O.T.C. Trenton Crackers

O.T.C. Trenton Crackers

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Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
Bobby pins in matchbook-style holder made of blue plastic. Orange print reads, "O.T.C. Trenton Crackers have no substitute."
OTC® Oyster Crackers were introduced in Trenton, N.J., in 1847 by Adam Exton, an English immigrant. Exton conceived the idea of baking a cracker to be used in oyster stews. In 1848, one year after the Exton crackers arrived on the Trenton scene, Ezekiel Pullen began baking an "Original Trenton Cracker" in the kitchen of his home. He sold his crackers from the back of his wagon as he made his way along Trenton streets. Both businesses grew as a craze for oysters developed in the 1860s and 1870s. OTC ® crackers became available from wooden barrels in neighborhood stores and in seafood restaurants. During the Civil War, the Exton company supplied its crackers to the Union army.
In 1887 Christopher Cartlidge bought the Pullen Cracker Company and renamed it Original Trenton Cracker Company. In 1962, after 115 years of rivalry, the Cartlidge family bought the Exton company, making it at last the one and only "Original Trenton Cracker." Specialty Brands of America has owned the OTC® brand since 1993.
Currently not on view
Object Name
bobby pin case
date made
ca 1925
place made
United States: New Jersey, Trenton
Associated Place
United States: New Jersey
Physical Description
cellulose nitrate (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall:.02 cm x 3.1 cm x 6 cm; in x 1 1/4 in x 2 3/8 in
overall: 3/16 in x 1 7/16 in x 2 3/8 in;.47625 cm x 3.65125 cm x 6.0325 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
New Jersey
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Hi Bob, I am a Jersey girl, and grew up eating OTC crackers. My grandmother formulated a recipe back in the eighties, but they weren't quite OTC. I've experimented and come up with the following: 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 BBLS shortening, 1/4 tsp yeast, pinch of sugar, 3/4 cup warm water. Cut the shortening into the flour with the salt, sugar, and yeast until crumbly. Add water and stir with a fork to combine until dough comes together. Knead once or twice and let rest for 30 minutes. Shape into 72 rough balls, and place on a parchment lined, and greased cookie sheet. Rest in a warm oven 30 minutes. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, lower to 275 degrees and bake for 20 minutes, and lower again to 175 degrees and bake for 90 minutes. I use a convection oven, so it may take longer to dry them out in a regular oven. Once baked, cool and crack into soup!
Growing up in South Jersey in the 1950s/60s, Hogate's fish restaurant in Ocean City had bowls of Trenton Oyster Crackers on all of the tables, as well as horseradish. That combination was known as a "policeman's sandwich", supposedly as (free) munchie food for the local constables on foot patrol. I have enjoyed the combination ever since, and hope to enjoy it again.
We always bought OTC for home made soups when I was growing up in south Jersey. I have lived in south Florida since 1969 and have gotten the recipe for my mother's clam chowder and would love to have OTC with it.
I worked for OTC when they moved from Trenton to Lambertville. Many good memories.
Ed: if you've tried the "new" version of OTC crackers, you will be as heart broken as I am. They are completely different: smaller, squared as if extruded and much softer. If you remember anything about the original recipe, I would love to hear about it so I could make the real OTC cracker at home.
I agree Bob, just had the new version tonight and was disappointed.

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