Code-Portwood Canning Company

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Cole-Portwood Canning Company

H.G. Prince

Code-Portwood Canning Company was a San Francisco and Oakland-based canner and jam maker, founded in 1867[4]. The company's origins started with D. Provost who operated the a packing house in San Francisco to repackage preserved products shipped from the wast coast. Philip D. Code, an employee of Provost's, took over the business in 1867 and renamed it as "P. D. Code and Co."[5]. Code was the first to can cherries in California[6]. Code was also known for bottling ketchup in 1868[7]. In 1902, Philip D. Code was the president of the company, with offices at 101 Front St. in San Francisco and the factory at the corner of 10th and Bryant in San Francisco[8][9]. In 1899, Code-Portwood apparently considered joining the California Fruit Canners Association combine[10].

Philip D. Code, the principal of the company, was born in England in 1842, naturalized in 1876, and was living in San Francisco in 1880, listing his occupation as "canning fruit".

Code-Portwood was apparently known in the 1890's as "Code, Elfelt & Co"; Elfelt had retired by 1894[11] In 1897, the company had financial difficulties when Anglo-California Bank suddenly revoked the company's line of credit[12]. James A. Code ran the company at that time.

The company opened a plant in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland after the 1906 San Francisco Great Earthquake and Fire[13]. That plant had been planned before the earthquake, with an announcement in December 1905[14] but the San Francisco plant was reported to be destroyed in the earthquake[15]. (Photos show the building still standing after the earthquake</ref>Dore Street 1906 Earthquake Damage. View north to intersection of Bryant and earthquake-damaged warehouse of Code-Portwood Cannery. From Marilyn Blaisdell Collection, Other photos at the location show street subsidence and houses collapsed on Dore Street.</ref>In 1913, the company requested better wharf facilities on Oakland so it could load its products into ships on the east side of the bay[16]. By 1913, they listed themselves as headquartered in Fruitvale, Oakland[17].

The company was sold to one of its officers by 1914 and became H.G. Prince & Co[18].


Location Years Address Details
Fruitvale 1906-1914 11th Ave. and 28th Street[19] Became H. G. Prince.
San Francisco 1878 125 Davis St.[20]
San Francisco 1878 314 Washington St.[21]
San Francisco 1902 101 Front Street offices, warehouse?
San Francisco 1902 10th and Bryant factory


  1. Mida's Trade-Mark Register of Canned Goods, 1906, Criterion Publishing Company, Chicago
  2. Advertisement: Official Year Book of the California State Federation of Labor, 1913.
  3. San Francisco: Her Great Manufacturing, Commercial, and Financial Institutions..., 1904, Pacific Arts Co.
  4. San Francisco: Her Great Manufacturing, Commercial, and Financial Institutions..., 1904, Pacific Arts Co. "Founded in 1867 as P. D. Code & Co, incorporated in 1898. H. G. Prince was a director in 1904.
  5. Canning in California. The Seal of Safety: Year Book of the Max Ams Machine Co, Mount Vernon NY, 1915. "D. Provost, who in 1858 operated a small packing house at Market and Valencia Streets, San Francisco, is generally accredited with the distinction of undertaking the first commercial canning on the west coast... this concern packed pickles, jams, etc. in bulk and shipped around the horn in sailing vessels to San Francisco where the goods were repacked in suitable containers for the California Market... in 1867, Provost discontinued business, and P. D. Code, who had been employed by him, founded the firm of P. D. Code and Company. This concern is still in existence under another name, having operated successively as the Code-Elfelt Co., the Code-Portwood Canning Co., and at the present time as H. G. Prince & Co.
  6. Canning in California. The Seal of Safety: Year Book of the Max Ams Machine Co, Mount Vernon NY, 1915.
  7. Andrew F. Smith, Pure Ketchup: A History of America's National Condiment, with Recipes. University of South Carolina Press. "In 1926, CalPak acquired the H.G. Prince Co. and hence CalPak can trace its roots to both of California's first canners."
  8. Code-Portwood Canning Co.: 1902 Crocker-Langley San Francisco City Directory
  9. Picture of one site in King's Handbook of the United States, Moses King Publishers, Buffalo New York, 1891.
  10. Few Canned Fruit Sales: July 12, 1899 Boston Evening Transcript.
  11. 1893 San Francisco City Directory. Philip Code ran the company, James Code was superintendent, Charles Code was assistant superintendent.
  12. Future of the Firm: Committee of Code, Elfelt, & Co's Creditors Will Report To-Morrow: August 1, 1897 San Francisco Call. Anglo-California Bank suddenly revoked the company's line of credit, leading to questions about whether the company could continue.
  13. Help Wanted: Women and Girls to Work On Fruit: August 12, 1906 San Francisco Call. Lists "new cannery at Fruitvale, a summer outing".
  14. Alameda County News: December 16, 1905 San Francisco Call: "The Code-Portwood Canning Company has made application for a permit to erect a cannery to cost $30,000 not including equipment at Railroad and Twenty-eighth Avenues."
  15. General Merchandise: July 5, 1906 Adelaide (Australia) Advertiser: "According to the San Francisco mail advises, the destruction of the following fruit canneries is reported: ... Code Portwood Cannery, with a capacity of 125,000 cases, was wrecked by earthquake."
  16. Canning Company May Get Wharf Facilities: July 15, 1913 San Francisco Call.
  17. Advertisement: Official Year Book of the California State Federation of Labor, 1913.
  18. Canned Foods: January 24, 1914: "A contrivance has been invented by Arthur Duncan, manager of H. G. Prince & Co., successor to Code Portwood Canning Co....
  19. [1907 San Francisco-Oakland Directory]. No other sites listed.
  20. 1878 San Francisco Phone directory. From
  21. 1878 San Francisco Phone directory. From