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Ketchup King: The H.J. Heinz Story

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
July 24, 2023 3:00 am

Ketchup King: The H.J. Heinz Story

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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July 24, 2023 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, his legacy is probably in your fridge right now. Though Heinz Ketchup is one of the most recognized corporate symbols in the world, few people know anything at all about its creator, H.J. Heinz. His hard work, innovation, and obsessive kindness proved one of his favorite sayings: “To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.” 

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Lee Habeeb
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Lee Habeeb

It's summer at Starbucks, where the brightest drinks and the funnest flavors are all yours for the sipping.

So whether you need to beat the heat, beat the crowds, or just take a beat, refreshing favorites are a tap away with the Starbucks app. For each person living with myasthenia gravis, or MG, their journey with this rare condition is unique. That's why Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis, a new podcast from iHeartRadio, in partnership with Argenics, is exploring the extraordinary challenges and personal triumphs of underserved communities living with MG. Host Martine Hackett will share these powerful perspectives from real people with MG, so their experiences can help inspire the MG community and educate others about this rare condition. Listen to find strength in community on the MG journey on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Stay free this week into your Xfinity voice remote. This is Lee Habib, and this is Our American Stories, and we tell stories about everything here on this show, from the arts to sports, and from business to history, and everything in between. Including your stories, send them to OurAmericanStories.com.

They're some of our favorites. And we love to tell stories about business, and we love to tell stories about entrepreneurs and how they change the world, change the nation, and in the end, drive our economy. Heinz food products have been a part of American culture for more than a century. Though Heinz ketchup is one of the most recognized corporate symbols in the world, few people know any thing at all about its creator, H. J. Heinz.

His hard work, innovation, and obsessive kindness proved one of his favorite sayings, quote, to do a common thing uncommonly well, bring success. Here's Greg Hengler with the story of H. J. Heinz. Their ketchup's coming out a lot smoother than ours does.

That's not good manners. Well, you notice our Heinz. Here, taste it. Anticipation.

Anticipation is making me wait. This ketchup I ever tasted. That's pouring it on a little thick.

Yeah. Thick, rich Heinz ketchup. The taste that's worth the wait. The Heinz family saga begins with the determination of immigrants to make a better life for themselves. Beginning in the 1680s, many German immigrants took the long voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to Pennsylvania. In 1843, John and Anna Heinz, both recent arrivals from Germany, settle outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. John becomes a brickmaker. The next year, they have their first child, a boy they name Henry John or H. J. The Heinz family will grow to include nine children, four boys and five girls.

One of their daughters, however, dies when she is only a baby. Like many German immigrants, Mr. and Mrs. Heinz believe the importance of hard work. Every day, H. J. will pick up vegetables in the family garden before walking over a mile each way to his Lutheran school and back, a school run by his church.

Upon his arrival back, he will continue working in the plot until sunset. Henry's love of gardening is evident in the very first photo where his knuckles are visibly swollen from the hard work. Here's the president of the Heinz History Center, Andy Masich, and Heinz biographer, Quinton Skrabec. Like many of the other German immigrant boys here in Pittsburgh, he spoke with a German accent, though he went to American schools, and he felt very much American.

It was typical for German families to work as an economic union. The children would do work like that, but most of them didn't take it up as a career long term. He was very creative and saw, gee, I can make money here. I can make a living here.

I can make a business out of this. Henry Heinz was just 15 years old when he started his business in downtown Pittsburgh. He started by canning horseradish that his mother grew in her garden and sold it on the streets of Pittsburgh, pushing a hand cart, a wheelbarrow around. And people loved the product, and he thought, well, let's try some other things.

Two years later, his little business has grown so much that he now needs a horse to pull his cart. Hello. Hello, mom. He was very influenced by his mother. She knew how to play on his feelings and to encourage him when he was down. And he learned some of those people skills from his mother. Anna Heinz is a disciplined and devout Christian mother, training and instructing her children with Bible lessons, stressing the importance of serving others and counting them as more significant than themselves. His mother was very religious. She converted to Lutheranism, and she sent young Henry to the Lutheran Seminary nearby, thinking that maybe one day he would be a minister. She thinks this until she sees his love of the family garden. Here's former advertising executive at Heinz, Edwin Luhu. She made the children work from sunrise to sunset in this garden. And H.J.

was the only one who favored it. In fact, he stayed out there long after the hours were over. H.J. 's talent and passion are plain to see. So when he turns 12, his mother proudly presents her firstborn with three acres of land for his birthday. The young entrepreneur quickly develops and markets a growing line of produce and homemade condiments. And shortly after, his little farm triples in size. At 15, H.J. quits school in order to focus entirely on his business, waking at 3 a.m. so he can take his vegetables to stores in Pittsburgh, only to return home and work for his father making bricks.

Here's Harvard Business School professor Nancy Cohen. And is a very successful junior entrepreneur selling cabbage and cucumbers and zucchini and tomatoes off his wagon to neighbors and has a growing list of customers. And from the very beginning, from his earliest days of peddling horseradish door to door or from a wagon with his own horse, he wanted to make sure his customers got only pure food.

H.J. is obsessed with purity. As a Christian, he associates purity with goodness. Fresh food is healthy food. This is in an age when Americans are suspicious of factory-made food, and with good reason.

It is often packaged in filthy conditions and contains a stomach-turning array of cheap fillers like leaves or wood pulp and chemical preservatives. While his competitors use golden brown bottles to hide add-ins and imperfections, H.J. makes a point of selling his mother's horseradish recipe in clear glass jars. H.J.

wants his customers to believe that the food he delivers is worth every penny they spend on it. Thanks to his mother's recipes and beliefs, people grow to trust the Heinz name. And what a story this is. And we will continue with the story of H.J. Heinz. And my goodness, it sounds like so many of the other entrepreneurial stories we did. No matter what the ethnicity, the story, well, it sounds the same. Service to customers. More on the H.J.

Heinz story here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the stories we tell about this great country, and especially the stories of America's rich past, know that all of our stories about American history, from war to innovation, culture, and faith, are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College, a place where students study all the things that are beautiful in life and all the things that are good in life. And if you can't get to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses.

Go to hillsdale.edu to learn more. For each person living with myasthenia gravis, or MG, their journey with this rare neuromuscular condition is unique. That's why Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis, a new podcast from iHeartRadio in partnership with Argenics, is exploring the extraordinary challenges and personal triumphs of underserved communities living with MG. Host Martine Hackett will share powerful perspectives from people living with the debilitating muscle weakness and fatigue caused by this rare disorder. Each episode will uncover the reality of life with myasthenia gravis, from early signs and symptoms to obtaining an accurate diagnosis and finding care. Every person with MG has a story to tell. And by featuring these real life experiences, this podcast hopes to inspire the MG community, educate others about this rare condition, and let those living with it know that they are not alone.

Listen to Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Do you have at least $50,000 saved for retirement? Good news. You could be eligible for a free Ronald Reagan half ounce silver coin.

That's right. All qualified iHeart listeners who call GoldCo, the number one rated precious metals company this week, will get a free Ronald Reagan half ounce silver coin. All you have to do is visit GoldCo.com slash iHeart and get yours free while supplies last. GoldCo has helped thousands of people just like you place over $1 billion in gold and silver to help protect and diversify their savings. We're also offering up to $10,000 in free silver when you open a qualified gold IRA account. With everything going on in the economy, inflation, war, and the threat of recession, you can't afford to do nothing. Call GoldCo today to see if diversifying your money with gold and silver is right for you. And get your free Ronald Reagan half ounce silver coin. Visit GoldCo.com slash iHeart.

That's GoldCo.com slash iHeart. Four tickets for just $80 all in can only mean one thing. The sun is out, outdoor venues are open, and summer is live. Get four tickets for $80 all in and choose from over 2,500 of this summer's highest shows, like 50 Cent, Avenged Sevenfold, Counting Crows, Pentatonix, Pepe Aguilar, and more. The best summer ever starts with tickets to all your favorite artists. Don't miss out. Four tickets for just $80 all in on sale July 19th through August 1st.

Head to LiveNation.com slash summers live. And we continue with our American stories and the story of H. J. Heinz. And he started as a boy, canning his mom's horseradish.

And again, dropping out of school and just getting to work. We continue now with the story of H. J. Heinz. Thanks to his mother's recipes and beliefs, people grow to trust the Heinz name.

Here again is the president of the Heinz History Center, Andy Masich. Henry was always a meticulous man. He was a hard worker and he kept detailed notes. He kept journals and record books. And so he was not only mathematical, but he had a human side to him. He was kind of left and right brain both. So he could figure out the formulas for things and keep good records.

But he was also a people person. In 1861, 17-year-old Henry sells $2,400 worth of produce, about $68,000 in today's money. And by 1866, Henry becomes a partner in his father's brick company and quickly makes changes. At the time, most brickyards shut down for the winter. Henry decides to heat the small factory so it can stay open through the cold months.

That way, the company will have a supply of bricks ready when the demand for bricks rises in the spring. In 1869, at 25 years of age, H.J. meets Sarah Young and his church, a daughter of Irish immigrants who will bring his new household what his mother has to the old, religious devotion and a stable emotional foundation. On a train to New York, they meet another couple planning to marry. H.J.

spotting an opportunity to save money suggests that both couples share a minister and marry the same day. 1869 was also the year H.J. and his neighborhood friend, Clarence Noble, start a company designed to sell horseradish, pickles and sauerkraut across the eastern seaboard. As H.J. 's company grows, so does his family, a daughter named Irene in 1871 and two years later, a boy named Clarence. H.J.

and Sarah will have five children. One of the things he learned early on was that people weren't sure about canned products or things in jars. Sometimes people got sick eating the products of other people. So Henry found that he didn't put his labels on the jar at first. He put somebody else's label on the jar. And if nobody got sick and if people liked it, then he put his label on the next batch. The Heinz and Noble company is profitable until 1875, when mistakes by Noble and the panic of 1873 suddenly threaten its existence. H.J. turns to his father and a friendly banker who loan him money. Even his wife pitches in.

But by the year's end, the company is bankrupt. Here's Heinz biographer Elinor Dienstag and Nancy Cullen. The diaries read like a Dickensian novel.

They're heart-rending. He has boils. His wife takes to bed. He's too depressed to go to church, which was unthinkable for him. His brother started to take to drink. The whole family was collapsing. Several creditors accuse him of basically falsifying his records and demand that he be arrested.

He is arrested, held in jail for a day, and comes back the next day to face what is an ever-mounting load of debts and unpaid bills. It's Christmas. The Heinz can't even afford to buy a single present for their children. Here again is Heinz biographer Quentin Skrabec. He probably went through one phase of real depression.

I mean, there was several months where he was pretty much immobilized in bed. H.J. believes his friends are shunning him. He writes mournfully, I have no money, so I have no friends. His parents mortgage their house to raise funds, only to see it repossessed. Creditors come and sell off his mother's furniture.

Awash in shame, H.J. can only watch helplessly as the crisis consumes his aging father. Here's Heinz family archivist Frank Kertik. Henry J. Heinz's father had raised a family, established a home in America, was an immigrant, and he sees so much of his life wiped out before his eyes.

The elder Heinz will never recover, spending his final years in and out of sanitariums. A broken man. Through this and other dark moments in his life, H.J. is anchored by his twin beliefs. Life and God, and God's unshakable plan for his life.

Just two months after the bankruptcy, on New Year's Day 1876, H.J. picks himself up and asks the only people to have stayed by his side, his family, to help him start a new business. Together, they form the Heinz Food Company. The whole family pitches in, and his mother and sisters begin bottling horseradish in the basement of their home.

Starting a brand new company on a slim budget, H.J. has to travel by foot to the vegetable fields. To have a horse again, he buys himself a bargain, a blind horse. He owed a lot of people in Pittsburgh money, a lot of grocers and so forth. He made a pledge that he would pay them back, even though legally he didn't have to. And that was one of the key things in his life as well. He spent four or five years repaying back grocers, farmers and suppliers.

Through his leadership, H.J. guides the Heinz Food Company to immediate success, taking special pleasure in culinary innovations. He's experimenting like a woman in the kitchen, making it up as he goes along, and his notebooks are chock-a-block full of fascinating recipes. Everything from peanut butter, which he does not pursue, to baked beans, which he does very successfully, to chutneys. In 1876, he creates the condiment that future generations will associate with his name.

Here again is Edwin Lou Who. When he was in England, he noticed that they had a product called cats yup, which was made of fish and different ingredients and different spices. It was a very spicy condiment. And he liked it, and he thought, I wonder if we substituted tomatoes for the fish, what that would taste like. This is how we get the word ketchup. It comes from the Chinese word, cats yup, which is a kind of fish sauce. Here again is Andy Masek.

Yes, it is good. Ketchup was probably invented in China a thousand years ago, but H.J. Heinz brought it to a new level. There are several types of ketchup in the 19th century, but none of them sell particularly well. Apart from Heinz, no one sees potential in the red vegetable sauce. Pittsburgh is home of the steel industry, but it's also center for glassmaking. Unlike his competitors, Heinz believes that his customers should be able to see the bright red ketchup.

This, however, has a drawback. You know, when you look in a ketchup bottle, sometimes it gets kind of dark and rubbery, kind of oxidized near the top. Well, he knew that people would be put off by seeing that. So he put a paper label near the neck of the bottle.

So the product looked red and beautiful. Heinz builds a new factory which still stands today as an industrial monument in Pittsburgh. The factory is one of the first in the country run on electricity, and Heinz will be the first to put up an electric billboard in New York City.

The Pittsburgh headquarters site offers easy access to the Allegheny River and railroad lines. The whole neighborhood smells of vinegar, then as now the main preservative. As indispensable as H.J. is to the company, he's just as valuable to his church. He is especially dedicated to teaching the children about the Bible and their Christian faith at Sunday School. In fact, H.J. will travel all over the world in order to promote the idea of Sunday School.

H.J. is also known for his generosity. He will build a boarding home for homeless children, the poor will count on him for a meal, and he will often loan money to his customers so they can stay in business. Heinz places his factory in the midst of Andrew Carnegie's steel factory and rival steel makers. But Heinz's revenues will one day surpass those of his larger neighbors. H.J. Heinz was an intuitive marketer. He had a sense of how to sell things.

And although he didn't invent ketchup, he marketed it better than anyone in the world. And when we come back, more of this great American story, this great Pittsburgh story here on Our American Stories. For each person living with myasthenia gravis, or MG, their journey with this rare neuromuscular condition is unique. That's why Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis, a new podcast from iHeartRadio in partnership with Argenix, is exploring the extraordinary challenges and personal triumphs of underserved communities living with MG. Host Martine Hackett will share powerful perspectives from people living with the debilitating muscle weakness and fatigue caused by this rare disorder. Each episode will uncover the reality of life with myasthenia gravis. From early signs and symptoms to obtaining an accurate diagnosis and finding care, every person with MG has a story to tell. And by featuring these real-life experiences, this podcast hopes to inspire the MG community, educate others about this rare condition, and let those living with it know that they are not alone.

Listen to Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Do you have at least $50,000 saved for retirement? Good news, you could be eligible for a free Ronald Reagan half-ounce silver coin. That's right, all qualified iHeart listeners who call GoldCo, the number one rated precious metals company this week, will get a free Ronald Reagan half-ounce silver coin.

All you have to do is visit GoldCo.com slash iHeart and get yours free while supplies last. GoldCo has helped thousands of people just like you place over $1 billion in gold and silver to help protect and diversify their savings. We're also offering up to $10,000 in free silver when you open a qualified gold IRA account. With everything going on in the economy, inflation, war, and the threat of recession, you can't afford to do nothing. Call GoldCo today to see if diversifying your money with gold and silver is right for you. And get your free Ronald Reagan half-ounce silver coin. Visit GoldCo.com slash iHeart.

That's GoldCo.com slash iHeart. Four tickets for just $80 all in can only mean one thing. The sun is out, outdoor venues are open, and summer is live. Get four tickets for $80 all in and choose from over 2,500 of this summer's highest shows like 50 Cent, Avenged Sevenfold, Counting Crows, Pentatonix, Pepe Aguilar, and more. The best summer ever starts with tickets to all your favorite artists. Don't miss out. Four tickets for just $80 all in on sale July 19th through August 1st.

Head to LiveNation.com slash summerslive. And we continue here with our American stories and the life of H.J. Hines.

Let's pick up where we last left off. Catch up quickly becomes the linchpin of H.J. 's growing business. By the mid-1880s, with the expansion of the railroad, the Hines company is selling dozens of products in all corners of the United States. On every railroad car his company uses, the Hines name is proudly displayed on its side. In Pittsburgh, people see teams of horses pulling wagons carrying Hines products, and the company name is always printed on each wagon. Grocery stores boast in their ads that they carry the popular Hines brand.

H.J. Hines believed that if people tasted his product, they would certainly buy it. And he had an elaborate system for his sales staff to take out to stores and grocery stores little packages of samples. He had cardboard spoons that people could taste and then throw away.

He had chafing dishes and different pots that people could sample things in the store. And when they tried it, they liked it and they bought it. But with success comes competition. Hines' competitors copy his ideas and methods. Hines has to fight to survive, and not always by the fairest means. When he wanted to run other people out of business, he bought up all the glass bottles in town and used all that he could and those that he couldn't use, he put on a barge and sank the barge in the Allegheny River so nobody else could use them. Hines' dealings with the staff at the factory are colored by a completely different climate.

Here again is Nancy Cohen. Henry Hines looks at the railroad strikes of 1872 when over a thousand railroad cars were destroyed in a mob rioting and the National Guard was called in and 29 people were killed and decides this is not going to be my future. This reinforces his determination to create a different kind of organization where his labor is content, where his labor is motivated, where his labor is industrious. In an age when horses are often treated better than the workers, Henry Hines embraces his employees as family. In the Hines factory, there's a restaurant and rooftop gardens, free carriage rides, an indoor swimming pool and gymnasium, free doctors and dentists. At a time when many people did not have indoor plumbing, employees can shower and bathe in the factory. HJ promotes women managers to supervise his predominantly female workforce and he creates some of the best incentive pay for women in the nation. HJ takes poor immigrant wives and daughters, teaches them English and homemaking skills and prepares them for their citizenship tests. These women receive freshly laundered aprons and bonnets daily and there's even a daily manicure for food handlers. HJ believes that the hands that work with the food should be as germ-free as possible.

At the end of the day, this all adds to the product's quality and shelf life. HJ knows that happy, well-cared-for employees will stay on the job, work hard and not be interested in causing trouble. And he delights in saying, heart power is stronger than horsepower. Here again is Edwin Lou Who. People that came to work and they were down and trodden, he went over to them, put his hand around them and said, well, better days are ahead. This is what we should do. This is how you can cope with your problem.

Let me help you out. And he did this with the employees of the company and they idolized him. He became a father to practically every employee in the company. HJ will travel throughout the country meeting with customers and giving pep talks to his sales force. His enthusiasm and confidence is contagious. The passion he has for selling vegetables as a young boy never leaves him. HJ's policies create a productive workforce and anchor his company's unique public image. Here's Henry Ford Museum curator Judith Endelman. He was really one of the founders of what today we call public relations through his use of branding and a clear identity for his company, corporate giveaways and keeping his company in the public eye in so many different ways. Henry is the first to initiate the factory tour, inviting the general public to view the immaculate conditions under which Heinz products are packaged.

By 1900, 20,000 guests a year are passing through his factory gates. In 1886, 40-year-old Henry Heinz takes his family on a vacation to Europe to visit his parents' homeland of Germany. The first stop is England, where he immediately visits the graves of his Christian heroes, John Bunyan, Isaac Watts and John Wesley. Heinz writes, I felt I was upon holy ground. For his trip, HJ has brought samples of some of his best products like his ketchup and horseradish. With a suitcase of Heinz products, he journeys to London and calls on Fortnum and Mason, purveyor of fine food to the royal family.

Here again is Edwin Lou Who and Elinor Dienstag. He stroked his whiskers, put on his top hat and he bursted right into the front door. He was an awesome salesman. He went in and showed his products and talked about them and had him sample the products. They said, I believe we will take them all. Everybody was shocked, including HJ Heinz.

At this time, nobody in Europe buys food from America. It's HJ's first step towards running a global company. Heinz has always been part of the progressive wing of the Republican Party, which supports the expansion of American business into Asia. The American administration saw China and Japan as the key to the Orient. Heinz saw things differently. They were the keys to the Orient in both business and the acceptance of Sunday school. Because of Heinz's missionary passion, planning and financial backing, Sunday schools prosper all over Asia. Heinz has taken the small business he started with his family 11 years earlier and turned it into a food producing giant.

Here again is Andy Masich. Heinz believed in pure foods. He built his brand on the fact that his product was better than anyone else's. He always said, the secret to success is to do a common thing uncommonly well. HJ discovers ideas in unlikely places and a chance encounter in 1892 inspires a world famous advertising slogan. You've seen that 57 on his products.

Well, the story behind that is he was going to New York City on a business trip and he was on an elevated train. And as he looked out the window, he saw a billboard that said, 23 styles of shoes. And he thought, 23 styles of shoes?

That's pretty impressive. I wonder how many products I have. And he started counting them up in his head. There were 54, 55, 56, 57, that's an interesting looking number. He liked the look of it. When he got home, he found out he really had many more products than 57, but he liked the number so much that he decided to put it on all of his labels.

He put it in whitewashed stone, on hillsides, on billboards, every place. He branded his company with Heinz 57. 57 is one of the greatest marketing ideas of all time.

It promises diversity while remaining manageable. And so Heinz 57 has entered the American lexicon. Yeah, and when we come back, more of the life of H.J. Heinz, and my goodness, you're learning so much about not just the product, not just about the man, but about his faith and how it intertwines with, and it's an inescapable part of every part of this great business. I mean, the idea of making the best product, the purest product, it just comes straight from who he is.

And yet this same guy can sort of make up the number 57 because he just likes the look of it and just drives it home and nobody knew branding better than H.J. Heinz when we come back. The rest of his life story here on Our American Stories. For each person living with myasthenia gravis, or MG, their journey with this rare neuromuscular condition is unique. That's why Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis, a new podcast from iHeartRadio in partnership with Argenics, is exploring the extraordinary challenges and personal triumphs of underserved communities living with MG. Host Martine Hackett will share powerful perspectives from people living with the debilitating muscle weakness and fatigue caused by this rare disorder. Each episode will uncover the reality of life with myasthenia gravis, from early signs and symptoms to obtaining an accurate diagnosis and finding where every person with MG has a story to tell. And by featuring these real life experiences, this podcast hopes to inspire the MG community, educate others about this rare condition and let those living with it know that they are not alone.

Listen to Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Do you have at least $50,000 saved for retirement? Good news, you could be eligible for a free Ronald Reagan half ounce silver coin. That's right, all qualified iHeart listeners who call GoldCo, the number one rated precious metals company this week, will get a free Ronald Reagan half ounce silver coin. All you have to do is visit GoldCo.com slash iHeart and get yours free while supplies last. GoldCo has helped thousands of people just like you place over $1 billion in gold and silver to help protect and diversify their savings. We're also offering up to $10,000 in free silver when you open a qualified gold IRA account.

With everything going on in the economy, inflation, war and the threat of recession, you can't afford to do nothing. Call GoldCo today to see if diversifying your money with gold and silver is right for you and get your free Ronald Reagan half ounce silver coin. Visit GoldCo.com slash iHeart.

That's GoldCo.com slash iHeart. Four tickets for just $80 all in can only mean one thing. The sun is out, outdoor venues are open and summer's live. Get four tickets for $80 all in and choose from over 2,500 of this summer's highest shows like 50 Cent, Avenged Sevenfold, Counting Crows, Fanatonics, Pepe Aguilar and more. The best summer ever starts with tickets to all your favorite artists. Don't miss out. Four tickets for just $80 all in on sale July 19th through August 1st.

Head to LiveNation.com slash summer's live. And we continue with the life story of H.J. Hines here on Our American Stories.

And now the very last part of this terrific story. You've seen that 57 on his products. Well, the story behind that is he was going to New York City on a business trip and he was on an elevated train. And as he looked out the window, he saw a billboard that said 23 styles of shoes. And he thought, 23 styles of shoes?

That's pretty impressive. I wonder how many products I have. And he started counting them up in his head. They're 54, 55, 56, 57, 57.

That's an interesting looking number. He liked the look of it. When he got home, he found out he really had many more products than 57, but he liked the number so much that he decided to put it on all of his labels. He put it in whitewashed stone, on hillsides, on billboards, every place. He branded his company with Hines 57. He developed kind of a distinctive style of his own. He had very distinctive whiskers, white whiskers and kind of his hair brushed back. He was kind of a character.

He had a sense of himself. But above all, Hines is clever. In 1893, H.J. Hines went to the Columbian Exposition. That's the World's Fair in Chicago. And they gave him a booth or a place to show his wares on the third floor of the exhibit hall.

Well, nobody at the World's Fair was climbing three sets of stairs to go up to the third floor. So Hines came up with an idea. On the spur of the moment, he printed little gold luggage tags. They had kind of a gold foil on it. And he printed on the back of the tag, bring to the Hines booth on the third floor for a free prize. And people would be strolling along arm in arm and they would catch the glint of gold out of the corner of their eyes and they pick it up and they say, oh, look, we could bring it to the for a free prize. And so they trooped up the steps by the hundreds, by the thousands, by the hundreds of thousands. People were going up to the third floor and they found the Hines booth and they saw his pyramids of ketchup and pickles.

And it was the hit of the fair. After 20 years in business, the H.J. Hines Company is the largest food processing company in the United States with a workforce of 23,000 people. His mansion occupies one corner of a grand street in the east end of Pittsburgh.

His immediate neighbors are named Westinghouse, Carnegie and Mellon. In 1894, Sarah Hines dies of typhoid on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 74. Henry writes, the darkest day we ever knew.

Hines will never marry again. Typhoid is the number one killer in the Pittsburgh area due to the dirty water. H.J. will promote, finance and lead a commission on smoke abatement, sewage control and water filtration plants that will eliminate the 100 year plague of typhoid fever.

By 1904, H.J. is selling his products on all six inhabited continents. Decades before Coca-Cola or McDonald's become symbols of the international economy, Hines products are found in all corners of the world. The American son of German immigrants has made himself world famous. He has changed eating habits, convincing customers that eating food made in an unknown factory thousands of miles distant can be as good, if not better, than homemade.

Here again is Quinton Skrabec. His main competition for most of his life was not other competitors as much as the housewife and preserved foods. He was competing against the home preserving group. In 1906, the 62 year old Henry Hines will willingly risk everything he has achieved to defend a point of principle. Suddenly, the entire food business comes under attack when Upton Sinclair's novel, The Jungle, exposes horrendous conditions in Chicago meat packing plants. An outraged public demands federal regulation, but all of the food processing companies oppose the controls, all except one. When Hines supports the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, he's branded a traitor. Competitors boycott his products and threaten his life.

H.J. is courageous and stands firm. As he's fond of saying, quality is to a product, what character is to a man? His competitors realize that if they are forced to meet the standards he has always lived by, they will go out of business. While a great deal of American food processing industry like ketchup manufacturers are opposing this legislation, here's Hines supporting this legislation. Well, you can imagine he quickly got the support of magazines like Good Housekeeping and so forth and consumers. Here's an industrialist out there supporting legislation like this. So it was good commercial advertising and marketing for him.

H.J. arouses further wrath when he personally lobbies President Theodore Roosevelt. Hines even convinces Roosevelt that without food quality oversight, even his beloved scotch might not be pure.

With Roosevelt's support, the landmark Pure Food and Drug Act became the law that protects consumers from toxic additives and fraud. Roosevelt declares, a man should be able to drink a whiskey in the evening without jeopardizing his health. To the very end of his days, H.J. lives a very vigorous lifestyle. He considers himself a simple working man and never loses his common touch, still rolling up his sleeves and joining the workers in the fields. Hines is a colorful character. On his 71st birthday he is asked how he feels and he doesn't say anything.

He just jumps over a chair. In 1918, following the end of World War I, H.J. is 74 years old and still goes to the factory every day and on Sundays involves himself in his church. In May 1919, H.J.

has what appears to be a simple cold, but it is soon apparent that it's pneumonia. The founder of the Henry John Hines Food Company dies peacefully in his home at the age of 74. Tributes pour in from all around the world, but none would have meant more to him than the grief of his corporate family.

Here again is Edwin Lou Who. They all became so close to him. When he passed away, they were in tears. They rang bells in the company and it was a day of mourning. The Hines employees feel as though they've lost a father and they pool their resources to commission a sculpture of the beloved founder. In his will, Henry writes, I desire to set forth at the very beginning of this will as the most important item in it, a confession of my faith in Jesus Christ as my savior.

He then requests that a church be built in memory of his mother. It now stands on the university campus in Pittsburgh. Over the years, the Hines company will continue to innovate. In 1968, it is the first company to offer ketchup in small to-go packets. In 1983, Hines introduces the first squeezable plastic bottle for ketchup. Ketchup is in 90% of all American homes and Hines has doubled the ketchup market share of its nearest competitor.

Today, the company employs more than 33,000 people and sells more than 650 million bottles of ketchup every year. In Pittsburgh, the company's legacy is present everywhere. Hines Field is home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Hines Hall is dedicated to the performing arts and the Hines Endowments Foundation is the city's most important sponsor. Here again is Andy Masich and H.J. 's great-great-grandson Andre Hines. He was one of the first people to really understand global marketing. He was also someone who understood branding, how important a name was and how important consumer confidence was in building a business. And of course, the Hines company, as it was during his lifetime, I think was a manifestation of his world view, which is, again, you do right by other people and that there's no room for being sloppy or for selling out.

I like that. I'm Greg Hingler and this is Our American Stories. And what a story indeed. One man builds a global brand, but in the end, what he really did was impact his neighborhood, the city of Pittsburgh, drive around it, walk around it. Hines Field, Hines Hall, Hines Endowments, still to this day, this man's work, this man's faith still being felt in the great city of Pittsburgh.

Henry Hines's story here on Our American Stories. You know, there are some things in life you just can't trust. Like a free couch on the side of the road or the sushi rolls from your local gas station or when your kid says they don't need the bathroom before the road trip. But there are some things in life you can trust, like the HP Smart Tank Printer. With up to two years of ink included and outstanding print quality, you can rely on the HP Smart Tank Printer from HP, America's most trusted printer brand.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-24 04:19:41 / 2023-07-24 04:36:23 / 17

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