California Fruit Canners Association

From Packing Houses of Santa Clara County
Jump to: navigation, search
Summary
Business

Cannery
Main Location

San Francisco, CA
Active

1899 - 1916
Predecessors

F. P. Cutting Company, San Jose Fruit Packing Company, King-Morse Canning Company, Oakland Preserving Company, M. J. Fontana and Company, Sacramento Packing Company, California Fruit Preserving Company, and Marysville Packing Company, Rose City Packing Company, A. F. Tenney Canning Company, Courtland Canning Company, the Whitter Cannery, Chico Canning Company, Lincoln Fruit Packing Company, Sutter Canning & Packing Company, and Southern California Packing Company. CFCA also ran dried fruit packing houses[1].
Successors

California Packing Corporation

California Fruit Canners Association was a company formed by the consolidation of eighteen canning companies. The CFCA was formed on June 15, 1899; the merger was intended to help efficiency by sharing costs and increase purchase prices for crops that would rival the cooperatives[2]. CFCA also cut costs through exclusive agency deals with wholesalers; J. K. Armsby initially was the broker for the CFCA, but within a few years had the Midwest agency given to another company, and found the CFCA willing to sell its own products on the west coast[3]. The CFCA took all parts of the companies - 30 canneries, trademarks, and paraphernalia. The CFCA represented a huge chunk of U.S. canning capacity, estimated at not more than 60% of the canned fruit market. CFCA merged into the new California Packing Corporation at the company's inception in 1916.

An 1899 news article claimed that twenty-six of the twenty-nine large canneries in California were planning on joining including Hunt Brothers; they excluded California Canneries, Code-Portwood Canning Company, and Southern California Packing Co. They also ignored the "few small canneries" including "the Chinese cannery, the Los Gatos, the Ainsley, the Overland, the Corbille, Golden Gate"[4].

Guaranteed members of the CFCA included the F. P. Cutting Company in Oakland, San Jose Fruit Packing Company, King-Morse Canning Company in San Francisco and San Leandro, Oakland Preserving Company, M. J. Fontana and Company in San Francisco, Sacramento Packing Company, California Fruit Preserving Company, and Marysville Packing Company. In 1900, the company took over nine more companies, including Rose City Packing Company of Santa Rosa, A. F. Tenney Canning Company in Fresno, Courtland Canning Company, the Whitter Cannery, Chico Canning Company, Lincoln Fruit Packing Company, Sutter Canning & Packing Company, and Southern California Packing Company. "Thus, at the end of the second season, the California Fruit Canners' Association controlled twenty-seven plants in twenty-two cities." About half of the initial plants were in California; the rest were in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Hawaii. A list of the 1901 canneries appears in a California board of horticulture biennial report from 1901.

"The California Fruit Canners' Association, which has for years been the dominant factor in the canning business on the Pacific Coast, was organized on June 15, 1899; and the efforts toward consolidation of the California packers were crowned with partial success. The association included originally the following plants : Cutting Packing Company, San Jose Fruit Packing Company, King-Morse Company, Oakland Preserving Company, Fontana & Company, Sacramento Packing Company, California Fruit Preserving Company, and Marysville Packing Company In 1900, nine more plants were taken over, including: Hunt Bros. Fruit Packing Company, Rose City Packing Company, A. F. Tenney Canning Company, Courtland Canning Company, Whittier Cannery, Chico Canning Company, Lincoln Fruit Pack- ing Company, Sutter Canning & Packing Company, and Southern California Packing Company Thus, at the end of the second season, the California Fruit Canners' Association controlled twenty-seven plants in twenty-two cities. During the season of 1914, seventeen canning factories were operated by the association."[5]

"In 1913, the California Fruit Canners' Association operated the world's largest cannery in North Beach. It had a capacity of 24 million cans a year, about one-seventh of the state total, and most of the more than 1,000 workers were Italians." [6]

The number of canneries varied over time; By 1914, the company had seventeen separate canneries[7]. In 1913, light fruit crops meant that only five of the twenty-six caneries were operating that year. In 1915, CFCA had fifty Del Monte branded products, and 72 other leading brands[8].

The company was led by the principals of some of the formative companies[9]. Marco Fontana and partner William Fries led the consolidation, with Fontana (founder of Italian Swiss Colony and M. J. Fontana and Company was the first superintendent, and Fries the initial president. Other organizers include Sydney Smith of F. P. Cutting, Fredrick Tillman Jr. of the Oakland Preserving Company, and Robert and Charles Bentley of the Sacramento Packing Company.

When the California Packing Corporation was formed, CFCA's size and experience meant that its principals often led Del Monte. T.B. Dawson became the general superintendent of Del Monte; Robert Bentley, formerly of the Golden Gate Packing Company, became the president of the California Packing Corporation.

Contemporary news reports suggest that the formation of the CFCA led to some nasty competitive battles, both with the growers and with other canners. See Opposition to the California Fruit Canners' Association for more details.

Locations

Location Years Address Details
San Jose 1899-1915 Auzerais Avenue (1899-1915)

Becomes Del Monte

San Jose 1900, 1902, 1904, 1906 San Carlos Avenue at narrow gauge tracks

References

  1. William Braznell, California's Finest: The History of the Del Monte Corporation and the Del Monte Brand. Del Monte Corporation, 1982. p. 30
  2. History San Jose, California Fruit Canners Association.
  3. William Braznell, California's Finest: The History of the Del Monte Corporation and the Del Monte Brand. Del Monte Corporation, 1982
  4. "A Cannery Combine" Pacific Rural Press, June 17, 1899.
  5. The Seal of Safety Year Book for 1914: The Canning Industry in California .
  6. Dino Cinel, From Italy to San Francisco: The Immigrant Experience, Stanford University Press, 1982, pg 232
  7. ibid.
  8. William Braznell, California's Finest: The History of the Del Monte Corporation and the Del Monte Brand. Del Monte Corporation, 1982, p.30
  9. William Braznell, California's Finest: The History of the Del Monte Corporation and the Del Monte Brand. Del Monte Corporation, 1982