Oakland Preserving Company

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Main Location

Oakland, CA


Del Monte

California Fruit Canners Association

The Oakland Preserving Company was a cannery founded by F. Tilmann Sr. in 1891[1], with primary plant on "an acre and a half" at First Street between Filbert and Linden Streets in Oakland. The founding manager was W.A. Stevens, who had established the J. M. Dawson Packing Company and San Jose Fruit Company. Tilmann was the president of Tilmann & Bendel, a San Francisco-based wholesale grocer who was frustrated by the quality of canned foods they could buy.

The Oakland Preserving Company eventually became part of the California Fruit Canners Association during its formation in 1899[2], and was an original user of the Del Monte brand[3]. A lawsuit between the California Packing Corporation and Tilmann and Bendel over the Del Monte trademark gives more details about the history - Tilmann used it because he was supplying coffee to the Hotel Del Monte in Monterey.

The Thursday, June 11, 1891 issue of the Oakland Tribune declares the plant was built in eight weeks:

Preserving and Cooking Ripe Fruit
A Cannery Built in Eight Weeks
The Great Plant of the Oakland Preserving Company

Immense buildings occupying the frontage of one entire block on First Street
When the well known J. Lusk Canning Company, whose cannery was at Temescal, failed several years ago, one of the most important industries, that of fruit caning, was sorely crippled in this country...

"The Oakland Preserving Company is the name of the new corporation, and to show what an energetic concern it is it is only necessary to state that the company was organized, buildings were erected, and the work of fruit canning commenced within height weeks, and the cannery is said to be the most complete one in the United States too. The buildings of the company occupy half a block of land, and are located on First Street between Filbert and Linden streets. The cannery proper occupies the Linden-street side, and the immense warehouse where the canned goods will be stored occupies the Filbert Street end of the lot, with the engine and boiler rooms situated in the rear of Linden Street. On First Street a sidetrack has been run the entire length of the block, and fresh fruit may be unloaded at one end and the car laden with canned fruit at the other end...

Photos of the Oakland plant appear in the book Alameda County: the Eden of the Pacific[4].

Oakland Preserving also had a Milpitas cannery, The Milpitas cannery was reportedly built to be close to asparagus fields of the area.[5].


Location Years Address Details
Milpitas 1896-1899 To California Fruit Canners Association and Del Monte.


Oakland 1891-1899 First Street and Filbert To become Del Monte Plant #6.

Fruitvale district according to Wikipedia's entry on Oakland


  1. A New Cannery in Oakland, Pacific Rural Press, June 27, 1891
  2. William Braznell, California's Finest:The History of the Del Monte Corporation and the Del Monte Brand, 1982, Del Monte
  3. Los Altos Hills History
  4. Oakland Tribune, Alameda County: the Eden of the Pacific, 1898
  5. "Asparagus and Asparagus Rust in California", University of California Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin #106