Pile of soft pretzels
Food - Drink
One Pennsylvania City Is Known As The ‘Pretzel Capital Of The World’
Reading, Pennsylvania is a city known for hosting a mountaintop Japanese pagoda and an old goggle factory, as well as its title as the “Pretzel Capital of the World.”
In 1827, a pretzel baker named Scherle baked the first-ever U.S. pretzel in Lititz, Pennsylvania. This created a domino effect for other local bakers who took up pretzel-making.
In 1859 and 1861 respectively, two bakers named Benjamin Lichtenthaler and Julius Sturgis moved from Lititz to Reading, where they established successful pretzel businesses.
The industry took off in Reading, and by 1948, bakeries in the city were making one-third of all pretzels in America. Today, 80% of U.S. pretzels still come from Pennsylvania.
Two of Sturgis' factories founded in the 1920s are still in business. Lichtenthaler's pretzels, once called “bretzels,” were made at a rate of 1.5 million per year by 1893.
Pretzels were originally twisted by hand, but Reading made pretzel history again in 1935 with the invention of the Reading Pretzel Machinery company's pretzel-twisting machine.