California Supply Company

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Main Location

Mountain View, CA

1917 - 1940's

California Conserving Company

The California Supply Company was a canner producing tomato and pickle products. The company had its offices in San Francisco, and plant in Mountain View. Local residents affectionately called it the "Pickle Works."

The California Supply Company of San Francisco built a large tin-sided processing building and several warehouses in Mountain View in 1917. The site was strategically located adjacent to the SP Railway and the old city water works. The first superintendent of the pickle works, Carl Nielsen, moved his family to Mountain View in 1917, and the company provided him with a house next to the main building. When the operation expanded, his house was moved to its present location at 1057 Dana Street. A 1917 report claimed the cannery was experiencing an "extraordinary season of catsup and pickles"[1]

The roof blew off Mountain View building in December 1921 during a storm[2].. During the 1920's and 30's, most of the cucumbers and tomatoes processed at the plant came from the Holthouse and Thompson ranches, the present site of Lockheed in Sunnyvale[3] Thirty permanent employees maintained the plant year-round. At the peak season between June and Septembe, the company employed 200 to 300 workers. Between World War I and II, the pickle works was one of the main industries in the city. In the 1928 season, 300 sacks of pickles a day were being supplied by farms in Alameda County[4] Even during the Depression, the company continued production. The average worker earned 15 cents an hour and supervisors earned 35 cents an hour. "The workers produced 500 pounds of pickles and related products each day. The Oak Street warehouses contained two hundred 5,000-gallon salt brine vats used to cure the pickles, and the processing plant housed eight vessels used to cook tomatoes for catsup. The entire community knew when the tomatoes were in -- the steam carried the odor of catsup all over town.". In 1932, the company built a new building to make sauerkraut from San Mateo cabbages[5].

The company was caught selling adulterated catsup in 1935.

The California Conserving Company bought the plant in the early 1940's. By 1951, the plant was a branch of Hunt's. In late 1950, the company transferred the machinery to a modern plant in Fremont, and the pickle works was demolished in 1963.


Location Years Address Details
Mountain View 1917, 1921, -1963 Oak Street at railroad tracks, east/south of Sunsweet.
San Francisco 1922 738 Folsom From chamber of commerce listing.
San Francisco 1935


Hunt Foods Pickle Plant, Mountain View, 1950's[6]


  1. "California Canneries": July 1917 Western Canner and Packer.
  2. San Jose Evening News
  3. The 'Pickle Works' becomes home to city's police: June 28, 2002 Mountain View Voice
  4. "Mountain View Canneries Run Full Capacity": July 25, 1928 San Jose News."Pickles of all sizes and varieties are being put up daily by the California Supply Company at its plant on Franklin Street. According to Superintendent O. Uharlimar, 300 sacks of cucumbers are coming in a day from Alameda County."
  5. June 10, 1932 San Jose Evening News Built new 138x50 building to make sauerkraut, from cabbage from San Mateo.
  6. Nicholas Perry, Mountain View. Arcadia Publishing.