California Canneries

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< 1895 - 1930's

Bear, Golden Age, Columbia, Red Star, Rialto[1]

California Canneries Company

A. Lusk & Company, Orchard City Canning Company

The California Canneries Corporation was a San Francisco-based canner. The company succeeded the A. Lusk & Company cannery in San Francisco. The company was operated for many years by Isidor Jacobs of San Francisco and primarily sold canned goods to England[2]. A 1929 price list on EBay showed that the company continued to bill themselves as "Successor to A. Lusk & Company". In 1920, Isodor Jacobs was the president and manager, and John Jacobs secretary[3].

The company had a San Francisco presence as early as 1895, with a report of a fire that destroyed the cannery that year[4].

The company is unrelated to the Central California Canneries which merged into Del Monte, or the California Cooperative Canneries funded by Armour. A 1921 San Francisco City Directory lists California Canneries Co. as owned by Isodor Jacobs and having a plant at 800 Minnesota at 18th in San Francisco[5].

In 1932, California Canneries declared bankruptcy. Their broker, Moritz Feibusch, reorganized the company and rebranded it as Calbear Canneries. Feibusch died in the fire on the Hindenberg airship in 1937[6]. Calbear Canneries was liquidated in 1938[7].

California Canneries in Campbell

California Canneries purchased the Payne Cannery in Campbell, and operated into the 1930's. California Canneries started production in Campbell in 1917. An article in 1918 refers to the Orchard City Canning Company having additions and improvements for the next year, and it would be operated "as last year" by the California Canneries Company, San Francisco[8] The cannery was purchased outright in May 1919[9], overhauled again in the spring of 1919, and was planning on canning apricots and tomatoes[10] Renovations were accomplished quickly, with a new building beginning construction on May 13, and the cannery already producing apricots for export to England on July 9[11]. An ad later that year solicited for workers for bartlett pears and later tomatoes. [12]. A 1922 Canner's directory shows only facilities in San Francisco and Campbell[13].

A fire in the sugar room in July 1919 caused moderate damage[14].

The cannery existed at least into the early 1930's, as the name appears on a Southern Pacific list of sidings from 1931. The plant appeared to be just north of the Ainsley cannery. The cannery was sold to Drew Canning soon after their purchase of the Ainsley Cannery just south of California's plant.

"[My dad's cannery] was Orchard City Canning, but he lost it. Jacobs owned it for a while and then the guy that took over Ainsley’s cannery bought what had been my dad's cannery and they cut off - actually later, not while I was around, I think I was in Spain when they did it - they actually closed the street that went across on one side of my folk’s house. They lived on the comer. And Hopkins Street was cut off and they built right across it and built Laurel Cannery including the old Orchard City Canning Company. That was included, there were a lot more canneries there... [15]


Location Years Address Details
Campbell 1919-1931 Harrison Ave

North of Ainsley cannery. Phone: Campbell 24.

San Francisco 1907, 1917, 1922[16] 600 Minnesota[17] 18th and Minnesota. Building still exists, "Canneries" lettering still visible.
San Francisco 800 Minnesota
San Francisco 1920's? 24th and Minnesota[18]. May be error on map - list California Canneries at 18th and Minnesota.


  1. California Canneries Co: California Food Products directory. 1920, A. Marks, San Francisco.
  2. July 21, 1917 California Fruit News
  3. California Canneries Co: California Food Products directory. 1920, A. Marks, San Francisco.
  4. June 28, 1895 -- San Francisco Call?]. Hints that cannery was around Fourth and Townsend.
  5. 1922 Canner's Directory. p. 364
  6. Moritz Feibusch: Faces of the Hindenburg blog. Site includes a Calbear fruit salad label, noting "Packed by Calbear Canneries Co., sole distributor M. Feibusch."
  7. Moritz Feibusch: Faces of the Hindenburg blog. " "However, when the time came for Calbear Cannery to reopen for the 1938 canning season, a conflict between Mr and Mrs. Marks and the Feibusch brothers resulted in the financing for that year not being arranged for. Instead, the brothers, the heirs to Moritz Feibusch's estate, opted to close the cannery and its offices, sell off the assets, and distribute the proceeds among the Feibusch heirs. "
  8. Coast News In Brief: August 24, 1918 California Fruit News.
  9. California Canneries: June 1919 Western Canner and Packer. "This company has bought the Payne Cannery at Campbell, and is making extensive improvements."
  10. May 24, 1919 California Fruit News notes the overhaul. The next paragraph notes that the tomato market is glutted.
  11. Many_Types_on_Campbell_Its_As_'Cots_Start. July 10, 1919 San Jose Evening News
  12. September 19, 1919 San Jose Evening News
  13. 1922 Canner's Directory
  14. Fire In Cannery. July 18, 1919 Campbell Interurban. "Fire broke out in the syrup room of the California Canneries Co. last Thursday and gained rapid headway before the water could be put on. The employees made every effort and the fire boys were soon on the job and together the fire was shortly under control. It is almost a miracle how the plant was saved but with the loss of the small cupola on top where the syrup tanks were placed. Considerable fruit was lost on account of the necessary delay and about 50 sacks of sugar were burned. The loss is estimated at about $3,0000 partially covered by insurance. The San Jose chemical company was called to the scene, but arrived too late to be of material assistance. The local firefighters are to be congratulated on their quick and efficient service. With such a company we may be sure that everything will be done to make our property safe from destruction."
  15. Interview with Perley Payne Jr. Interview conducted by Fred Hirsh, 1999. Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University.
  16. 1922 Canner's Directory
  17. Peach Growers Attention! June 1922 Associated Grower. Lists 600 Minnesota as buyer of fresh peaches.
  18. Southern Pacific Railroad, Industry Map of San Francisco. Dated 1926, updated to 1948. Shows Calbear Canneries as location #544 at Minnesota and 24th.