Ernest Nickles was a humble, dedicated person who lived and breathed the baking industry. As the proverbial saying goes, he had flour in his veins.
He was enormously proud of his family’s business, the Alfred Nickles Bakery, Navarre, OH. During his 70 years with the company, Mr. Nickles helped transform it from a home-delivery bakery to a regional wholesale bakery with more than 500 routes serving grocery stores, restaurants and institutions.
According to the American Society of Baking, he told people his hobby was golf, but he played only once a year. His hobby, in truth, was the family bakery that his father founded.
“He worked seven days each and every week,” the ASB biography on Mr. Nickles noted. “He grew up in a home next to the bakery. When he married, he moved one block from the bakery where he lived his entire life. He was known to check the bakery every single night.”
Mr. Nickles is joined by W. Clark Pulver, founder of Pulver Systems, Chicago Ridge, IL, and internationally recognized Torahiko Hayashi, founder of Rheon Automatic Machinery of Utsonomiya, Japan, as 2013 inductees to the Baking Hall of Fame.
A self-educated man, Mr. Pulver was part of a group of industry pioneers who helped transform bakeries in the 1950s from barely mechanized operations into fully integrated, automated production facilities that demanded equipment manufacturers bring in schooled engineers with both mechanical and electrical degrees.
The company’s earliest automated systems involved taking bread from the depanner to the slicer via cooling conveyors and switching mechanisms. Pulver Systems also introduced the concept of automatic pan stacking for storage and eventually developed basket and tray loading systems.
Mr. Hayashi took the study of rheology to new heights by relying on rheological engineering to develop the world’s first encrusting machine in 1961. The system enabled the high-speed production of Japanese filled dumplings and buns as well as an assortment of filled bakery products, confections and prepared foods.
In the 1970s, Rheon invented the process of making breads and pastries from a sheeted dough using the stress-free stretcher. At the 1997 International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), Rheon rolled out the stress-free system for puff pastry and croissants. Today, the system also can produce a wide variety of products ranging from ciabatta bread to pizza crusts.
Mr. Hayashi becomes the third international member of the Baking Hall of Fame. In 2007, brothers Lorenzo and Roberto Servitje of Grupo Bimbo, Mexico City, Mexico, were inducted.
The 2013 class will be officially inducted at ASB’s BakingTech, set for March 3-5 in Chicago. For more information on the conference, visit www.asbe.org.