Shaw Family Cannery

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Main Location

San Jose


Jam Kitchen, H.S., Shaw's Fine Jams

Garden City Jam Kitchen (1930)

Richardson and Robbins, Hyde-Shaw Company

The Shaw Family Cannery was a fruit cannery run by Elton R. Shaw, supposedly known for their fancy fruit packed in glass jars and high-quality jams.

The cannery started off as the Hyde-Shaw Company, but was sold in 1915 to Richardson and Robbins from Delaware according to the March 13, 1915 California Fruit News. Shaw was "well known in California", and would be taking responsibility for both the company's Dover, Delaware plant as well as the California plant.

Another article in the March 1915 Coffee and Tea Industries trade journal remarked on the company "specializing in putting fruits into attractive glass packages... the Hyde-Shaw pack is hand-peeled and comprises the complete list of California fruits, in a wide variety of preserved and packed forms; is double German-processed, and presents a most attractive appearance in sanitary glass jars." Shaw also had quite a history, "[serving] many of the largest packing interests in a consulting capacity, both as efficiency expert and expert in fruit packing".

There's also the mention that the purchase was a chance for Robertson and Richardson to expand: "it is said that not only will the fruit pack for the R&R label be greatly increased, but plans are under consideration to pack the R&R line of boned-chicken and meats for 1916 in glass, in addition to tin."

The 1915 California Fruit News news article claimed Richardson and Robbins planned to expand the plant significantly. It's unclear whether that actually happened; Richardson and Robbins ended up selling it back to Shaw in April 1918.

Edith Daley visited the plant in the August 5, 1919 San Jose Evening News, and remarked on their business of great jams:

FRom the ripening of the first cherry until the last ruddy apple turns into deliciously old-fashioned "back-east" apple butter, this place of "fine jams and preserves" offers a diversified program with every act a top-liner. Jellies of all fruit flavors and attractive colors; jam that makes you hungry for hot biscuit-and jam; preserves that you can "see through" they are so clear; orange marmalade; apricot marmalade; spiced peaches and pears, and apricots. Melba pack meas only three or four perfect peaches or pears in each glass jar.

Daley notes 200 employees processing 3000 "chests" of strawberries, blackberries, and all the loganberries and raspberries they can get per season, most brought from Watsonville by truck.

The cannery building was three-story, with canning on the top floor.

The cannery burned in 1928; to raise money to rebuild, the company offered stock in an offering in the October 30, 1928 San Jose News "This offering brings to the investor an opportunity to become a stockholder in one of San Jose's oldest and best established fruit packing companies." Requesting $500,000.


Location Years Address Details
Fresno 1919 From Edith Daley story.
San Jose 1919-1940 Fourth Street and Virginia Street From Edith Daley story, directories.
San Jose 1928 First National Bank Building #407


Jam Kitchen and H.S. brands according to list in 1920 The Canner. References in Oct. 20 2005 Almaden Resident about a Shaw cannery at McKean and Harry in the 1920s.

The 1929 San Jose City Directory confirms this, with Elton R. Shaw "President and Manager, Shaw Family Inc." having his home at McKean and Harry Roads, Elton S. Shaw, secretary and treasurer, living at 1154 Cherry Ave., and the company having its offices at East Virginia and 4th Street.

USDA list of packers in 1930 names "Garden City Jam Kitchen" as an alias for the Shaw Family cannery.