasta products would be manufactured by Ferro and his associates. It seems that long before pasta dishes became trendy items on restaurant menus in Utah the state had a pasta king.

Ferro was born in southern Italy on October 22, 1872, to Carmine and Angela Perri Ferro. The family owned a large farm. He attended the local schools and later a normal school, but in 1894 he left Italy for America. Like many of his countrymen he found work in mining, first in Pennsylvania and then in Colorado and Mercur, Utah. After working for more than a year and a half in Mercur, he left the mines and moved permanently to Salt Lake City. He managed the macaroni factory until his retirement in 1942 due to failing health. He died on August 29, 1944. Ferro was active in the Commercial Club, the Utah Manufacturers Association, several fraternal organizations--including the Sons of Italy--and the Catholic church. He and his wife had three children.

A detailed report of the factory published in the Utah Payroll Builder in 1927 provides information on the scope of the business and the factory's operation. Ferro's company employed about 25 workers and had a daily capacity of six tons of various macaroni products, although at the time producing only five tons. The factory reportedly furnished "most of the macaroni supplied to Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada," with large quantities also shipped to Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, and Montana. "Queen's Taste" products were also marketed in British Columbia for a number of years until the Canadian government began to tax imported wheat products.

The 45 varieties of pasta produced at the plant ranged from acino-pepe to ziti and came in shapes resembling shells, stars, oats, and letters of the alphabet as well as various sizes and cuts of tubular pasta, flat noodles of various kinds, and an array of spaghetti-like types. The Payroll Builder writer seemed dazzled by the thought that the five tons of macaroni products manufactured daily would, if made into one long piece of the common tubular variety, "reach farther than from Logan to Provo." The guide at the factory said that Utah's Greeks especially liked the small orzo pasta while Italians preferred spaghetti.

The Western Macaroni factory used Utah eggs and Turkey Red flour made from wheat produced on Utah and Idaho dry farms, but 80 percent of the flour used came from the harder durum wheat grown in Minnesota. The large mixers in the factory used 300 pounds of flour at a time. The stiff dough or paste moved from mixer to kneading machine to pressing machines where the various types of pasta were extruded. Racks of pasta were then taken to one of the many drying rooms for 36 to 40 hours. The drying process, critical to quality of the finished product, was monitored by hydrometers and supervised day and night by a worker who used dampers and fans to control the speed of drying so that the pasta would be neither tough nor brittle. Packers placed the finished product into packages, boxes, and barrels for shipping to stores, hotels, and restaurants in the city and throughout the Intermountain Area.

In calling his product "Queen's Taste," Ferro was clearly exercising his prerogative as the pasta king of the Mountain West.

Sources: Utah Payroll Builder 16 (1927); Noble Warrum, Utah Since Statehood (Chicago, 1919), vol. 3; Salt Lake Tribune, August 30, 1944.


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