Henry J. Heinz
AKA Henry John Heinz, Jr.
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, PA
Location of death: Pittsburgh, PA
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Remains: Buried, Homewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Heinz Foods
As a child Henry Heinz sold excess vegetables from his mother's garden, and by high school he was buying vegetables at wholesale and delivering them to neighbors' homes at a mark-up. After attending business college and working in the office of his father's brick factory, he opened Heinz, Noble & Company in 1869, selling bottled horseradish with his friend L. Clarence Noble. They added pickles, sauerkraut, and vinegar before going bankrupt five years later. In 1875, in partnership with his brother John and cousin Frederick, he opened F & J Heinz Co., selling the same array of condiments plus Heinz' now-famous ketchup. In 1888 he bought out his partners and re-named the business H.J. Heinz Company, and by the time the company was incorporated in 1900, Heinz was already the country's leading manufacturer of ketchup, mustard, pickles, and vinegar.
For years his company was best known for its pickles, and by the late 1880s media accounts referred to Heinz as the Pickle King, a nickname which lasted the rest of his life. According to company folklore, Mr Heinz came up with the company claim of "57 varieties" in 1892 (when his factories were already making more than 60 different products) and as the company's list of products grew to hundreds (now thousands) Heinz held to the number 57 for "occult reasons."
Heinz broke with most of the food industry in his ardent support of the Pure Food and Drug Act, and his company was one of the first to open its doors for "public tours", to reassure customers that his products were produced under sanitary conditions. He was also known for gaudy but impressive advertising gimmicks, including some of the first billboards to be lit at night, and a forty-foot tall electric-lit pickle that dazzled shoppers on New York's Fifth Avenue for several years. By his death in 1919, Heinz had 17 factories, 98 salting houses, and offices in Europe. His great-grandson was US Senator John Heinz.
Father: John Henry Heinz
Mother: Anna Margaretta Schmidt Heinz
Sister: Elizabeth Heinz Mueller
Sister: Henrietta D. Heinz
Brother: John Heinz
Sister: Mary A. Heinz
Brother: P. J. Heinz
Wife: Sarah Sloan Young Heinz ("Sallie", m. 23-Sep-1869, d. 1894)
Son: Clarence Heinz
Son: Clifford Heinz
Son: Howard Heinz (Heinz president)
Daughter: Irene Heinz Givens
University: Duff's Business College
Heinz Founder (1875); President (1900-19)