Monday, May 16, 2016


LATE 1800'S – EARLY 1900'S

Starting about 1878, Sussex County, Delaware, fast became one of the most important production counties in the east for the food processing industries. A peach growers son, Walter Cuykendall, watching his fathers peach crop rot on the tree because of a market overflow and bringing a very low price in Boston, New York and Philadelphia , became concerned and investigated the new industry of canning fruits and vegetables. Young Cuykendall worked and learned the process at the Frederica cannery of W. W. Howe in nearby Kent County and soon decided to start another market for the family's crops. In a vacant building at 17 S.W. Front Street, in Milford, set up his operation. He made his own containers here during the winter and encouraged his father and other farmers to bring surplus peaches to be canned . Soon other vegetable and fruit crops, like tomatoes, then lima beans, peas and sweet corn, were made available for processing
Other growers soon followed suit as other canneries were erected.
In Bridgeville, in 1881, the Henry P. Cannon family started canning their surplus and low priced crops. Delaware State officials, seeing an opportunity, got on board with assistance, the University of Delaware, also, and in 1900 there were 23,000 acres of vegetables and 10,500 acres of fruit bringing in an income of over $2,500,000. Being a slow process at first, and in the 1900's the industry improved the machinery to hasten the output and do away with the bottleneck of hand operations.
The county was soon covered with canneries, every crossroads, village and cities had one or more. Any spot you would choose to stand on the Delmarva Penisnula, there were within a 25 mile radius, from 5 to 10 canning facrories. Some names were, Draper, Clifton's, Torsch, Bulow, Bramble, Green Giant, Stokely van Camp, Noble, Mills and
Greensbaun. Today, the food processing industry is so efficient, there are but few canning factories in operation, furnishing the world sufficient supply.


No comments:

Post a Comment