Sunday, May 13, 2012

This Day in History May 14, 1919

Okay, it is sad because the person in the picture died on this date in 1919, but I don't find this as tragic.  Perhaps you do not know this person, but I am willing to bet that you use (or have used) his products.  This is a picture of an American businessman named Henry John Heinz, Jr.  His is truly the story of the American dream.

His parents were immigrants from Germany, and young Heinz was the youngest of eight children.  The family grew up in Pennsylvania. At the age of six, little Harry (as his family called him) began helping his mother with her little garden.  At the age of eight, he was selling vegetables door to door.  And at the age of nine, he was making and bottling his own horseradish sauce (based on his mother's recipe), and he was selling these jars!  He was finally given his own garden, and by the age of 12. he was transporting his vegetables to the local supermarkets three times a week.  He was making $2400 a year!  Okay, I know that doesn't sound like much, but considering his age and the times, it was pretty good.

In 1869, he founded the Heinz Noble & Company (which went bankrupt in 1875).  But he did not give up.  The following year, he opened the company F & J Heinz.  He founded this company with his cousin and brother.  Tomato ketchup was one of their staple items.   In 1888, he was doing so well that he bought out the other members of the company and renamed it H. J. Heinz company.  He died at the age of 74.  Indeed, he was a pioneer in the food industry.  He was one of the first companies to open his doors to the public so they could be assured he was using safe food practices.

I am not a ketchup fan--I loved it as a kid--but the company he established is a top name in the food industry.  I would venture to say that the majority of people in this world have eaten something made by Heinz.

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1 comment:

  1. my nine year old daughter would DRINK ketchup if I let her! :)


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