Baltimore Spice Co., creator of the distinctive Old Bay seasoning favored for flavoring the Chesapeake's blue crabs, has agreed to be acquired by SCM Corp., for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 1939 by German immigrant Gustav C. Brunn, Baltimore Spice has grown from a small family business to a firm with annual sales of about $40 million.

The spice company produces more than 20,000 seasoning blends, primarily for sale in large quantities to food processors and food service firms. Only Old Bay, packaged in square yellow-and-blue tins, is sold on the retail market.

Baltimore, which is also the headquarters of McCormick & Co. Inc., is the East Coast's second-largest spice port after New York.

SCM, a diversified manufacturer based in New York City, is the parent company of Durkee Foods, Durkee Famous Foods, Glidden Paints and Smith-Corona Typewriters. The company reported sales of almost $2 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30.

Durkee Foods caters to the food processing and service markets, while Durkee Famous Foods produces specialty sauces and flavorings for consumers. Together, the two divisions generated revenue of $390 million in the last fiscal year.

Baltimore Spice, which is privately held, will operate as part of Durkee Foods, but will continue to be run by the founder's son, Ralph A. Brunn, an SCM spokesman said.

The acquisition, subject to the negotiation of a definitive contract, "will add significant technology and a specialized product line to Durkee's industrial seasonings business," SCM President Paul H. Elicker said in a statement.