Pratt-Low Preserving Company

From Packing Houses of Santa Clara County
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Main Location

Santa Clara, CA

1905 -1960

Polka Dot, Pratt-Low, Rag Doll, Chimes, Roman Gold, Santa Clara, Sutter Pak[1].
Pratt-Low cannery, Modesto.

Pratt-Low Preserving Company was a long-lived canner that was founded in Santa Clara, California in 1905[2][3]. Their flagship cannery, located on 22 acres at Bellomy and the Alameda in Santa Clara, had formerly been the Pacific Manufacturing Company. Pratt-Low was founded by George Pratt, D. Low, and Frank Wilder; Pratt had been a fruit buyer[4]. Wilder previously worked for the California Fruit Canners Association. Wilder continued to be a force for the food industry in California; he also was a founder of the Security Warehouse and Cold Storage Company in San Jose[5].

Ad in February, 1923 Western Canner and Packer mentions "four model canneries" including the Santa Clara site, a Modesto plant that planned to can 250,000 cases of apricots and peaches during the 1922 season[6], and a Redwood City cannery along the Dumbarton cutoff[7]. Edith Daley reported on her visit to the Santa Clara cannery in the July 23, 1919 San Jose Evening News.

Pratt-Low was taken over by Harry A. Irving of the Carmel Canning Company in 1945[8]; the company merged with Southern California-based Fitzsimmons stores in 1956 (listed as Thriftimart, Inc. in a 1957 SEC filing[9]), and was sold to the Duffy-Mott Company in 1960. Pratt-Low cut back to canning only prune and tomato juice in 1971, and shut down for good in April 1978.

Migrant worker housing from Pratt-Low was bought by orchardist Eiichi Sakauye in 1952; those buildings were later moved to San Jose's History Park[10].


Location Years Address Details
Grand Island 1920[11], 1927 Along Sacramento River between Isleton and Ryde. Started in early 1900's, torn down in the 1980's. Now Cannery Landing RV Campground[12].
Modesto 1922 9th and C Streets Founded in 1908 as Modesto Canning Company[13]. Became Pacific Grape Products in 1941, Flotill in 1942, and Tillie Lewis in the 1960's[14]
Pescadero 1918[15] Canning artichokes.
Redwood City 1918, 1921[16]
Santa Clara 1906-1978[17] The Alameda and Bellomy Avenue Listed as Bellomy at corner of Campbell Ave. [18].


Pratt-Low Preserving Company, Santa Clara Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History


  1. Pratt-Low Preserving Company:
  2. Cannery Landing Campground history notes first trademark was filed March 25, 1905.
  3. Pratt-Low Preserving V. Jordan: 217 Cal Supreme Court refusal to rehear case. January 27, 1933. The complaint notes that when the company was founded in 1905, it had seven directors. The company increased the number to nine in 1919 with no complaints. In 1929, they attempted to drop the number of directors back to 7, and the California Secretary of State protested.
  4. 1902 San Jose (Santa Clara?) City directory shows Pratt's occupation, and his residence at 11 Pleasant Ave.
  5. Wilder House history
  6. July 1922 Western Canner and Packer
  7. California Canneries news: January 1919 Western Canner and Packer
  8. Wilder House history
  9. Thriftimart, Inc. registration statement for sale of debt. May 31, 1957 Securities and Exchange Commission News Digest.
  10. Migrant Worker Houses, Historic Landmark 10-192: History Park Guide from
  11. Isleton Asparagus Notes, April 1920 Western Canner and Packer. "The Pratt-Low Preserving Company on Grand Island, has erected a new cookhouse and five cottages to replace those destroyed by fire last year In addition, a theater and dance hall have been constructed for employees."
  12. Pratt-Low Info, Cannery Landing RV Campground.
  13. Carl P. Baggesse, McHenry Museum: Modesto. Arcadia Publishing. "Pratt-Low Cannery, C. 1919. This cannery began as the Modesto Canning Company in 1908, located at Ninth Street near C Street. It employed up to 175 people during peak canning season. In 1919, it was sold to Pratt-Low and eventually became Flotill, which was owned by Tillie Lewis, a successful Stockton businesswoman. In later years, the cannery was known as Tillie Lewis Foods."
  14. Mentioned on Facebook posting by Modesto Art Museum showing postcard view of cannery.
  15. Pratt-Low ad, [ Official Year Book and State Labor Manual of the California State Federation of Labor. 1918, Published by the California State Federation of Labor.
  16. California Canneries: September 1921 Western Canner and Packer. "Operations were resumed August 2 on peaches. When the peach season is over the pear crop will be taken care of, followed by tomatoes and other vegetables in the fall. It is the hope of the company to continue operations indefinitely."
  17. Historic Property Contract for the Wilder-Hait House, 1190 The Alameda. San Jose City Council document. "The cannery was finally closed in April 1978, and the site sold to Santa Clara University.
  18. 1911 San Jose City Directory