Dotty's Donuts

Founded in 1952

By Wilbur and Mary Moulton

The Moulton family was originally from southern Iowa and lived in a Wisconsin resort town, where Wilbur Moulton and his wife Mary owned and operated a family restaurant. It was that restaurant that started Wilbur in the donut mix business. He had come up with the recipe for Dotty’s Donuts while in the restaurant business and decided to sell dry donut mix to other restaurant owners.

Wilbur Moulton established Iowa Donut Supply in 1952 in Des Moines, Iowa. Between 1952 and 1954 Wilbur spent his weeks in Des Moines at his fledgling donut company and weekends In Wisconsin. Wilber found that people loved Dotty’s Donut Mix, but didn’t have the equipment to make donuts with, so along with the mix he began selling donut making machines. In 1954 the Moulton’s sold their Wisconsin restaurant and moved to Des Moines to run the thriving Donut business. In 1965 Wilbur Moulton died at the age of 55, leaving no one to oversee the family business. In 1966 Wilbur’s wife Mary persuaded their son Harry who was a captain in the air force to leave the Air Force and return to Iowa to run the family business.

After taking over the Iowa Donut Supply Company, Harry soon realized that the customers required more that one flavor of donut mix and expanded the company into selling a total of nine flavors of cake donut mixes as well as making the frostings and glazes to top the donuts with. Harry then added a full line of flavored Decorettes, Chocolate Chips, peanuts, slivered almonds, coconut, cinnamon sugar, the shortening to fry donuts in, Dotty’s label donut boxes in ½ and 1 dozen sizes. Harry’s commitment was to supply everything that customers needed to make the highest quality cake donut available anywhere, and supply the training necessary to make a consistent High Quality

Cake Donut day after day. Iowa Donut Supply’s niche was to offer all the functions that a customer needs to make and sell donuts. Harry’s commitment was for the Iowa Donut Supply Company to offer a “higher quality cake donut and the knowledge of how to make them as well as making a product that is better that all the others – much better.”

In 2004 Harry Sold the Iowa Donut Supply to the UniNet Corporation, the parent company of Gordon Food Products. As the company has expanded into several Midwest states the name was changed to The Donut Supply Company. Harry remains on as an advisor to the company and all of the loyal employees also remain with The Donut Supply Company making the same Quality products that the company was established on.

History of the Donut

Doughnuts have existed since the beginning of time. Archaeologists continue to unearth fossilized bits of what look like doughnuts in the maddens of prehistoric Native American settlements.

The doughnut, as we know it, supposedly came to Manhattan (then New Amsterdam) under the Dutch name of olykoeks--"oily cakes."

In early colonial times, US. Dutch immigrants discovered fried cake. So, the story goes, a cow kicked a pot full of boiling oil over onto some pastry mix, thus inventing the golden brown delight. Apparently, they didn't share this great discovery with their homeland and the fried cakes became a staple in the harsh conditions that existed in the colony.

Around 1847, Elizabeth Gregory, a New England ship captain's mother, made a deep-fried dough that used her son's spice cargo of nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon rind. She made the deep fried cakes for son Hansen and his crew so they could store the pastry on long voyages...and to help ward off scurvy and colds. Mrs. Gregory put hazel nuts or walnuts in the center, where the dough might not cook through, and called them doughnuts.

Hansen always took credit for the hole in the doughnut. Some doughnut historians think that Hansen was a bit of a cheapskate and was just trying to save on food costs. Others say that he gave the doughnut its first hole when, in the middle of a terrible storm and in order to get both hands on the ships wheel, he crammed one of his mothers fried sensations onto one of the wooded spokes of the wheel. Yet another tale claims that he decided, after a visit from an angel, that the doughy center of the fried cakes had to go, saying it was created to get the donuts cooked without a doughy center.

Her son Hanson presented "his" creation to the people who apparently sang and danced for days in praise of the best-fried cake they had ever tasted. Is the doughnut heavenly food? 17th century America thought so, but unfortunately Hanson was eventually burnt at the stake for being a witch in the mid-19th century. Today, the town of Clam Cove, Maine has a plaque in honor of Captain Hanson Gregory, the man who invented the hole in the donut. 

In the Middle of World War I, women volunteers, trying to give the soldiers a taste of home, served millions of homesick American “doughboys” up countless doughnuts.

During World War II, Red Cross women, known as Doughnut Dollies passed out hot doughnuts to the hard fighting soldiers.

A man named Adolph Levitt, a refugee from czarist Russia, invented the first doughnut machine in 1920, in New York City. Levitt's doughnut machine was a huge hit causing doughnuts to spread like wildfire.

In the United States alone, 10 – 12 billion doughnuts are made every year.

In 2023, Todds Foods bought Dotty's Donuts and has added it to their growing list of Iowa Brands.


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