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Henry Heinz and Brand Creation in the Late Nineteenth Century: Making Markets for Processed Food.

This article assesses the brand-building strategies of Henry Heinz. Heinz began selling bottled horseradish to Pittsburgh residents in 1869. When he died in 1919, his company, H.J. Heinz, was one of the largest food processors in the world. Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., and other scholars have pointed to Heinz's ability to make use of supply-side innovations such as improved transportation and continuous canning technology. But Heinz also paid attention to economic and social changes that were altering the demand side of the economy. Between 1860 and 1920, rising incomes, population growth, and urbanization helped shape the wants and needs of consumers. Heinz understood that shifting household priorities represented an important strategic opportunity. Acting on input from consumers and his own intuitions about the demand side, he created quality products and a meaningful brand. The entrepreneur also invested in a range of organizational capabilities that would support his products and corporate identity. Heinz's s uccess in manufacturing, branding, and distributing condiments and other foods, many of which had previously been prepared at home, helped create a mass market for additional foodstuffs and eventually other consumer products.

In the late nineteenth century, the emergence of processed food altered the daily consumption habits of millions of U.S. households. Bottled horseradish, canned coffee, packaged meat, boxed cereal, and other mass-produced foodstuffs began to appear on urban grocery store shelves in the decades after the Civil War. Some of these products, such as cold breakfast cereals, graham crackers, and canned soup were new. Others were familiar to retailers and consumers. Shopkeepers, for example, had stocked bulk coffee beans since the colonial period. In certain ethnic communities, women often made their own horseradish. The majority of city and rural households had access to fresh meat. But neither consumers nor tradespeople had previously encountered packaged foods that they could not see, smell, or touch. Most were initially suspicious of the quality and value of such products.

In spite of early skepticism on the part of households and retailers, the food processing industry developed very fast. Between 1859 and 1899, total output expanded 1,500 percent.[1] After about 1880, a relatively small number of rapidly growing companies generated much of this increase. National Biscuit, Swift, Armour, Heinz, Quaker Oats, Campbell Soup, Borden, Pillsbury Flour, Libby, and other businesses produced and marketed a wide range of products for national distribution. By 1900, manufactured food comprised almost a third of the value of all finished commodities produced in the United States.[2]

The rapid development of food processing touched most American consumers. By 1920, virtually all households purchased some other form of value-added foodstuffs.[3] Many of these goods, like Borden's condensed milk or Heinz's mango chutney, introduced novel tastes into American homes. The new food products also shaped domestic working rhythms. Packaged, canned, and bottled meats replaced those once butchered, salted, and pickled at home. Prepared foods introduced convenient substitutes for dishes previously cooked from scratch, altering women's established cooking responsibilities. Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup, for example, could be ready in minutes. By contrast, boiling meat, making stock, chopping vegetables, and adding seasoning for homemade soup took hours. Shopping habits shifted in tandem. At almost all income levels, women bought more processed foods--canned hams, bottled corned beef, packaged cookies--and fewer raw ingredients--flour, baking soda, certain spices--than their grandmothers had. [4]

Why did households so quickly adopt these new products? Why were consumers willing to change their daily behavior, albeit in small, almost imperceptible ways, to accommodate food produced in a distant factory? How do we account for the swift growth of mass markets for packaged meats, canned vegetables, and other goods? Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., and other scholars have analyzed this last question, locating food processing in the larger development of American big business. [5] Chandler has pointed to the importance of transportation improvements, technological innovation, and managerial coordination in accounting for the rise of the giant food companies. He has argued, for example, that expanded capacity forced Heinz and other manufacturers to invest in marketing and distribution. With the advent of canning and other continuous-process technologies, these enterprises produced too much, too quickly to depend solely on the marketing abilities of independent wholesalers. For Chandler, the emergence of large food processors was rooted in the supply side of the economy where goods, services, organizational hierarchies, and physical capital originate. He has devoted less attention to how companies tried to affect the demand side of the economy where consumers' priorities, behavior, and material possibilities were shaped.

Other historians have picked up where Chandler left off. Richard Tedlow, Susan Strasser, Roland Marchand, Jackson Lears, Glenn Porter, and Harold Livesay have concentrated on the emergence of the mass market and national advertising in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and on the challenges that specific companies faced in distributing an expanding world of goods. [6] For example, Tedlow has reconstructed how firms such as A & P created national marketing and sales networks. Strasser has suggested that Heinz, Borden, and other food manufacturers built company-controlled distribution systems in order to create direct relationships with end consumers. Porter and Livesay have focused on the significance of technological change and the increasing concentration of markets in explaining why producers moved downstream to replace merchants and other intermediaries in the wholesale distribution of manufactured goods.

This article draws on these studies of changing methods of production and distribution. The story of Henry Heinz is that of an individual entrepreneur concerned to make a market for new products during a moment of widespread economic change. Heinz understood that this objective entailed important supply-side initiatives, including using new technology effectively and constructing a specific set of organizational capabilities.

But this, he realized, was not enough. To create new outlets for his products, Heinz would also have to think incisively about the demand side of the economy. He recognized that rising incomes, urbanization, and women's shifting roles presented substantial strategic opportunities. He intended to make the most of such possibilities by forging meaningful connections with consumers, connections that earned their loyalty and trust. His principal means of doing this was to systematically build his brand. Using imaginative advertising, aggressive promotion, a large motivated sales force, leverage in the distribution channel, and a range of operating policies, the entrepreneur crafted a relevant, distinctive identity for his products and company.

This identity helped differentiate Heinz products from competing ones. Over time, it also altered demand. By establishing a credible brand that offered taste, purity, and convenience, Heinz showed households the benefits of processed foods, encouraging them to purchase mass-produced goods that they had once made at home. He was not the only food manufacturer to sell branded goods. Most of the large food processors relied heavily on advertising. [7] Several invested in a trained sales force before the turn of the century. But few other companies took the brand so seriously, devoting so many organizational resources to its construction, and subjugating other managerial priorities to its maintenance.

Getting Started

When Heinz was growing up, there was no national market for processed food. In the early nineteenth century, most households grew or made the bulk of their food at home. What they could not produce themselves, they bought on a local or regional basis. Most of the foods that consumers purchased were commodities such as flour, coffee, rum, and spices. But some prepared foods were also exchanged. For example, many merchants carried horseradish and other locally produced foods that they had accumulated as customer payments. [8] Virtually all of these goods were undifferentiated within their respective categories. Consumers bought sugar, butter, crackers, and cocoa in bulk. They knew little beyond what the storekeeper told them about a given item's attributes or origins.

Heinz was born in 1844 near Pittsburgh, the eldest of eight surviving children. His parents, Anna and John Henry Heinz, were German immigrants who had been attracted to western Pennsylvania by its booming regional economy. [9] The center of this economy was Pittsburgh, also known as "Iron City" or the "Birmingham of America" for its reliance on iron and metalware production. [10] In the 1840s and 1850s, Pittsburgh was a fast-growing frontier town, an industrial and commercial nexus between the eastern states and developing western lands. As immigrants and other Americans moved inland from the seaboard, Pittsburgh's population climbed swiftly, from five thousand in 1810 to more than fifty thousand at the century's midpoint. [11]

Transportation helped power Pittsburgh's expansion. By 1854, two railroads, the Pennsylvania and the Baltimore and Ohio, linked Pittsburgh with Baltimore and Cleveland to the west and Philadelphia to the east. Three rivers, the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny connected the region with other areas north and south as well as east and west. Raw materials such as coal, iron ore, and cotton entered the city, leaving it as manufactures: iron rails, glass, and cloth. In the middle of the century, Pittsburgh was producing more than $26 million annually in manufactured goods or about 3 percent of the national total. [12]

The city's growth and vigor impressed contemporary visitors. "Nowhere in the world is everybody so regularly and continually busy," observed one Frenchmen. "There is no interruption of business for six days in the week, except during the three meals, the longest of which occupies hardly ten minutes." [13] A reporter for the Atlantic Monthly echoed these perceptions: "What energy, what a fury of industry! This surpasses Chicago. What would luxurious St. Louis say of such reckless devotion to business as this?" [14]

Employment possibilities in this environment were plentiful. John Henry Heinz purchased a brickyard in Sharpsburg, six miles northeast of the city, in 1850. He was not particularly ambitious, but his business grew with the surrounding economy. [15] Within four years, John Henry could afford to design and build a small, two-story house on four acres of land near the town center. Here, Anna Heinz raised and fed a growing family, using some of the land for a large garden. Bursting with energy, Henry internalized his mother's prodigious work ethic. [16] Henry attended school nearby. [17] Before and after school hours, Henry helped in his father's brickyard. He also helped his mother in the family garden, first tending it and later selling its surplus to local grocers. By the time Henry was twelve, he had his own personal plot, a horse, cart, and a growing list of customers.

Henry finished school at age fourteen and worked as his father's assistant in the brickyard. In the summer and early autumn, he continued to expand the produce business, hiring some of his siblings to help. Henry also began to sell food his mother had long prepared for the family table to his growing list of customers. Like many other contemporary women, Anna Heinz made her own horseradish, grating the homegrown root by hand, packing it in vinegar and spices and sealing it in jars or pots. It was a time-consuming chore. Most nineteenth-century American women worked long, full days in their homes: minding children, cooking, sewing, cleaning, and more. As they do today, women in the 1850s and 1860s balanced their varied domestic responsibilities, devoting the lion's share of their time and energy to those deemed most important or pressing. [18] Cooking meals, caring for infants, and nursing the sick took precedence over laundry and cleaning. [19] In this context, few women welcomed the often-tedious task of ma king horseradish, one less essential to the household economy than other cooking duties.

But in mid nineteenth-century Pittsburgh, horseradish was a popular condiment. Some considered it a remedy for dyspepsia or indigestion and respiratory ailments. Many more people, especially within the city's English and German immigrant communities, used it to flavor food: potatoes, cabbage, bread, meats, and fish. [20] Horseradish root grew well in the rich soil of Western Pennsylvania, and by the early 1860s, a local trade had grown up in the condiment. More than a score of small manufacturers and wholesalers sold prepared horseradish in green or brown glass bottles. The greater proportion of these goods, a contemporary business writer observed, "was of a very inferior quality, and the dealers had adulterated it to so great an extent [by adding turnip and wood fibers as filler] that its use was rapidly diminishing." [21]

Bottled horseradish was not the only food that was suspect in the 1850s. Food quality and safety were growing concerns in mid nineteenth-century cities. [22] These issues were not new. Various local laws had mandated inspection of meat and flour exports since the colonial period. Other ordinances had regulated bread prices and ingredients, banning adulterants, such as chalk and ground beans. But as urban areas and the sources of food supplying these areas expanded, older controls weakened. Public anxiety about contaminated food, including milk, meat, eggs, and butter mounted. So, too, did worries about adulterated chocolate, sugar, vinegar, molasses, and other foods. [23] Journalists, reformers, and legislators began calling for tighter oversight of the nation's food supply in the late 1840s. [24] These demands intensified as the scale and scope of food manufacturing increased in the late nineteenth century. [25]

Henry Heinz understood that consumers were suspicious of food they did not know and could not see. Using his mother's recipe, he began bottling unadulterated horseradish in clear glass. He peddled his product to local grocers and hotel owners, emphasizing its purity and comparing his to other bottled horseradish packed in colored glass. Heinz listened carefully to what consumers said during these conversations and incorporated some of their comments into his selling and preparation techniques. Before long, he was encouraging potential customers to sample his goods for taste and health. The young entrepreneur's sales of horseradish and raw vegetables rose steadily. In 1861, he had more than three and a half acres under cultivation. His revenues for that year totaled $2,400 (or about $43,000 in 1997 dollars). [26]

Heinz, Noble & Company

By the time he was twenty-one, Henry Heinz had saved enough money from his food business to buy a half interest in his father's brickworks. He continued to divide his time between this enterprise and food production. Each spring, he experimented with seeds, planting conditions, and watering regimes, keeping notes on what worked and failed. Heinz loved the weather, and his diary entries and correspondence are strewn with observations on prevailing temperatures and seasonal patterns. During the late summer and autumn months, the young entrepreneur continued to build his produce and horseradish business.

In the late 1860s, Henry extended his sales routes to include the new oil towns of western Pennsylvania. Centered around Titusville, about eighty-five miles north of Pittsburgh, the region had seen explosive growth since Edwin Drake's 1859 discovery of oil. [27] For much of the next decade, men, money, and equipment streamed into the Allegheny Valley in search of "black gold." [28] Heinz and other entrepreneurs who traveled to the area watched oil output and capital investment soar. [29] In 1860, western Pennsylvania produced 450,000 barrels of oil; by 1862, the number had climbed to over 3 million. [30]

Processing capacity grew in lockstep with crude oil extraction. There were five refineries in Pittsburgh when the decade opened; by 1870, there were more than fifty. [31] In Pittsburgh, Titusville, Pithole Creek and other oil towns, the possibilities for profit seemed boundless. To service the frenetic activity of oil extraction, a range of businesses sprang up, including Heinz's produce sales. In Oil City, Tarentum, and other towns, Heinz called on hotel owners, boarding house managers, general merchants, and grocers. He returned to Sharpshurg with a suitcase full of orders. [32]

In 1869, Heinz decided to devote his energies entirely to food production. He sold his interest in the brickworks and formed a partnership with L. Clarence Noble, a member of a wealthy Sharpsburg family, to produce bottled horseradish. [33] Heinz and Noble chose an Anchor as their company's symbol and began marking their labels, trade cards, invoices, and advertisements with it [34] Their first factory -- small and crude by modern standards--was located in the basement of a house which Heinz's family had recently vacated. The partners hired two women and a boy to make and pack their product.

Among local customers, Heinz's products were known for their quality. Both entrepreneurs hoped to extend this reputation in their production and marketing efforts. To preserve the bottled horseradish, the entrepreneurs used a technique pioneered in France during the Napoleonic Wars and widely known in the United States by the 1860s. The condiment was packed in airtight glass bottles and then immersed in boiling salt water for as long as thirty minutes. This minimized the chances of spoilage and retained the horseradish's flavor. Noble was in charge of all bottling and manufacturing operations. He also dealt with the company's suppliers.

With his partner based in Sharpsburg, Heinz committed his energies to sales. He extended his earlier routes, heading east to New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., as well as the Oil Regions, where he called on grocers, jobbers, and hotel and restaurant owners. Heinz also went to Ohio, stopping regularly in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Akron. [35] Most of these cities were growing quickly in the mid-nineteenth century. The railroad's arrival accelerated this expansion. For instance, the number of people living in Washington, D.C., more than doubled between 1850 and 1870. Philadelphia's population increased threefold over the period, climbing to 674,000 in the later year. The number of Cleveland residents multiplied five times. [36]

Heinz set out to build a market for his products in these fast-growing urban areas. With few exceptions, he traveled by train, and his early notebooks contain numerous references to rail schedules, journey times, and destinations. [37] When a train route opened from Pittsburgh to another Eastern or Midwestern city, Heinz was often one of the first regular passengers, carrying his sample case and Anchor brand trade cards to a new set of potential customers in the grocery, restaurant, and wholesale trade. At times his pace was almost manic. In one three-day period in early 1875, for example, Heinz traveled from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, then on to New York City and Baltimore, and back home [38] Later that same month, he tried to broaden company sales and increase capacity by visiting Chicago and St. Louis.

Demand for Heinz & Noble products grew. [39] In 1870, the partners enlarged their processing operations, taking over a second room in the old Heinz family house. A year later, they expanded their product line to include celery sauce, prepared brown mustard, and sweet and sour pickles. [40] In introducing these new offerings to customers, Heinz continued to stress the Anchor brand's commitment to food purity and taste. He also compared his products to competing ones, many of which were made by small producers.

Like the growing urban outlets for prepared horseradish, condiments markets included a number of dubious goods. "Probably half the vinegar sold in our cities was rank poison," remarked one food reformer in the late nineteenth century. Peppers and mustard were often adulterated with lead, he continued, while sugar, molasses, and various syrups also frequently contained harmful additives. Several mills in New England, he added, "were grinding white stone into fine powder of three grades, called soda, sugar, and flour." [41] In the 1860s, there were also a few larger condiments makers that imposed high quality standards on their products and had good reputations. The British company Crosse & Blackwell, for example, made sweet pickles or gherkins. William Underwood & Company of Boston manufactured pickles, sauces, and ketchup. [42]

Why did Heinz and Noble decide to broaden their product line? How did they settle on celery sauce, pickles, and other condiments--goods that many Americans had historically produced at home or bought in small quantities from established European manufacturers? Both supply and demand-side considerations affected the young businessmen's choices. As the market for Anchor products grew, so, too, did the company's need for specific inputs, especially vinegar of specific strengths. Heinz and Noble decided to integrate backward to ensure adequate supplies of specific materials. [43] In the early 1870s, the partners began manufacturing their own vinegar.

By 1873, Heinz & Noble was selling this input as a final product to a growing number of customers, including other food processors and potential competitors." [44] Within three years of staffing vinegar production, the company's capacity was more than four hundred barrels a week. [45] Concerned to utilize this capacity as fully as possible while extending the market for his company's goods, Heinz was constantly on the lookout for new products. He experimented frequently with different recipes for pickles, mustard, cider vinegar, pickled cauliflower, curry powder, pickled cabbage, and other condiments. He kept track of which ingredient combinations, cooking times, temperatures, and utensils worked well and which did not. [46]

In the first five years of business, horseradish root, vinegar, cucumbers, onions, cabbages, and a few spices were the firm's core ingredients. Its early product line, which soon broadened to include sauerkraut and pickled cauliflower, developed directly from inventive reliance on these makings. New products such as gherkins and mustard were combined to create still other goods. Chow chow, a chutney-like spread, was made from gherkins, onions, cauliflower, and mustard. [47]

Today we might point to Heinz and Noble's skill in exploiting economies of scope, in developing additional goods that utilized existing inputs and organizational capabilities. [48] But neither man thought in theoretical terms about what he was doing. Like other entrepreneurs at other times, they were working to expand a fledgling business operating in a new, as yet largely undefined, market. Heinz and Noble believed that they had no time to lose. To make the most of the opportunity they saw before them, they would have to use their limited financial resources and more ample creativity as efficiently as possible. Increasing the company's product line was a potentially quick, inexpensive way to shape a nascent market for processed food.

It was also a means, Heinz reasoned, of building the brand. In the 1870s, branding was a new commercial concept. [49] Before that time, as usiness historian Richard Tedlow has written, "most manufacturers were unknown to the people who bought their products." [50] Heinz would not have used the words "brand creation" to describe his initiatives. This term is a product of the mid-twentieth century. But the entrepreneur understood the strategic rationale of branding and its importance to competing effectively on the demand side of the economy. In a young market, he realized, consumers had to be able identify a particular product's source, functional attributes, and perceived quality relative to rival goods. Customers also needed to be made to appreciate the intangible aspects of a good--the associations and expectations that they attached to it.

Heinz knew from selling bottled horseradish that men and women would not buy a completely new product, especially a good they could make themselves, unless its quality was assured. Through careful packaging, unadulterated ingredients, and savvy salesmanship, Heinz and later Heinz & Noble had provided such assurance. Grocers, wholesalers, and their customers--Heinz's end users--now associated the anchor symbol with superior horseradish, manufactured outside the home. "The brand of the Anchor Pickle and Vinegar Works," a business writer noted at the time, "is known to consumers throughout the country as a guarantee of a first-class quality of goods." [51]

Heinz hoped to extend this brand association to other related goods. He suspected that the potential demand for pure, savory condiments and sauces was enormous. In thinking through the possible appeal of his offerings, Heinz had no quantitative information on contemporary purchasing power. He did not know in the 1870s that real per capita incomes would grow by an annual average of more than 2 percent for the next two decades; these statistics are the products of modem economic analysis. [52]

But the young entrepreneur had done business in a number of cities on the eastern seaboard and in the Midwest. He had seen firsthand how swiftly places such as Chicago, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh, were growing. In these and other cities, he could observe the effects of accelerating industrialization: the emergence of new enterprises and occupations, the coincidence of great wealth with urban poverty, and the appearance of novel consumer goods--ready-made shifts, watches, Japanned fans, celluloid baby raffles, Swiss buttermilk soap, and much more. Heinz could also sense that the pace of urban life was quickening, spurred on by transportation and communications improvements. [53]

These changes augured well for Heinz's products and brand. Standardized, branded condiments, the entrepreneur realized, would be affordable to large numbers of urban Americans. These goods would also be appealing. As cities expanded, fewer households had access to their own food supplies: the family cow or garden. Many consumers in the city, Heinz believed, might turn to mass-produced foods, such as canned soups, packaged meat, and condiments. Not only would Heinz's products save women time and energy, they would also enhance the flavors of other foods. Horseradish, pickles, and celery sauce were already popular with German and English-origin peoples. Pickles were also important in Jewish cuisine. [54]

The young businessman hoped to develop a larger market for his products. In the early 1870s, he saw an important opportunity to do this. Most existing canneries and condiment manufacturers were small enterprises that sold their products locally. From Heinz's perspective, these companies had not yet begun to tap the possibilities of a broad national market. By concentrating initially on growing cities, he intended to expand his young business westward across the country.

Commercial traffic in prepared foods was not new to the late nineteenth century. Rural consumers had long bartered butter, eggs, horseradish, and other foodstuffs with storekeepers in exchange for sugar, coffee, and other items that could not be made at home. [55]

Retailers used these in-kind payments as capital, reselling them to other store customers or trading them to urban wholesalers and jobbers for needed supplies. Bartering reduced storekeepers' dependence on currency. It also created informal distribution networks for locally produced goods. For instance, Philadelphia consumers could often find butter at their local grocers. These and other such products were made by farm households in Devon, Berwyn, and other surrounding areas. Although these foodstuffs bore no name or other information, urban retailers could generally vouch for their quality.

Heinz hoped to convince households and storekeepers that Anchor products were of better quality and more reliable than competing goods. He knew many people, including retailers, did not trust bottled food. Its taste was not consistent and it frequently spoiled. In 1870, he did not have a laboratory in which to analyze the content of his own or other offerings. The science of nutrition began to develop in the 1890s; the presence of vitamins in food and the relationship between diet and disease are twentieth-century discoveries. But as he and his partner expanded their business in the early 1870s, Heinz made an important strategic bet on potential consumer attitudes toward processed food. He was fairly confident that a "wide market awaited the manufacturer of food products who set purity and quality above everything else in their preparation." [56] Heinz also suspected that women would be willing to pay a dependable source to take over some of their cooking duties. [57]

Throughout the company's early years, Heinz and Noble tried to manage both sides of the market: to build customer awareness of their products and increase capacity to meet this nebulous, emerging demand. In 1872, they moved the business from Sharpsburg to the center of Pittsburgh, where they leased a four-story factory, office, retail store, and warehouse. [58] The same year, they also took in a third partner, E. J. Noble, Clarence's brother, who purchased a 25 percent stake in the business. The firm, now known as Heinz, Noble & Company, acquired more land outside the city. By 1875, the manufacturer was growing produce on 160 acres near Pittsburgh, the largest garden in the state. [59] During harvest season, Heinz, Noble & Company employed 150 people. [60] To meet bigger payrolls and finance new facilities, Heinz took out short-term bank loans, borrowed money from friends, and bought a $15,000 mortgage on his father's brickyard and house. [61]

Relying on Heinz's salesmanship, a burgeoning railroad network, and the young brand's growing reputation, the company expanded its sales territory. The three partners wanted to establish a series of beachheads to serve the rapidly growing urban markets west of Ohio: Indianapolis, St. Louis, Chicago, Omaha, and Detroit. Heinz, Noble & Company opened a sales office and warehouse in St. Louis in 1873. Within two years, the firm added a vinegar factory in St. Louis and a distribution warehouse in Chicago. Heinz sensed that Chicago was well on its way to becoming a vital commercial center, calling it "a second New York City." "Those that have little ambition," he continued, "must move along or get out altogether." [62]

By extending the company's business in the west, Heinz and the Noble brothers also hoped to increase the firm's proximity to specific inputs, such as cucumbers and cabbages. They located a canning company in Woodstock, Illinois, some fifty miles northwest of Chicago, in 1875. The business had over six hundred acres of cultivated land and was situated on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. Heinz and his partners contracted to buy the tract's produce at a set price of sixty cents a bushel for cucumbers and $10 a ton for cabbages in return for use of the Illinois firm's salting and packing facilities and outbuildings. [63]

Age thirty-one in 1875, Heinz had much to be optimistic about. Despite the lingering nationwide depression that had set in two years earlier, his company continued to enjoy significant success. Sales and productive capacity had grown markedly in each year since the firm's inception. In 1871, the business had manufactured sixty barrels of pickles; four years later, the company made over 15,000. [64] Vinegar production climbed equally quickly, to over 50,000 barrels in 1875. [65] Heinz, Noble & Company was on its way to establishing a regional presence in a number of fast-growing markets.

Clarence Noble managed the company's interests in Woodstock, Illinois. His brother ran the St. Louis facilities. Heinz, based in Pittsburgh, oversaw operations there. The bulk of his time, however, was devoted to building recognition for the business and its products. In the spring of 1875, he arranged to have the firm's wagons painted with pea green running gear and plum colored bodies." Heinz had never seen "or heard of such colors in running gear." [66] Nor had his potential customers, who, he believed, were likely to remember the flamboyant wagons with company signs and anchor symbols. He entered the pickles, horseradish, and several other products in numerous fairs, including the Cincinnati Exposition, where Heinz, Noble & Company was recognized for the quality of its products. [67] Henry was proud of his business accomplishments. "I have more ambition and confidence," he wrote in the diary that he began keeping that year, "in my ability to manage the Pittsburgh house, gardens, finance, etc. than I have had for two years past." [68]

The entrepreneur's ebullience proved short-lived. Despite growing sales, by late spring the business was short of operating capital. In a depressed economy, credit was tight. Pittsburgh banks and other potential lenders could offer only limited assistance to the young enterprise. On April 20, Heinz noted, "My bank account [is] short about $3,000 ... and know not how to get it." [69] The company's financial position did not improve as summer began. Heinz hustled for funds, borrowing money on his father's house and other assets to pay short-term creditors and employees. By early July, more than fifty hands were owed biweekly wages. But Heinz had "little to meet them with." [70]

The late summer harvest only compounded the company's financial difficulties. Growing conditions were ideal, and crop yields were huge. [71] Cucumbers began to rain down at the firm's salting stations in late August, arriving at the rate of 2,000 bushels a day. [72] Other vegetables were harvested in record numbers. Heinz and his partners confronted a new, urgent problem: how to mobilize productive capacity in the face of a surging supply of perishable inputs? The entrepreneur pushed himself harder, extending his usual fourteen-hour workday to eighteen hours. Heinz, Noble & Company hired additional workers to process the huge harvest. Purchasing and payroll costs soared, exacerbating the business's liquidity crisis.

Even in the midst of financial chaos, Heinz allocated time and money to marketing. In October 1875, the company erected a "grand display" at the first Pittsburgh Exposition. [73] Funded by local business leaders and billed as a "Tradesmen's Industrial Institute," the Exposition was organized as a five-week advertisement of the city's industrial and commercial feats. [74] Visitors to the scores of displays had a chance to sample and purchase a variety of products. Heinz, Noble & Company had more than a thousand bottles of horseradish, mustard, pickles and celery sauce on hand at their ten by twenty-four foot exhibit. Heinz took out an $800 insurance policy on the display and its inventory.[75]

The company's fine showing at the fair and strong autumn sales did not solve its financial problems. Heinz bounced his first check in November. [76] News of the company's crisis spread quickly. Angry local creditors levied charges of fraud against the firm and had Heinz, the only partner resident in Pittsburgh, arrested. [77] Although he was released on bail, the county sheriff placed a levy on Heinz's household goods and all of the business's assets. The St. Louis and Chicago operations were quickly closed down. On December 17, Heinz, Noble & Company filed for voluntary bankruptcy, one of more than 5,000 businesses that failed in 1875. [78]

The firm's horses, wagons, boiler, equipment, and stock at hand were all sold to pay outstanding debts. The furniture and home of Heinz's parents were also appraised and advertised, filling the entrepreneur with shame. There is no historical record of how neighbors and colleagues actually treated Henry Heinz in the wake of the bankruptcy. But by the close of 1875, he perceived himself to be the object of sudden, widespread disapproval. [79] "A man is nowhere," he observed on December 30, "without money." [80]

A New Beginning

As 1876 opened, Herny Heinz surveyed his prospects. They could not have been encouraging. His business was gone. He was heavily in debt to Heinz, Noble & Company creditors. Assuming personal, family, and company assets could be liquidated at their market value, Heinz himself was still liable for at least $20,000. More immediately pressing was his personal financial crisis. By early January, he was so short of cash, he could not buy groceries. Ashamed of the pain the bankruptcy had cost his family and friends, Heinz was reticent to ask them for help. [81] Instead, he sought credit at three local merchants. All turned him down. [82]

The only course open was to seek assistance from his family. He approached his brother, John, and cousin, Frederick Heinz, about helping him finance a new food processing business. Each relative advanced him $1,600. Henry raised an additional $1,400 from assets that his wife, Sallie, owned. Under the terms of the agreement between the three men, John and Frederick would rent nearby acreage, form a new company, and pay Henry to run the enterprise. Henry would have a right to half interest in the concern when his bankruptcy was discharged. [83] On February 6, 1876, the F. & J. Heinz Company was launched.

The business began operations on a shoestring. Henry used as much as he dared of the firm's $3,000 capitalization to buy back some of the equipment and stock he had liquidated in the bankruptcy. He secured the premises his earlier company had occupied in downtown

Pittsburgh, convincing the owner to let his new firm take occupancy several months before paying the first rent check. [84] Heinz persuaded former employees to work at half pay for several weeks, telling them he intended to use the balance of their salaries to buy back additional equipment from creditors. [85]

The new company's product line included bottled horseradish, pickles, gherkins, and celery sauce. Sallie Heinz packed the horseradish. Frederick Heinz oversaw the firm's growing operations on rented land, while John took charge of manufacturing. Henry assumed responsibility for marketing, finance, and the overall direction of the business. He hired one salesman, reserving the most challenging sales routes for himself. Resuming the grueling pace of travel he had previously maintained, Heinz "started out to hunt up trade ... such as our man could not sell to." [86] On February 18, for example, he arrived in Philadelphia at 9 a.m. to call on former trade connections: jobbers, restaurant owners, and grocers. At 11:30 that evening, he took the train to Baltimore, where he hoped to expand the company's presence on the eastern seaboard. By late the next day, he was on his way back to Pittsburgh. Trips such as this one also doubled as scouting expeditions for the entrepreneur. Heinz surveyed various locations with a n eye to establishing distribution points--sales offices and warehouses--as the company expanded and future revenues grew.

At home in Pittsburgh, he worked long days and nights, often with Sallie and their children helping. In spite of such efforts, early revenues were not encouraging. June 1876 sales were "fearful dull," Heinz noted on a trip to Philadelphia. "Here no one wants goods in our line, and if you force them, you can only do it at a loss." [87] In late summer, the company confronted significant cash-flow problems. "Very close run for money," Heinz nervously observed. "Can't see how to get along and not a man or friend will give us a cent." [88] He worried about how to finance over forty-five acres of cabbage and horseradish root that had not yet been harvested. "We manage with a little capital to do a business of about $3,000 to $4,000 a month, but it requires managing. [I write] checks and then hope in some way to meet them." [89]

Periodic despondency did not smother Heinz's commercial imagination. He had long suspected that business success depended on more than overseeing the supply side of the market. To be effective, his organization needed broader capabilities than those involved in obtaining cucumbers and manufacturing pickles. [90] Sustained growth and market power depended critically on his and his partners' ability to harness productive capacity to the changing parameters of demand. This involved more, Heinz realized, than understanding consumer needs. It also involved clarifying household priorities, applying the organization's technical know-how to the creation of new, customersatisfying offerings, and bringing these offerings to market. [91]

The bankruptcy drove home the importance of staying in close touch with household concerns. After 1875, Heinz was determined to lead his new company toward serving and affecting customer demand. This goal would become paramount. Other strategic decisions about manufacturing, product development, and organizational structure would be made with this ultimate end in mind. He resolved to build an organization that, as marketing scholar Theodore Levitt has written, would "feel the surging impulse of commercial mastery." [92]

In the last quarter of 1876, sales began to improve. Heinz was pleased with the company's $400 glass bill for the month of October, "the biggest since F. & J. Heinz started," and a sound indicator of growing demand. Two months later, he was able to record in his diary that "trade is good and we are working hard." [93] After busy days in the company office and factory, Heinz used his evenings to write letters and handle orders. On December 14, for example, there was no time to go home. He and his brother Peter, who helped manage the firm's wholesaling operations, spent the night in the company office. Henry roused his brother at 5:00 the next morning and "started him off for Wheeling at 6 am to start selling there." [94] For 1876, F. & J. Heinz recorded revenues of $44,474 (about $573,000 in 1997 dollars). [95] Rising wholesale and retail revenues served to vindicate Heinz's business vision. "Truly," he observed of the company's first year of operations, "it is starting life over." [96]

The next five years were busy, successful ones for Heinz and his company. Revenues expanded rapidly, growing at a compound annual rate of 45 percent. [97] As sales increased, Heinz and his colleagues continued to broaden the company's product offerings. In 1876, the firm introduced tomato ketchup. [98] British households had used ketchup in many varieties as a flavoring sauce for fish, meat, vegetables, and gravies since the early eighteenth century. North Americans imported a number of culinary tastes from Britain, including ketchup. By the midnineteenth century, walnut, mushroom, and tomato ketchup had all become established seasonings in the United States. Most general cookbooks published in the decades before the Civil War contained several ketchup recipes. [99]

During the war, the production of bottled and canned foods proliferated, spurred on by technological developments and military demand. [100] Commercial ketchup manufacture grew in tandem. [101] Scores of small and medium-sized factories in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri were soon making ketchup as a byproduct of canning tomatoes. [102] But few companies manufactured a consistent product. Overcooking, spoilage and large quantities of camouflaging spices often destroyed taste and appearance. [103]

From Heinz's perspective in 1876, the potential ketchup market was not unlike those he had faced years earlier for processed horseradish or pickles. Consumers, he reasoned, would buy ketchup made outside the home if they were sure the condiment was delicious and unadulterated. An important opportunity thus existed for the company that could make and sell such ketchup on a large scale. Using his young brand's reputation for quality and his company's manufacturing capabilities, Heinz hoped to capitalize on this possibility before other firms did. His early advertisements pronounced the product "a blessed relief for mother and other women in the household." [104]

Three years later, Heinz brought out red and green pepper sauce. The new condiment was "keyed to high-spiced tastes," according to company documents, and "was greatly in demand in fish, oyster, and clam bars." [105] F. & J. Heinz introduced Worcestershire sauce in the same year. The market for this condiment was a fast-growing one, dominated by the British manufacturer Lea & Perrin. [106]

By 1881, the Pittsburgh company's yearly sales exceeded $284,000 ($3.6 million in 1997 dollars). [107] Led by pickles, product revenues grew quickly in almost all of the firm's markets, fueling more expansion possibilities and allowing the founder to repay his personal bankruptcy debts a year earlier than anticipated. [108] Business, Heinz concluded in October 1881, had obtained a kind of critical momentum, taking on a life of its own. "We never saw such an amount of orders," the 34-year-old entrepreneur jotted in his diary. "Our trade is very good. Not able to get orders filled and scarce see how ever to catch up." [109] Despite Henry Heinz's worry, the company did meet demand. At the end of the decade, sales topped $800,000 annually ($10.1 million in 1997 dollars). [110]


Between 1865 and 1880, Heinz had established a reputation for high quality condiments. Retailers and households in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago associated his company with flavorful, healthy condiments and sauces. How was Heinz to expand regional recognition and interest into nationwide customer loyalty? How was he to convince millions of potential consumers that food produced in his Pittsburgh factory was comparable, even superior, to that made at home? What competitive advantages could he construct over other companies manufacturing similar products?

One of the entrepreneur's most important tools in meeting these challenges was the Heinz brand. The entrepreneur wanted to build a more powerful identity for his offerings than that he had begun to develop before his first business went bankrupt. He intended to put his experience with reaching consumers to use on a much larger scale. He wanted to forge a national brand that would distinguish his offerings from those of rivals and provide households with important information about Heinz foodstuffs. This information would focus on his products' taste, variety, and overall quality. He also intended to earn customers' and retailers' trust, to convey confidence and familiarity to the women and men who bought his products. To do this, he would continue the company's emphasis on purity in manufacturing. He would also try to link Heinz products with the values most people placed on homemade food: wholesomeness, care, goodness, and consistency.

How was the entrepreneur to construct a preeminent national and perhaps global brand? In most of his regional markets, he faced competition from small, local canneries and food processors. On a larger scale, U.S. companies such as Libby, McNeil & Libby, William Underwood & Co., Van Camp Packing Company, Borden's Condensed Milk, and Campbell Soup were struggling to secure growing domestic markets for a range of canned and bottled goods, including meats, produce, preserves, sauces, soups, and milk. Several British firms, including Crosse & Blackwell, were jockeying for stakes in the American vinegar and condiments business. In the manufacture of virtually all these products, Heinz also faced rivalry from his potential customers-- women who could choose to make their own pickles.

To differentiate his goods in ways that appealed to consumers, Heinz pursued an ambitious brand creation strategy. It was built around imaginative advertising, a carefully managed company image, an organized sales force, and supporting manufacturing methods. It was designed to exercise as much influence as possible over the distribution channel. [111]

Advertising and Promotion

Since his first years in the food business, Heinz had devoted significant company resources to advertising and promotion. He continued this practice with his new company. In 1876, for example, F. & J. Heinz mounted an exhibit at the Pittsburgh Exposition. The display centered on pickles, although it also included horseradish as well as celery sauce. The stand featured free samples and souvenir cards. "We hear people say," Heinz noted, that "it surpasses anything in [the] way of a pickle display at [the] Centennial [Exposition]," held in Philadelphia the same year to commemorate the nation's founding. [112] In November, the entrepreneur sent four wagons to take part in a huge Pittsburgh parade for presidential candidate Rutherford B. Hayes. The wagons carried signs with the company name and trademark. One read: "We Will Pickle Tilden." [113]

Parades and fairs remained important advertising venues for F. & J. Heinz. [114] Throughout the later 1870s and 1880s, the company sponsored elaborate exhibits and food tastings at state and local expositions. The manufacturer used these displays to expose potential customers--households as well as retailers--to its product line, distributing large quantities of free samples. The company's presence at fairs and parades also introduced thousands of consumers to the Heinz brand. The details of each display, including its appearance, signage, merchandising, souvenirs, and staffing, were coordinated to emphasize taste, purity, cleanliness, and convenience. In the last two decades of the nineteenth century, for example, the company handed out thousands of free souvenirs: calendars, spoons, show cards, and souvenir books. Each item carried the Heinz name. Most also emphasized an important brand attribute, such as "Pure Food for the Table." [115] Beginning in the 1890s, the business also mounted exhibits at trade s hows and grocers' picnics. These demonstrations were directed specifically at retailers. [116] Like the company's exhibits at public festivals, these promotions stressed the brand's reliability, including its money-back guarantee.

In 1893, the food manufacturer sponsored one of its most successful displays at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Organized to celebrate the achievements of American civilization, the world's fair was the most extravagant ever held in the United States. [117] More than 27 million people, a daily average of 175,000, walked through the grounds over the course of five months. [118] This was largest single event in which the Pittsburgh manufacturer had taken part, and the founder hoped to use the opportunity to expand recognition of the Heinz brand. The company's assigned exhibition space on the second level of the Agricultural Building was the biggest allotted to any U.S. food producer. Heinz had taken out a bank loan to finance it. [119] Surrounded by the displays of Knox Gelatin, Schlitz Brewery, American Cereal, Swift meats, and other companies, the Heinz display was a "magnificent pavilion of antique oak, hand carved and oil polished," according to the Rand McNally guidebook to the fair. "At each end of the four corners is a small pagoda," the guidebook continued. "These are tenanted by beautiful girls--one French, one English, one German, and one Spanish." [120] From this pavilion, as many as ten employees dispensed samples of Heinz products: pickles, ketchup, relish, horseradish, celery sauce, mustard, and more.

During the opening days of the fair, hordes of visitors streamed through the main level of the Agricultural Building. But very few ventured up to the gallery level, where Heinz and the other U.S. food producers were located. After watching this traffic flow disappointingly for several hours one morning, the Pittsburgh entrepreneur devised a solution. He arranged to have tens of thousands of small tickets printed and dropped around the fair grounds. Resembling a baggage check card, each ticket promised the bearer a free souvenir at the Heinz exhibit. This tactic paid off handsomely. Over the next five months, more than a million people stopped at the company's exhibit to claim their souvenir: a pickle-shaped charm with the Heinz name stamped on one side. Chicago police regulated crowd control until the gallery floors could be strengthened to support the unexpected weight. [121]

As the firm's market presence grew, the founder extended the scale and reach of its advertising initiatives. [122] By the mid 1890s, the company name and its eight-sided keystone symbol, painted in bright yellow and green, were covering delivery wagons, railroad tank cars, and billboards in major U.S. cities. [123] Signs along main-line railroads promoted the firm's most popular goods. Company cards, complete with a four-line verse, dotted the interiors of streetcars. Heinz spent heavily on newspaper ads, although he prohibited any appearing on Sundays.

In 1896, the 52-year-old business leader devised what would become the brand's most enduring logo. Riding an elevated train in New York City, he noticed a shoe sign publicizing 12 styles. His company manufactured varieties of goods rather than styles. But he was intrigued by the concept of advertising a number of products. "Counting up how many we had," he later recalled, "I counted well beyond 57, but '57' kept coming back into my mind. 'Seven,' 'seven'--there are so many illustrations of the psychological influences of that figure ... that '58 varieties' or '59 varieties' did not appeal at a11." [124] Within weeks, "57 '58 Varieties" was appearing everywhere--on billboards, product labels, as well as in major newspapers. Before long, the new slogan had been emblazoned in concrete on prominent hillsides along main rail routes. By the early twentieth century, the company newsletter pointed to the prominence of these symbols: "The King's Highway of California picks its way across mountainous 57s. Most spectac ular of these is a ground sign with 125 foot figures. Illuminated with powerful floodlights, it glistens out through the night, to be read by automobilists and patrons of the railroads." [125] One rail passenger, who spotted the numbers from the dining car, queried the waiter as to their meaning. "I don't know, Ma'am," he replied. "But I think they are numbering the hills along this road!" [126]

Heinz himself designed the most famous example of this advertising. In 1900, the company erected Manhattan's first electric sign at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street. The sign was six stories high and included a large pickle bearing the Heinz name as well as the "57 Varieties" slogan. Lit by 1,200 bulbs, it rang up an electricity bill of $90 a night. [127] At a time when a single light bulb was a curiosity, this represented a significant investment. In the display room below the sign, daytime visitors and passersby could watch company employees packing miniature pickles in bottles. [128]

The Heinz Pier in Atlantic City was another splashy marketing innovation designed to introduce consumers to Heinz products and the company. Henry Heinz had first visited the resort in 1880 and had been impressed by the summer crowds. [129] Eighteen years later, he paid $60,000 for a 900-foot pier along the boardwalk there. A huge glass pavilion was constructed at the end of the pier. On top of the building was an electric sign, seventy feet tall, announcing "Heinz 57 Varieties." The central area of the pavilion was exhibition space, given over to a collection of paintings and curios. Busts, bronzes, even an Egyptian mummy and a panel from one of Horatio Nelson's warships, were on display. The building also housed a large display booth, a demonstration kitchen, a reading room, a sun parlor, and rest rooms. The pavilion's assembly hail seated 125 persons.

Here a company employee delivered regularly scheduled lectures on Heinz production techniques, complete with seventy-five stereopticon slides of the Pittsburgh factory. These presentations emphasized the cleanliness, efficiency, and quality control standards of Heinz manufacturing policies. The slides showed Heinz's female employees packing pickles, strawberries, and other produce into bottles by hand. These women were dressed in dark blue uniforms, spotless white aprons, and clean mobcaps. Some were seated, two by two, at small tables with wooden spoons and crockery bowls. These slides conveyed an unmistakable aura of domesticity.

The presentations at Heinz Pier concluded with an invitation to the audience: "You are cordially invited to sample the 57 Varieties and will not be asked to buy. If, however, you wish an assorted case you can leave your order and it will be delivered to your home, through your grocer, at less than wholesale price. Only one case to any one home." [130] More than 15,000 people a day went through the Heinz Pier each summer. In the winter months, the main pavilion closed. But 4,000 came daily to the sun parlor. During the forty-six years that the company maintained the Pier, over fifty million people walked through. Every visitor was offered a pickle pin." [131]

Heinz opened its Pittsburgh factory to the public in the 1890s. Within a decade, more than twenty thousand people a year were touring the manufacturing facilities." [132] A company guide led visitors through the company stables, printing department, box and can factories, female employee dining room, Baked Bean Building, preserving kitchens, and pickle bottling facilities. Employees distributed samples of Heinz products and a souvenir pickle pin to each visitor. The factory tour concluded with a brief lecture. This presentation summarized the company's manufacturing techniques and product lines, emphasizing the brand's purity and commitment to quality. [133] Like the manufacturer's other promotions, factory tours were intended to put the Heinz name and offerings in front of customers.

But the company founder hoped to do more with his advertising than appeal to passive consumers. He wanted to involve these people in extending his brand's reputation. "We keep our shingle out," he wrote in mid 1892, "and then let the public blow our horn, and that counts. But we must do something to make them do this." [134] Virtually all of the company's advertising was designed to excite general attention, to get people interested in and talking about Heinz offerings. Some ventures, such as the Atlantic City pier, also encouraged participation. Pickle pins turned men, women, and children into walking announcements of the Heinz brand and its most famous product. [135] In the modern language of service management, the Pittsburgh entrepreneur worked to enlist his customers as committed spokespeople or disciples for the company. [136]

Most of these initiatives were directed toward increasing brand recognition among retailers and end consumers. But Heinz and his colleagues also promoted the company to employees. As the organization expanded rapidly in the late 1880s and 1890s, it established annual sales meetings, a company newsletter, and a range of social and educational activities for staff. These forums served a number of objectives, including increasing brand awareness within the organization itself. Sales conventions, newsletter articles, and other communication channels emphasized the company's reputation and accomplishments. The 1893 sales convention, for example, opened with an elaborate celebration. As Heinz noted in his diary:

About 100 Branch managers and salesmen are here [in Pittsburgh].... The Western men came in one car and the Eastern men in two cars with streamers over the Pennsylvania Railroad. [They] were met by our H.J. Heinz Company Brass Band of 21 pieces and were led from the hotel to the works this morning. The men were highly pleased. [137]

This and other venues also highlighted brand's commercial potential. The Heinz Auditorium, built for lectures, plays, and other employee events, was completed in 1900. The stained-glass dome atop the 1500-seat theater represented the globe. Emblazoned on the glass was the company motto "The World Our Field." Mound the base of the globe were inscribed eight requisites for business success: integrity, courage, economy, temperance, perseverance, patience, prudence, and tact. [138]

Sales Organization

During the late 1870s and early 1880s, Henry Heinz worked hard to reconstruct and extend the distribution network that he had built with his first business partners. In the five years after founding F. & J. Heinz, Henry was the firm's most successful and widely traveled sales agent. His sales calls took him to East Coast cities such as Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, places where the Heinz name was already known among grocers and other retailers. His routes also stretched west to Des Moines, Louisville, Kansas City, and Buffalo.

By 1881, the business had a more permanent sales presence in Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Richmond, and Philadelphia. Company salesmen who dealt exclusively in F. & J. Heinz goods staffed a few of these distribution points, such as that in Baltimore. In Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Philadelphia, however, the company sold its line through independent wholesalers or jobbers, many of whom also traded in competing goods. Henry Heinz would have preferred not to deal with wholesalers. Their selling efforts were often spread thinly across rival products. Heinz also resented having little influence over which consumers--grocers, hotel owners, restaurateurs--jobbers approached and did business with. Finally, manufacturers like Heinz had no control over which "fastening" techniques were used in peddling their goods. [139]

But Heinz had no choice. He needed to get his goods to customers and convince them of the foods' quality, convenience, and value before competing producers reached the best markets. As significantly, the young businessman wanted his name to be the first and only one that retailers and end users associated with pure, healthy, delicious mass-produced condiments. Heinz knew he could not always accomplish all of his goals simultaneously. In the late 1870s and early 1880s, his business had three full-time traveling salesmen in addition to himself and his brother, Peter Heinz. [140] The young company could not afford to build a larger, company-owned sales organization at the time. It was more important, the founder decided then, to make his goods accessible to customers in growing regions, to try to secure these markets, than to exercise more control over the distribution channel.

As business boomed in the mid-1880s, however, Heinz significantly reduced his reliance on jobbers. He and his partners began to expand the company's sales organization, establishing a series of regional agencies and company-owned warehouses. [141] They staffed these offices and warehouses with trained, full-time employees, significantly reducing the independent wholesaler's role and increasing Heinz's potential influence over distribution. [142] Table 1 shows the growth of the Heinz sales force.

Heinz management strongly encouraged each sales representative or "traveler," as they were known in the company, to establish ongoing, personal relationships with the retailers in his territory. "The confidence of the grocer," observed the Heinz employee newsletter in 1904:

should first be gained by the salesman. When once a salesman has established such relations between himself and the dealer that the merchant believes in him, almost any suggestion made by the salesman will be accepted by his customer as a good one, because he believes that the salesman is working for the interests of both. [143]

It was critical, noted a Heinz sales manager, "to make the buyer understand correctly that we have his best interests at heart, that our interests are mutual, that we must help him if we would help ourselves." [144] Heinz travelers were urged to help their retail customers manage inventory flow, choose advertising, and enhance merchandising displays, responsibilities that had previously belonged to independent wholesalers. [145] In the late 1880s, travelers began emphasizing point-of-sale marketing to retailers. For example, the salesmen showed grocers how to display Heinz products and signage. They also distributed company paraphernalia for public distribution. By 1906, they were providing free ad copy, designed by the company's Retailers' Advertising Service, to interested retailers.

These relationships were intended to help expand sales to the trade. The connections that Heinz travelers established with grocers also improved the flow of information along the distribution channel. Heinz sales representatives reported back to Pittsburgh on changing demand, competitors' actions, and the performance of specific grocers. [146] In 1898, for example, a Heinz traveler making routine calls on grocers in his territory found company goods at one store "scattered from one end of the place to the other." He spoke with the grocer, suggesting the products would be more effectively displayed by consolidating them. This was followed, the salesman recalled, "by an offer to help arrange them, which was immediately accepted; the change was made to the satisfaction of the grocer. A few labels were mailed to him to replace those that were dirty; chutney, euchred figs and India relish were added to his line, making it very presentable and a good advertisement." The proud traveler exhorted other Heinz salesmen to get the grocer "to give you a tier of shelves and devote them to our line; you can do it." [147]

Heinz salesmen received ongoing instructions and training. Company publications and regular sales meetings detailed job responsibilities, sales techniques, and travelers' dress codes. [148] The 57 Sales Manual from the early twentieth century listed seven steps to be followed when calling on grocers. Adhering to these fundamentals, the handbook promised, "will result in a well-rounded sales presentation, which will build the business on your territory and insure your success." [149] On Saturdays, for example, each sales representative was required to set a table with linen and china in one of his region's better grocery stores. All day, he offered samples of the "57 Varieties," telling customers about the Heinz brand, manufacturing processes, and product line. [150] Travelers were also required to carry a clean white cloth for dusting Heinz products on the store shelves. This allowed each salesman to rearrange displays, placing competitors' products behind and under Heinz foods. By the early twentieth centur y, Heinz's sales network had assumed many of the responsibilities previously belonging to wholesalers.

Annual conventions and regular regional meetings were scrupulously organized to help Heinz travelers increase sales and expand the company's presence in the distribution channel. During the three-day convention in 1902, sales representatives attended sessions on such subjects as "Broader Salesmanship" and "Pickling Vinegar--The Most Effective Way of Selling to the Merchant." They also toured the main factory, ate dinner in the employee dining room, and met with senior management and manufacturing workers. In between, the travelers heard lectures on "Our Seed and Vegetable Farms and Salting Houses" and other subjects. [151]

Like the thousands of corporate retreats and seminars held today, the purpose of the Heinz conventions transcended revenue growth. These late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century gatherings were baptisms in the organization's values and by extension, in the Heinz brand. In the words of an 1898 company newsletter, the conventions were the firm's "training schools of success." At these assemblies, the newsletter observed:

men are practically reborn into salesmanship. Men are taught to unlearn and relearn.... The swift communication and intermingling of nations produce marvelously keen competition. Only the brightest of minds in the healthiest bodies can produce success. Information, knowledge of one's subject, must be thorough. In consequence, business absolutely requires its representatives to possess the best natural qualifications, which may be readily molded to the requirements of enterprise. [152]

Yearly conventions also provided educational opportunities for senior management. As the company founder remarked at the Fourteenth Annual Meeting of Managers and Travelers in 1902, "You come here to sharpen us up, you don't appear to know that you come here for that purpose; you imagine you come here to learn.... [To] hear what other managers do, [to listen to] other travelers from other parts of the world.... This is all well and good. But you come here to teach us, and if we don't learn something from you, gentlemen, before you go away from here, it will be our fault, not yours." [153]

Product Development and Manufacturing

Product development played an important role in Henry Heinz's brand building efforts in the 1870s and 1880s. Even in the wake of the 1875 bankruptcy, he was pretty sure that most customers associated his name with pure, tasty pickles. [154] To enhance these perceptions and build the market for manufactured condiments, Heinz worked constantly to extend his company's product line. [155] In 1880, for example, the Pittsburgh manufacturer began production of cider vinegar, distilled white vinegar, apple butter, and mincemeat. [156] Not long after, Heinz added mandalay sauce, chili sauce, sweet onions, East India chutney, and chow chow (pickle relish) to his product line. [157] Backed by aggressive and innovative marketing, most of these introductions quickly became well-established products. [158] Many were market leaders.

During the first decade of his new company, Heinz also devoted considerable time to the development of canning technology and raw material supplies. As a means of preserving food, canning dated back to early nineteenth-century France. In 1809, Nicolas Appert, a winemaker and chef, had answered a government appeal to devise a means of ensuring wholesome foods to itinerant French armies. Appert's method was simple: meat, vegetables, eggs, and fruit were packed in air-tight bottles, then placed in boiling water for varying lengths of time. This process kept foods generally edible much longer than other preservation techniques. [159] In 1810, Appert published his methods in The Book for All Households, or the Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substances for Many Years. By the second decade of the nineteenth century, a variety of American entrepreneurs were using Appert's techniques to process and preserve food that they sold on a regional basis. [160]

But it wasn't until 1875 that canning processes and technology were sufficiently advanced for efficient, large-scale food processing. During the 1860s, the introduction of calcium chloride to boiling water cut sterilization times for meats, fish, vegetables, and fruits from as much as five hours to twenty-five minutes. This difference increased a well-run factory's potential output from 2,500 cans of food a day to over 20,000 cans. [161] After 1868, can making became increasingly mechanized, resulting in expanded production and efficiency. [162] The 1874 invention of the pressure cooker further reduced cooking times for food processors and prevented accidents caused by the buildup of force during beating. In 1877, Heinz began preserving foods in cans as well as jars, bottles, and sealed crocks. [163] He and his brother John, who oversaw manufacturing, understood that the new technology had the potential to significantly reduce breakage as well as packaging and transportation costs. [164] A few years later, t he Pittsburgh manufacturer adopted continuous canning technology, which significantly increased the efficiency of his operations. [165]

Like Heinz, other commercial food processors quickly began using the new technology and techniques. By 1885, can production had emerged as an important secondary industry dependent on, but separate from, food processing. Canning technology continued to improve rapidly in the last two decades of the century. In 1900, Carnation introduced the hole-in-cap can, which was filled through a matchstick opening in one end. [166] The sanitary can was invented three years later and quickly replaced others. These new containers were the first airtight cans that did not need to be soldered in sealing.

Advances in canning technology helped expand the scale of Heinz's production. So too did increased coordination of raw materials and output. In 1882, Heinz added additional capacity, moving manufacturing facilities to the company's present-day location on Pittsburgh's north side. He maintained the Sharpsburg plantation and throughout the 1880s and 1890s, purchased hundreds of acres in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Iowa. [167] At the turn of the century, the company had 20,000 people working on 16,000 acres of U.S. farmland devoted exclusively to production for his business. [168] He also contracted with farmers to supply additional cucumbers and other produce at prearranged prices. Most vegetables were delivered to Heinz facilities in company-owned freight cars, where they were preserved in bottles made at an adjacent company facility. In Pittsburgh, for example, a spur of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad ran directly into the factory's Vinegar Building. Other food manufacturers followed suit, integrating backwa rd and forward. By 1920, almost all of the major American food processors that had been founded in the preceding four decades had concentrated production in a few large factories. Like Heinz, these companies operated their own buying, selling, distributing, and marketing systems. [169]

International Expansion

In 1886, the forty-two-year-old Heinz took his first trip to Europe. It was intended as a vacation. But Heinz could not resist combining business with pleasure. Intending to explore potential overseas markets, he carried a suitcase containing at least one of each of his company's products. [170] Heinz saw no pickle displays as he inspected store windows in central London. [171] He decided to approach Fortnum & Mason, a large food retailer known for its quality and sales to British royalty. Heinz entered the store without a contact or a letter of introduction and asked for the head of grocery purchasing.

The Pittsburgh entrepreneur introduced himself as a food manufacturer from America and then delivered a well-rehearsed presentation. He opened seven different company products, including ketchup, horseradish, and chili sauce. The Fortnum & Mason's agent tasted the condiments while Heinz readied himself to meet a rebuff with his prepared counterattack. He was astonished to hear the purchasing manager say, "I think, Mr. Heinz, we will take all of them." [172] Heinz's diary entry for that day opens "1st Sale in England." [173] When Heinz returned to Pittsburgh, he moved quickly to build British sales. In less than a decade, the company had established a London branch office to serve fast-growing markets in England and other European countries. By the early twentieth century, the business was selling its products in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Holland, and Russia. [174]

For the next twenty-five years, Heinz traveled around the globe, visiting Europe almost every year between 1890 and 1915 and journeying through Asia, the Middle East, and northern Africa. Wherever he went, he worked to exploit potential sales opportunities, visiting food brokers, glass manufacturers, farmers, and factories around the globe. By 1910, Heinz distributed its products through more than forty international agencies, located in twenty countries ranging from South Africa to India to New Zealand. [175] On the eve of the First World War, sales from these markets represented 13 percent of the company's $12 million in annual revenues. [176] At a time when many industrial leaders were learning how to expand distribution domestically, Henry Heinz was setting his sights overseas. "Mountains and oceans in this day," he wrote in his diary, "do not furnish any impassable barrier to the extension of trade.... Our market is the world." [177]


By 1900, the H.J. Heinz Company was one of the largest food processors and one of the first multinational businesses in the United States. In 1905, the company was incorporated, with $4 million worth of stock owned by the founder, a few close relatives, and two associates. Henry Heinz became the first president of the corporation and held that office until he died in 1919. In addition to himself, the major stockholders included his sons, Howard, Clifford, and Clarence, his cousin, Frederick, and his brother-in-law, Sebastian Mueller.

At the time of the entrepreneur's death, the H.J. Heinz Company had 6,523 permanent employees, twenty-five branch factories, eighty-five pickle-salting stations, its own bottle, box, and can factories, as well as its own seed farms. [178] The company harvested over 100,000 acres and operated in more than twenty-five countries in 1919. It was an important player in one of the nation's most vital industries. Its brand was one of the best known in the growing landscape of consumer goods. [179]

Heinz's life and work mirrored the economy that he helped shape. He got his start in business as a farmer peddling produce to his Pittsburgh neighbors. There he could see the power of industrial capitalism unleashed. He understood that rapid economic transition altered what households needed, wanted, and could afford. The young Henry was determined to take advantage of the opportunities presented by such demand-side shifts and set about making a market for bottled condiments.

The most substantial tool Heinz had in doing this was the brand. It was his principal means of reaching customers, earning their trust, and establishing a lasting, dynamic connection with them. It was thus a vital means of breaking open new consumer markets, of encouraging households to change their behavior in small but important ways. Henry Heinz was one of the first U.S. entrepreneurs to pursue such a consistent, innovative, and multi-faceted brand-building strategy. But he was by no means the last great brand creator. A host of companies followed in Heinz's wake. Between 1890 and 1920, scores of businesses such as Eastman Kodak, Waterman's Fountain Pen Company, Beech-Nut, and Gillette, began to develop relevant, distinctive brands.

Many of them relied on creative advertising, trained sales forces, and influence in the distribution channel to develop large markets for their offerings. But few deployed a brand-creation strategy that surpassed the scope, effectiveness, and sustainability of Heinz's.

Nancy F. Koehn is an associate professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School. She is author of The Power of Commerce: Economy and Governance in the First British Empire and a contributor to Creating Modern Capitalism: How Entrepreneurs, Companies, and Countries Triumphed in Three Industrial Revolutions. She is currently at work on a major study of entrepreneurship and brand creation in moments of great socioeconomic change.

The author would like to thank Frank J. Kurtik of the Heinz Family Office, the H.J. Heinz World Headquarters Corporate Affairs Department, the H.J. Heinz World Headquarters Library, and the archivists and librarians of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. The author also expresses her gratitude to Laura Bures and Felice Whittum for their help in researching the life of Henry Heinz, and to Thomas K. McGraw, Walter A. Friedman, and three anonymous reviewers for their comments on this article.

(1.) By comparison, general manufacturing rose sixfold over the same period, Donna R. Cabaccia, We Are What We Eat: Ethnic Food and the Making of Americans (Cambridge, Mass., 1998), 55-56.

(2) Department of Commerce, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, vol. 2 (Washington, D.C., 1975), 699.

(3.) Margaret F. Byington, Homestead: The Households of a Mill Town (Philadelphia, 1910), 75-77; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, How American Buying Habits Change (Washington, D.C., 1959), 112-124; National Industrial Conference Board, Inc., The Cost of Living in the United States (New York, 1925), 72-74, 94-95; Robert Coit Chapin, The Standard of Living Among Workingmen's Families in New York City (New York, 1909), 154-62; Richard Osborn Cummings, The American and His Food: A History of Food Habits in the United States (Chicago, 1940), 247-49.

(4.) 0n flour consumption in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, see Cummings, The American and His Food, 236-37.

(5.) A1fred D. Chandler, Jr., The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business (Cambridge, Mass., 1977).

(6.) Richard S. Tedlow, New and Improved: The Story of Mass Marketing in America (New York, 1990); Susan Strasser, Satisfaction Guaranteed: The Making of the American Mass Market (New York, 1989); Roland Marchand, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940 (Berkeley, Calif., 1985); Jackson Lears, Fables of Abundance: A Cultural History of Advertising in America (New York, 1994); Glenn Porter and Harold C. Livesay, Merchants and Manufacturers: Studies in the Changing Structure of Nineteenth-Century Marketing (Baltimore, 1971).

(7.) In 1877, food advertising accounted for one percent of the revenues of the nation's biggest advertising firm, NW Ayer; in 1901, 15 percent of N.W Ayer's revenues came from the food industry, the largest of any category. Ralph Hower, The History of an Advertising Agency (Cambridge, Mass., 1939), 634-42.

(8.) James Mayo, The American Grocery Store: The Business Evolution of an Architectural Space (Westwood, Conn., 1993), 51-52.

(9.) For most of his life, John Henry Heinz used his middle, rather than his first, name. Like his oldest son, he was known as Henry Heinz. To distinguish the two, I refer to the elder Heinz as John Henry.

(10.) When the British novelist Charles Dickens visited Pittsburgh in 1842, he noted that it "is like Birmingham in England, at least its townspeople say so.... It certainly has a great quantity of smoke hanging over it, and is famous for its iron works." Charles Dickens, American Notes (New York, 1996), 203. See also "Pittsburgh," The Atlantic Monthly 21:123 (Jan. 1868): 17-36 and "Pittsburgh," Harper's Weekly 15:738 (18 Feb. 1871):147.

(11.) Oscar Handlin, "The City Grows," in Pittsburgh: The Story of an American City, ed. Stefan Lorant (Garden City, N.J., 1964), 87, 101. By 1880, the city was home to more than 250,000 people (J. Cutler Andrews, "The Civil War and its Aftermath," in Lorant, Pittsburgh, 161).

(12.) U.S. Commerce Department, Historical Statistics of the United States, vol. 2, 666.

(13.) Quoted in Handlin, "The City Grows," in Lorant, Pittsburgh, 92. On the political history of Pittsburgh, see Michael Fitzgibbon Holt, Forging a Majority: The Formation of the Republican Party in Pittsburgh 1848-1860 (New Haven, Conn., 1969).

(14.) "Pittsburgh," Atlantic Monthly, 20. See also John N. Ingham, "Reaching for Respectability: The Pittsburgh Industrial Elite at the Turn of the Century," in Collecting in the Gilded Age: Art Patronage in Pittsburgh, 1890-1910, ed. Gabriel P. Weisberg, DeCourcy E. McIntosh, and Alison McQueen (Hanover, N.H., 1997), 3-8.

(15.) As an adult, Henry Heinz described his father as "a giant in strength and endurance" and very indulgent toward his children (quoted in Robert C. Alberts, The Good Provider: H.J. Heinz and His 57 Varieties [Boston, 1973], 3). But the entrepreneur always ascribed his professional success wholly to his mother ("Last Will and Testament of Henry Heinz," MSS 57, H.J. Heinz Company Collection [hereafter MSS 57], Library and Archives Division, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Pa. [hereafter HSWP]. See also Hugh Cork, "His Fifty-Eighth Variety," Organized Work and Workers [Feb. 1911], 55-56; E. D. McCafferty, Henry J. Heinz: A Biography [New York, 1923], 19).

(16.) My mother, Henry Heinz wrote in middle age, "could handle me because she knew how to inspire me; because she knew what to say, when and how" (quoted in McCafferty, Henry J. Heinz, 30).

(17.) We don't know exactly when Henry began his formal education. Alberts implies the young man went to school before age twelve (The Good Provider, 4-5), and Eleanor Foa Dienstag notes that by his twelfth birthday, Henry was walking a mile and a half each way to school in a neighboring village (In Good Company: 125 Years at the Heinz Table, 1869-1994 [New York, 1994], 22).

(18.) On nineteenth-century housework, see Ruth Schwartz Cowan, More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave (New York, 1983) and Susan Strasser, Never Done: A History of American Housework (New York, 1982). On the status of specific domestic tasks, see Cowan, More Work for Mother, 31. On late twentieth-century time constraints and domestic responsibilities, see Arlie Russell Hochschild, The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home & Home Becomes Work (New York, 1997) and Juliet Schor, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure (New York, 1991).

(19.) Cowan, More Work for Mother, 31.

(20.) On Heinz's immigrant origins and their relationship to his business, see Gabaccia, We Are What We Eat, 156-58.

(21.) "Manufacturers of Pennsylvania," (1875), 383, Alberts MSS 37, box 3, folder 6, HSWP.

(22.) On food safety and adulteration in the late nineteenth century, see George T. Angell, Autobiographical Sketches and Personal Recollections (Boston, 1884), 59-62; Edgar W. Martin, The Standard of Living in 1860: American Consumption Levels on the Eve of the Civil War (Chicago, 1942), 244-45; C. O. Bates, "Pure Food laws," Iowa Academy of Science Proceedings 8 (1900), 209; Department of Agriculture, Division of Chemistry, Bulletin 13, Foods and Food Adulterants (Washington, D.C., 1887-1903). For secondary sources, see James Harvey Young, Pure Food: Securing the Federal Food and Drugs Act of 1906 (Princeton, N.J., 1989), 3-65; Earl Chapin May, The Canning Clan: A Pageant of Pioneering Americans (New York, 1937), 318-28; and Cummings, The American and His Food, 91-104.

(23.) Young, Pure Food, 31-65, 107-12.

(24.) See, for example, Lewis Caleb Beck, Adulteration of Various Substances Used in Medicine and the Arts (New York, 1846).

(25.) Young, Pure Food. On canned foods, see K. P. McElroy and W. D. Bigelow, "Canned Vegetables," in Division of Chemistry, Bulletin 13, Foods and Food Adulterants, part 8 (Washington, D.C., 1893).

(26.) Alberts, The Good Provider, 6. See also "Henry John Heinz," in Story of Old Allegheny City, compiled by the Writers' Program of the Works Project Administration (Pittsburgh, 1941), 153-54, Alberts MSS 37, series II, box 3, folder 7, HSWP. In 1861, the average annual wage for a skilled laborer--carpenter, blacksmith, etc.--was about $375. (Department of Commerce, Historical Statistics of the United States, vol. 1, 165). Price deflators are from Department of Commerce, Historical Statistics of the United States, vol. 1, 211 and Council of Economic Advisers, Economic Report of the President (Washington, D.C., 1997), 304.

(27.) Harold F. Williamson and Arnold B. Daum, The American Petroleum Industry, Volume 1: The Age of Illumination, 1859-1899 (Evanston, III., 1959).

(28.) Titusville, one writer observed in 1860, "is now the rendezvous of strangers eager for speculation. They barter prices in claims and shares; buy and sell sites and report the depth, show, or yield of wells, etc. Those who leave today tell others of the well they saw yielding 50 barrels of pure oil a day.... The story sends more back tomorrow.... Never was a hive of bees in time of swarming more astir, or making a greater buzz." Quoted in Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power (New York, 1992), 29.

(29.) The region's frantic boom fueled intense land speculation. In early 1865, for example, oil was discovered in Pithole Creek, a village fifteen miles from Titusville. By June of that year, a farm that had been virtually worthless in 1864 sold for $1.3 million. In September, it was resold for $2 million (Yergin, The Prize, 31).

(30.) Ibid., 30.

(31.) Yergin, The Prize, 29. In 1871, Pittsburgh's sixty refineries had a combined total of 36,000 barrels a day. Andrews, "The Civil War and its Aftermath," in Lorant, Pittsburgh, 163.

(32.) Conversation with Frank Kurtik, Archivist, Heinz Family Office, Pittsburgh, Pa. (hereafter Heinz Family Office), 26 Aug. 1996; Heinz Order Books, 1869-1871, Heinz Family Office; Henry Heinz Notebook, 1868-1869, Heinz Family Office.

(33.) Henry Heinz bad worked with Noble in 1868, when they bad organized a partnership to manufacture bricks in a small town north of Pittsburgh.

(34.) The Anchor, Dienstag theorizes, was "probably chosen because it was a Christian symbol" that appealed to Heinz's religious inclinations (in Good Company, 24).

(35.) Henry Heinz Order Book 1870-1871, Heinz Family Office.

(36.) Campbell Gibson, "Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990," Population Division Working Paper No. 27 (Washington, D.C., 1998), tables 8-15.

(37.) See, for instance, Heniy Heinz Notebook of 1875 and 1876, Heinz, Noble & Co., Heinz Family Office.

(38.) The Personal Diaries of Henxy J. Heinz, Mar. 1875. Heinz Family Office.

(39.) "Outline of the H.J. Heinz Company," 1, MSS 57, box 2, folder 7, HSWP. See also "Manufacturers of Pennsylvania," 385.

(40.) "Outline of the H.J. Heinz Company," 2.

(41.) Angell, Autobiographical Sketches, 59.

(42.) "Outline of the H.J. Heinz Company," 2; May, The Canning Clan, 8-11.

(43.) See Chandler, The Visible Hand, 363-68.

(44.) In 1875, for example, Heinz dealt with pickle manufacturers in Cleveland, Philadelphia, and other cities (Henry Heinz NoteBook, 1876-1877). See also "Manufacturers of Pennsylvania," 384.

(45.) "Manufacturers of Pennsylvania," 381.

(46.) See Heinz's notes on pickle preservation in Henry Heinz, "Recipe Book" (labeled "Records"), 27, Heinz Family Office. He credits his brother John with discovering a process for preserving pickles in vinegar without significantly softening or discoloring the cucumbers: "John [Heinz] by a number of experiments demonstrated beyond a doubt that by first heating the vinegar from 125 to 140 [degrees], heating the vinegar by turning straw into it ..., and allowing it to gradually cool off, it would preserve pickles in a perfect condition..." See also 20-21, 40, 50, 65, 90, 95, 102, 122, 130; Henry Heinz Notebook of 1876-1877; Henry Heinz Notebook of 1868-1869, Heinz Family Office.

(47.) Henry Heinz, "Recipe Book," 108.

(48.) Chandler, The Visible Hand, 473. See also Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism (Cambridge, Mass., 1990), 14-18.

(49.) The word "brand" is a very old one, dating back to the Middle Ages, when it connoted a burning piece of wood or torch. By the fifteenth century, its meaning had widened to include distinctive marks on goods and more generally, farm animals, to designate origin or ownership. Marks on products also came to indicate specific quality standards and genuineness. In the early modem period, for example, trade guilds like the Goldsmith's Company of London stamped all their goods. But prior to the late nineteenth century. the concept of a brand had primarily defensive connotations when it was applied off the farm. Identifying marks on various products were used to protect buyers from fraudulent or defective goods. Only a few eighteenth-century manufacturers, such as Josiah Wedgwood, used their names or reputations as part of a focused marketing strategy to help interest consumers in their products. On the history of trademarks, see Neil Borden, The Economic Effects of Advertising (Chicago, 1944), 21-24. On Josia h Wedgwood's branding strategy, see Nancy F. Koehn, "Josiah Wedgwood and the First Industrial Revolution," in Creating Modern Capitalism; How Entrepreneurs, Companies, and Countries Triumphed in Three Industrial Revolutions, ed. Thomas K. McCraw (Cambridge, Mass., 1997), 37-42. See also Cummings, The American and His Food, 104-109.

(50.) Tedlow, New and improved, 14. One of the earliest references to "brand" in its modem business context comes from an 1889 Supreme Court case involving a trademark dispute. The plaintiff accused the defendant of violating its trademark by using the word "Tycoon." The defendant argued that the word "Tycoon" could not have been lawfully adopted and used as a trade-mark, because it had long been a word in common use as a brand name for various kinds of tea imported from Japan. The court found in favor of the defendants (Corbin v. Gould, no. 131 Supreme Court of the United States. Argued 22 Nov. 1889; decided 3 Feb. 1890). By the first decade of the twentieth century. the term "brand" began to gain academic fluency in connection with the "trust problem." See Jeremiah Jenks. The Trust Problem (New York, 1900), 29; Charles Beardsley. "The Tariff and the Trusts," Quarterly Journal of Economics 15:3 (May 1901), 385; and Gilbert Montague, "The Conservation of Business Opportunity," Journal of Political Economy 20 :6 (June 1912), 617.

(51.) "Manufacturers of Pennsylvania," 384.

(52.) Department of Commerce. Historical Statistics of the United States, vol. 1,224. Income figures are for the years 1869 through 1900.

(53.) On the pace of activity in late nineteenth-century Pittsburgh, see "Pittsburgh," Atlantic Monthly. On Chicago, see Julian Ralph, Our Great West: A Study of the Present Conditions and Future Possibilities of the New Comnwnwealths and Capitals of the United States (New York, 1893), 1-29. As Ralph observed in the late nineteenth century, "I have spoken of the roar and bustle and energy of Chicago. This is most noticeable in the business part of town, where the greater number of the men are crowded together. It seems as if the men would run over the horses if the drivers were not careful. Everybody is in such a hurry and going at such a pace that if a stranger asks his way, he is apt to have to trot along with his neighbor to gain the information, for the average Chicagoan cannot stop to talk," 2,

(54.) Garbaccia, We Are What We Eat, 156, 46.

(55.) Mayo, The American Grocery Store, 51-52.

(56.) "Forty Years of Progress," The 57, 10:9 (1909), 9, Heinz Family Office.

(57.) In 1932, Howard Heinz, one of Henry's sons and then president of the company, commented on the sociological consequences of the rise of food processing. One of the greatest benefits of the food industry, be wrote, "has been what it has done for women. It has released them from the drudgery of the kitchen, increased their leisure, and made it possible for them either to engage in business or to enjoy the social life of the community without seriously interfering with their duties and responsibilities as home makers," (Howard Heinz, "The Industry of Food," in A Basis for Stability, ed. Samuel Crowther [Boston, 1932], 195). For a contrasting view of the effects of mass production on household work, see Cowan, More Work for Mother, 69-101.

(58.) John Morton Blum, "The Entrepreneurs," in Lorant, Pittsburgh, 234; Alberts, The Good Provider, 12.

(59.) "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," ed. Robert C. Alberts, 19 Aug. 1875, 10, Alberts MSS 37, box 4, folder 2, HSWP.

(60.) "Outline of the H.J. Heinz Company," 2.

(61.) "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 24 Apr. 1875, 3; 1 May 1875, 4; 5 May 1875, 4-5; 6 May 1875,5.

(62.) "The Personal Diaries of H.J. Heinz," 19 Apr. 1879.

(63.) "Outline of the H.J. Heinz Company," 2; "Manufacturers of Pennsylvania," 384.

(64.) "Manufacturers of Pennsylvania," 384.

(65.) Alberts, The Good Provider, 13.

(66.) "The Personal Diaries of H.J. Heinz," 27 May 1875.

(67.) Ibid., 7 Oct. 1875.

(68.) Ibid., 8 Apr. 1875.

(69.) Ibid., 20 Apr. 1875.

(70.) Ibid., 3 July 1875.

(71.) "Outline of the H.J. Heinz Company," 3.

(72.) Ibid.

(73.) "The Personal Diary of H.J. Heinz for the year 1875," transcribed by Frank J. Kurtik, 8 Oct. 1875, 70, Heinz Family Office.

(74.) Francis C. Couvares, The Remaking of Pittsburgh: Class and Culture in an Industrializing City, 1877-1919 (Albany, N.Y., 1984), 101.

(75.) "The Personal Diary of H.J. Heinz for the year 1875," 2 Oct. 1875, 69; "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 8 Oct. 1875, 12.

(76.) "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 29 Nov. 1875, 15.

(77.) Heinz, Noble & Company was charged with hiding inventory and other goods for the purposes of defrauding creditors. In early 1876, the firm was acquitted of the charges,

(78.) Twelve other firms filed bankruptcy petitions in Allegheny County that week. In the bankruptcy documents, Heinz, Noble & Company's assets were listed as $110,000. Its liabilities totaled $160,000 (or about $1.25 million and $1.90 million respectively in 1997 dollars) (Alberts, The Good Provider, 22). Price deflators are from Department of Commerce, Historical Statistics of the United States, vol. 1,211 and Council of Economic Advisers, Economic Report of the President, 304.

(79.) "Peop1e will censure us," Heinz wrote on 7 Jan. 1876, "no matter how or what we do, and we get no credit for anything good we have done, but censure for everything that they don't like." See also entries for 15 Dec., 17 Dec., 23 Dec., 25 Dec., 26 Dec., 27 Dec., 28 Dec., 30 Dec. 1875; 7 Jan., 12 Jan., 13 Jan., 15 Jan., 28 Jan. 1876, The Personal Diaries of Henry J. Heinz.

(80.) The Personal Diaries of Henry J. Heinz, 30 Dec. 1875.

(81.) "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 13 Jan. 1876,21.

(82.) Ibid.

(83.) According to the agreement, John and Frederick Heinz each had a one-sixth interest in the company; as did Henry and John's mother, Anna Schmitt Heinz. Henry Heinz was prohibited from participating in any partnership. His wife, Sallie Young Heinz, assumed the remaining 50 percent interest in the company.

(84.) McCafferty, Henry J. Heinz, 89.

(85.) "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 8 Apr. 1876, 27.

(88.) Ibid., 13 July 1876, 29.

(87.) Ibid., 14 June 1876, 28.

(88.) Ibid., 30 Aug. 1876, 30.

(89.) Ibid., 30 Sept. 1876, 30.

(90.) On the relationship between industrial growth, managerial imagination, and customer satisfaction, see Theodore Levitt, "Marketing Myopia," Harvard Business Review 38:4 (1960): 45-56.

(91.) Ibid.,, 46. With reference to current business performance, Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad have argued that an organizational ability to imagine new markets and create core competencies to serve these markets is a critical factor of competitive success ("Corporate Imagination and Expeditionary Marketing," Harvard Business Review 69:4 [July-Aug., 1991]: 8192).

(92.) Levitt, "Marketing Myopia," 56.

(93.) "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 2 Nov. 1876, 31; 4 Dec. 1876, 33.

(94.) Ibid., 14 Dec. 1876, 33-34.

(95.) "H.J. Heinz Company Sales: Consolidated and by Company," 1, MSS 57, box 2, folder 14, HSWP. Price deflators are from Department of Commerce, Historical Statistics of the United States, vol. 1, 211. and Council of Economic Advisers, Economic Report of the President, 304.

(96.) "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 16 Dec. 1876, 34.

(97.) In 1880, company sales exceeded $197,000 on which F. & J. Heinz earned income of $31,000. ("H.J. Heinz Company Sales: Consolidated and by Company," 1; "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 28 May 1880, 79).

(98.) "Outline of the H.J. Heinz Company." 4. Andrew Smith, who has written on the history of commercial ketchup, dates Heinz's introduction of the product to the later years of Heinz, Noble & Company. Andrew F. Smith, Pure Ketchup: A History of America's National Condiment (Columbia, S.C., 1996), 42.

(99.) Ibid., 22.

(100.) By the midpoint of the war, the Federal government and the Confederacy combined had over 400,000 men in the field, creating a huge, incessant demand for food that would remain edible over several weeks. May, The Canning Clan, 23-24.

(101.) Smith, Pure Ketchup, 33-58.

(102.) In the late nineteenth century, California also became a center of ketchup production (Ibid., 36).

(103.) Ibid.

(104.) Dienstag, In Good Company, 154.

(105.) "Outline of the H.J. Heinz Company," 4.

(106.) Ibid., 2.

(107.) "H.J. Heinz Company Sales: Consolidated and by Company," 1. Price deflators are from Department of Commerce, Historical Statistics of the United States, vol. 1, 211 and Council of Economic Advisers, Economic Report of the President, 304.

(108.) Alberts, The Good provider, 51.

(109.) "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 11 Oct. 1881, 99.

(110.) "H.J. Heinz Company Sales: Consolidated and by Company," 1. Price deflators are from Department of Commerce, Historical Statistics of the United States, vol. 1, 211 and Council of Economic Advisers, Economic Report of the President, 304.

(111.) "It is part of the Company's policy," a Heinz newsletter noted in 1909, "to regard no article as completely sold until it has been consumed." "Our Branch Houses: The Heinz System of Distribution Direct to the Trade and How it is Handled," The 57, 10:9 (1909): 18, Heinz Family Office.

(112.) "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 25 Aug. 1876, 29. On the significance of fairs and trade shows in late nineteenth-century marketing, see Strasser, Satisfaction Guaranteed, 180-84

(113.) "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 6 Nov. 1876, 32.

(114.) At the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, for example, the company had three exhibits: one serving food, one displaying employee photographs, and one displaying the goods Heinz produced for the American and British armies (Strasser, Satisfaction Guaranteed, 180-81).

(115.) Souvenirs and other similar promotions represented substantial expenditures for the business. In 1892, for example, Heinz contracted for $10,000 in advertising matter (about $192,900 in 1997 dollars). This was more, he noted, "than ever before in my life" (The Personal Diaries of Henry J. Heinz, 10-15 July 1892). Price deflators are from Department of Commerce, Historical Statistics of the United States, vol. 1, 211 and Council of Economic Advisers, Economic Report of the President, 304.

(116.) In 1904, for example, almost 100,000 retailers attended the three-week long Cleveland Retail Grocers Association Food Show. According to the company newsletter, The 57, six employees staffed the company exhibit. Heinz "salesmen of the Cleveland Branch were on hand every night and made many friends among the visiting grocers. At the conclusion of the exhibition, all of the goods used in the Heinz Exhibit were sold intact to H. Klaustermeyer Co., whose store is one of the finest in the city of Cleveland." "Ohio Food Shows and Festivals," The 57 7:8 (1904): 7, H. J. Heinz Company, Pittsburgh, Pa. (hereafter H.J. Heinz Company). On food industry trade shows more generally, see Strasser, Satisfaction Guaranteed, 183-84.

(117.) On the Columbian Exposition, see R. Reid Badger, The Great American Fair: The World's Columbian Exposition & American Culture (Chicago, 1979) and Robert W. Rydell, All the World's a Fair: Visions of Empire at American International Expositions, 1876-1916 (Chicago, 1984). See also William Cronon, Nature 's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York, 1991), 341-42 and Donald L. Miller, City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America (New York, 1996), 488-505. Some of the best primary sources are guidebooks to the Exposition, including: The Best Things to be seen at the World's Fair (Chicago, 1893), The Artistic Guide to Chicago and the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1893), and A Week at the Fair: Illustrating the Exhibits and Wonders of the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1893).

(118.) Miller, City of the Century, 488.

(119.) Historian Susan Strasser estimates that U.S. consumer products companies each spent as much as $30,000 (about $553,000 in 1997 dollars) on their individual displays at the Columbian Exposition (Satisfaction Guaranteed, 181). Given the relative size of the Heinz pavilion, it's reasonable to conclude the Pittsburgh company devoted substantially more than this sum to its marketing efforts at the world's fair. Price deflators are from Department of Commerce, Historical Statistics of the United States, vol. 1, 211 and Council of Economic Advisers, Economic Report of the President, 304.

(120.) A Week at the Fair, 127.

(121.) As the New York Times reported two weeks after the Columbian Exposition closed, "It has just been discovered that the gallery floor of the Agricultural Building has sagged where the pickle display of H.J. Heinz stood, owing to the vast crowd which constantly thronged their goods." 14 Nov. 1893.

(122.) Alberts The Good Provider, 127.

(123.) Henry Heinz prohibited company billboards in and around Pittsburgh.

(124.) Quoted in Blum, "The Entrepreneurs," 235. See also "Birth of Trade Mark Described in Article, Number 57 Turns Up in Many Weird Ways," The 57 News, 9 Mar. 1920, 1, 3, H.J. Heinz Company.

(125.) "Birth of Trade Mark Described in Article," 3.

(126.) Ibid.

(127.) Madison Square, a company newsletter noted, "is a beautiful park covering several acres of ground in the center of the great metropolis, and the sign can be seen for quite a distance up Fifth Avenue and Broadway." "Heinz Electric Sign, New York," Pickles 5:3 (May 1901), 1-2, Heinz Family Office.

(128.) In 1901, the sign was dismantled to make way for the Flatiron Building, which still stands at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street.

(129.) The Personal Diaries of Henry J. Heinz, 5 Aug. 1880.

(130.) Alberts, The Good Provider, 132.

(131.) Ibid., 133. During a hurricane in 1944, the "5" on the "57" sign fell into the sea, and the company's management decided to abandon the pier as a business endeavor.

(132.) "Visitors at the 'Home of the 57' in 1903," The 577:9 (Feb. 1904): 1, H.J. Heinz Company.

(133.) The company's manufacturing facilities, Henry Heinz noted, "are open every working day in the year for the inspection of the public. This has gained for us additional confidence, because it offers people an opportunity of finding out for themselves the true quality of our products, and the cleanliness that is observed in their manufacture." "A Gigantic Pickle Concern," Pickles 4:5 (1900): 3, H. J. Heinz Company. See also Edward Earle Purinton, "The Plant that Made the Pickle Famous," The Independent 101:3705 (17 Jan. 1920): 93-95, 116-17.

(134.) The Personal Diaries of Henry J. Heinz, 10-15 July 1892.

(135.) Alberts, The Good Provider, 123.

(136.) Thomas O. Jones and W Earl Sasser, "Why Satisfied Customers Defect," Harvard Business Review 73:6 (Nov/Dec. 1995): 88-99.

(137.) The Personal Diaries of Henry J. Heinz, 5 Jan. 1893.

(138.) Alberts, The Good Provider, 139.

(139.) See, for example, The Personal Diaries of Henry J. Heinz, 2 Mar. 1878, 7 Mar. 1878. The word "salesmanship," as historian Timothy Spears has written, did not enter common usage until late in the nineteenth century. An earlier term, "fastening," was used to describe the face-to-face interaction between "drummers," wholesale agents hired to drum up custom, and provincial merchants who traveled to urban centers on purchasing trips. An 1832 commercial publication described the sales process: "Drumming in a mercantile sense consists in fastening upon every man, whether stranger or otherwise, who labors under suspicion of having come to the city to purchase goods for the country market; and the object thereof is ... to obtain as great a share as possible of the wholesale business." Asa Greene, "Mercantile Drumming," Constellation (5 May 1832), quoted in Timothy B. Spears, 100 Years on the Road: The Traveling Salesman in American Culture (New Haven, Conn., 1995), 29-30. See also Walter A. Friedman, "The Pedd ler's Progress: Salesmanship, Science, and Magic, 1880 to 1940," (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1996), and Strasser, Satisfaction Guaranteed, 58-88.

(140.) The Personal Diaries of Henry J. Heinz, 17 Nov. 1881.

(141.) The Licensed Victualler and Catering Trades' Journal, 21 June 1899, 645. Establishing and maintaining such a distribution network was significantly more expensive than working with existing wholesalers. In the late nineteenth-century, Heinz's selling costs exceeded 33 percent of gross revenues. John Connor, Richard Rogers, Bruce Marion, and Willard Mueller, The Food Manufacturing Industries: Structure, Strategies, Performance, and Policies (Lexington, Mass., 1985), 47.

(142.) Pickles 4:2 (1900): 2, H. J. Heinz Company.

(143.) The 57 8:6 (1904), 9, H.J. Heinz Company. See also "Two Essential Points for a Successful Salesman," Pickles 2:7(1898), H.J. Heinz Company.

(144.) "Getting Close to the Buyer," Pickles 5:12 (1902), 1, H. J. Heinz Company.

(145.) Strasser, Satisfaction Guaranteed, 194-200; Chandler, The Visible Hand, 290-99; and Thomas Horst, At Home Abroad: A Study of the Domestic and Foreign Operations of the American Food Processing Industry (Cambridge, Mass., 1974), 17.

(146.) There are grocers in every territory," noted an early twentieth-century company Heinz sales manual, "who are progressive up-to-date merchandisers and who are able to sell a large volume of Heinz products. These key stores are deserving of your special attention, and at every opportunity you should plan an outstanding Heinz sale which will not only increase the volume during the period of the sale but will help to make the dealer and the clerks more interested in the Heinz line and his customers better acquainted with the 57 Varieties." 57 Sales Manual (Pittsburgh, Pa., n.d.), 84, MSS 57, HSWP.

(147.) "The Salesman as Advertiser," Pickles 2:4 (May 1898): 4-5, H. J. Heinz Company.

(148.) Company publications, such as "Superior Store Displays," outlined specific merchandising techniques and were intended to help strengthen relationships between Heinz sales representatives and grocers. As the early twentieth-century booklet explained, "The devices listed herein are the inventions of a corps of experts employed by the Company who devise ways and means of a practical nature for display purposes. They are intended to stimulate interest in interior store displays, which are recognized as the last link in the chain of advertising--the final reminder--necessary to influence the sale." "Superior Store Displays," 1, MSS 57, box 4, folder 10, HSWP. On sales management at the turn of the century, see Walter A. Friedman, "The Science of Selling: Managers, Salesmen, Scientists, and Prospects, 1880 to 1920" (unpublished paper presented to the Business History Seminar, Harvard Business School, 1997), "The Peddler's Progress," and "John H. Patterson and the Sales Strategy of the National Cash Register Company, 1884 to 1922," Business History Review 72:4 (Winter 1998): 552-584.

(149.) 57 Sales Manual, 81.

(150.) Strasser, Satisfaction Guaranteed, 196.

(151.) "From Day to Day: How the Convention Opened and How it Progressed," Pickles 5:10 (1902): 7, H.J. Heinz Company.

(152.) "Our Annual Conventions," Pickles 2 (1898): 1, H.J. Heinz Company.

(153.) "From Day to Day," 6.

(154.) See, for example, Henry Heinz's struggle with the Noble brothers in early 1876 to control the failed company's trademark ("The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 20 Mar. 1876, 1 May 1878,26,44).

(155.) On the relationship between brand equity and product extension, see David A. Aaker, "Should You Take Your Brand to Where the Action Is?" Harvard Business Review 75:5 (Sept./Oct. 1997): 135-143; David A. Aaker, Building Strong Brands (New York, 1996), 269-302; Peter Farquhar, "Managing Brand Equity," Journal of Advertising Research, 30:4 (Aug./Sept. 1990): 7-12; Peter Farquhar, Julia Han, and Yuji Ijiri, "Strategies for Leveraging Master Brands," Marketing Research 4:3 (Sept. 1992): 33-43; Stephen King, "Brand Building in the 1990s," Journal of Consumer Marketing 8:4 (Fall 1991): 43-52; John M. Murphy, Brand Strategy (New York, 1990), 110-14; Alan Webber, "What Great Brands Do," Fast Company 10 (Aug./Sept. 1997): 96-103.

(156.) "Outline of the H.J. Heinz Company," 4.

(157.) Ibid., 4-6.

(158.) Fruit jellies were an exception. Competition from the Campbell Soup Company, combined with housewives' preference for making their own preserves, depressed sales in the late nineteenth century (Stephen Potter, The Magic Number: The Story of '57' [London, 1959], 49-50).

(159.) May, The Canning Clan, 2. See also Laurence A. Johnson, Over the Counter and on the Shelf: Country Storekeeping in America, 1620-1920. (Rutland, Vt., 1961), 84-92 and Edward F. Keuchel, "Master of the Art of Canning: Baltimore, 1860-1900," Maryland Historical Magazine 67:4 (1972): 352-55.

(160.) May, The Canning Clan, 7-12.

(161.) Potter, The Magic Number, 49.

(162.) Keuchel, "Master of the Art of Canning," 359.

(163.) Alberts, The Good Provider, 49.

(164.) "The Private Diary of H.J. Heinz," 7 Mar. 1877, 35.

(165.) Chandler, The Visible Hand, 295.

(166.) The hole-in-cap can was used mainly for liquids. They were inserted through a small hole in the top of the can, which was soldered shut after filling.

(167.) The Licensed Victualler & Catering Trades' Journal, 645. Heinz also worked with company farmers on the development of improved seed hybrids, "Pittsburgh--A Great City," American Monthly Review of Reviews 31:1 (Jan. 1905): 65.

(168.) "Pittsburgh---Great City," 65. Many of these employees were seasonal, hired to work during the peak periods of planting and harvesting.

(169.) Chandler The Visible Hand, 312, 349.

(170.) Potter, The Magic Number, 52.

(171.) Alberts, The Good Provider, 74.

(172.) Ibid., 79.

(173.) As a result of this 1886 meeting, Heinz became a household word in the United Kingdom. Heinz baked beans on toast remains a staple in the English diet today, and many modern British consumers assume Heinz is a British brand.

(174.) "Our European Progress," The 57 7:6 (1903):2, H.J. Heinz Company.

(175.) H.J. (Heinz) Company: Producers, Manufacturers, and Distributors of Pure Food Products (Pittsburgh, Pa., 1910), 22, Heinz Family Office.

(176.) "H.J. Heinz Company Sales," MSS 57, box 3, folder 1, 1915F, HSWP,

(177.) McCafferty, Henry J. Heinz, 171.

(178.) McCafferty, Henry J. Heinz, 106. The company changed its name from F. & J. Heinz to H.J. Heinz in 1888.

(179.) See, for example, George Burton Hotchkiss and Richard B. Franken, The Leadership of Advertised Brands: A Study of 100 Representative Commodities Showing the Name and Brands that are Most Familiar to the Public (Garden City, N.J., 1923), 113.
                      Growth of the Heinz Sales Force
         Heinz Sales
Year   Representatives
1877           2
1881           5
1888          50
1893         125
1899         273
1901/2       357
1904         450
1919         952
Sales force numbers are from "The Personal Diaries of Henry J. Heinz,"
Heinz Family Office; Pickles 3:1 (1899), 2; Pickles 4:2 (1900), 2;
Pickles 6:9 (1903), 2; Pickles 8:1 (1904), 4, H. J. Heinz Company;
McCafferty, Henry J. Heinz, 106.
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Author:Koehn, Nancy F.
Publication:Business History Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 1999
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