Category: Food, snacks and beverages

Heinz 57 — fortune for a pittance

Although it’s an east coast company, some of the H. J. Heinz descendants were in southern California.

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Image of text: from 1974 Los Angeles Times article at http://articles.latimes.com/2004/oct/27/nation/na-teresa27/3 .

The family’s story is complicated. Click on the link to learn more about them.

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Image: selections from 1939 Heinz brochure commemorating 70 years of company history.

 

 

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X-raying of fruit

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Images: from brochure distributed at 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition.

“…in the past it has been impossible to detect certain kinds of imperfection by external appearance alone. Frost damage and granulations in oranges…leave no indications on the surface…”

“This X-ray inspection unit permits the operator to look right through the fruit instead of at its surface only.”

Excerpts from the brochure.

Original grape vine

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1939 image at the San Gabriel mission: Frasher Foto via http://ravenjake.typepad.com/blog/2009/07/the-old-mother-grapevine-of-san-gabriel.html .

“The “Old Mother Grapevine” was planted in 1861… and is one of the most beloved plants in California. She’s kind of a celebrity and has been since the turn of the century. At one point she covered 10,000 square feet…”

Ravenjake (at link above) quotes Ken Payton, from Reign of Terroir, “…the historically important Mission grape is still being used in California for blends and even for 100% variety bottlings. About 1000 acres of Mission remain under cultivation here, roughly the same acreage as Petit Verdot! Though a far less distinguished grape than PV, nevermind Cabernet or Zinfandel, the other ‘founding’ California vine, the Mission grape possesses an unrivaled caché in the state.”

More from Ravenjake: “Here’s another wrinkle in the whole ‘how old is she?’ debate, and that is that Mission grapes were planted maybe as early as 1771 – that sign sayin’ 1775 is about right. Mother Grapevine is maybe 500 feet from the mission, and could have been from the original vineyard. ‘Could’ve been,’ not ‘was.’ Now apparently, the 1861 date was based on an affidavit that the vine was planted by someone named David Franklin Hall of the Michael White Ranch (aka the Mission yard) in that year. Well folks, I’m not entirely convinced! I’m gonna keep an open mind until some more information comes in. All this tells me is that the minimum planting date is 1861, and she might be older – almost 100 years older! If the real date is 1775, then the old girl is 234 years old.

“The San Gabriel Chamber of Commerce newsletter says that when she was at her productive peak (as opposed to the petite decorative mode she’s in now) she produced one ton of grapes per year – enough to make 400-600 barrels of wine. They also say that despite her advanced age, she’s low maintainence – just periodic prunings to keep her on the arbor.”

Read more about it at the link above.

Today’s date could be written 3/9 so it could be considered ’39 Day.

 

7-Up in Bakersfield

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Image: Circa 1940 photo of 7-Up Bottling Company 18th and Sonora Street, Bakersfield. Photo source unknown.

“Like an artist, who first sees the picture in his mind’s eye and transfers it to the canvas, D W Washburn envisioned this bottling plant in Bakersfield as one most completely equipped, for the purpose of bottling only one beverage. Months of thought and preparatory work went into the planning. The plant was formally opened to the public June 14, 1939.

“The 7-UP extract Is manufactured by the Seven-Up Company of St Louis, Mo. Lemons and limes of the finest quality are used in its preparation. In all instances government supervision safeguards its purity and aromatic content.

“Pure cane sugar is used exclusively and, the Braun Corporation, a California industry, furnishes the citric acid required.”

Excerpts of December 23, 1939 Bakersfield Californian newspaper story from https://clickamericana.com/topics/food-drink/the-story-of-7-up-1939 .

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Image: 1939 newspaper ad from excerpt link above.

Online references show The Braun Corporation of 363-371 New High Street, Los Angeles, in the ‘teens and ‘twenties as a supplier of mining assay chemicals and equipment. It may have branched out to other chemicals such as citric acid by 1939 but it cannot be confirmed at this time.

 

First popular instant coffee

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Image: 1939 UK ad in unspecified magazine from https://www.gracesguide.co.uk .

Nescafé was rolled out in UK and USA. It was first available in Europe a few years earlier. We couldn’t find a 1939 era U.S. ad.

Various kinds of instant coffee were developed as long ago as 1771. The process developed to make Nescafé in the late ’30s became widely popular because of taste improvement. Learn more at http://www.historyofcoffee.net/coffee-history/instant-coffee-history/ .

See more about Nescafé here: http://www.nestle.com/investors/brand-focus/nescafe-focus .

Pepsi-Cola

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Image: detail of a Pepsi-Cola brochure from http://www.vintagevending.com/pepsi-cola-brochure-at-retroplanet .

In 1939 Pepsi-Cola began using the “Twice as Much for a Nickel” slogan.*

“Walter S. Mack… used a court fight and an incessant radio jingle to transform the little-known Pepsi-Cola Co. into one of the nation’s two largest-selling soft-drink makers…

“Mack became Pepsi’s president in 1938, when the company was spun off from a New York candy maker, Loft’s Inc. At that time, Pepsi was selling a syrup developed by a North Carolina druggist at the turn of the century. But Pepsi made little headway against Coca-Cola until Mack took away Coke’s control of the name “cola” in a historic court battle.”

Excerpts from the 1990 obituary of Mack in the Los Angeles Times newspaper: http://articles.latimes.com/1990-03-19/news/mn-579_1_pepsi-syrup .

 

An article about a Pepsi-Cola bottler promising to open in Santa Ana appeared in the Santa Ana Register newspaper on September 16, 1939.

* from https://www.slideshare.net/christinaamalan/pepsi-advertising-strategy . Click on the link to learn more about the company’s advertising strategy.