Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pop Quiz!

Three questions. Who was born on August 6, 1928? What was his favorite lunch? Where did this inspiration come from?

Joseph A. Campbell Preserve Company

While you're contemplating the answers to the above questions, I thought I would bring you up to snuff on the beginnings of the "Joseph A. Campbell Preserve Company." The Joseph A. Campbell Preserve Company had its beginnings in Camden, New Jersey. Although, Joseph Campbell usually gets top billing for his place in the company's history, some credit should also go to Abraham Anderson, a tinsmith who had opened a small canning factory in Philadelphia.

Abraham Anderson was a tinsmith and icebox manufacturer who was interested in exploring another relatively new food preservation method, the tin can. As a result of his foresight, he capitalized on the public’s mounting demand for freshly preserved foods, and by 1868, he was producing 50,000 canned goods a year...In 1869 fruit and vegetable merchant, Joseph Campbell, joined Anderson and the two began doing business under the firm name Anderson & Campbell in 1873. Together they canned fresh produce, such as fruits, vegetables, jellies, condiments, catsup, and mincemeat. Their specialty was beefsteak tomatoes, and they became one of hundreds of small canneries that dotted the American landscape at that time. Building on the previous reputation of Anderson, the two men were best known for their canned beefsteak tomato, which became the first advertising symbol of their company. The Anderson & Campbell beefsteak was touted as being so large each one would fill a single can. In 1874 the firm of Anderson & Campbell trademarked the term "Beefsteak" tomatoes with the "figure of a gigantic tomato, borne on the shoulders of two men. One product line was "Beefsteak Tomato Catsup." Anderson and Campbell disagreed about the future of the firm, and the partnership dissolved. (source)
...The 1869 incorporation of a company that still lists Camden as its headquarters was another significant achievement. The firm of Anderson and Campbell erected a canning and preserves factory at 41 North 2nd Street in that year. Anderson withdrew from the company, leaving Joseph Campbell to continue as sole proprietor until 1882, when he formed a partnership with Arthur Dorrance, Joseph S. Campbell (his son), and Walter Spackman. This partnership is the ancestor of today’s Campbell Soup Company.. (source)

In 1876, Abraham Anderson sold his interest in the company and the two men parted ways. In 1885, Abraham Anderson formed The Anderson Preserve Company which produced and sold its "Boston Market Catsup" throughout the eastern United States. Joseph Campbell joined with Arthur Dorrance to form a new firm, which in 1891 was named the Joseph A. Campbell Preserve Company and was incorporated 1901. The Joseph A. Campbell Preserve Company initially specialized in canned tomatoes, vegetables, jellies, soups, condiments and minced meats.

By the time Campbell and Anderson were forming their partnership, canning techniques had developed and canned food was taking off. In these early days cans were carefully crafted by hand and as such were very expensive to make. So it was premium luxury products that were first canned and not the everyday items that we enjoy today. Campbell's first products were jams, jellies, condiments, minced meat and beefsteak tomatoes. The major turning point came in 1897 when a Dr John Thompson Dorrance, nephew to the general manager, was employed and the following year he invented condensed soup. By eliminating the water in canned soup, he lowered the costs of packaging, shipping and storage – making it possible to offer high quality products at value for money prices. The condensed format also added versatility – allowing the consumer to customise the soup by diluting to taste. A year later the world-famous red and white labelling was introduced - immortalised in the 1960s by the artist Andy Warhol. As condensed soup became more popular, all other products were discontinued and the company was was incorporated as the Campbell Soup Company in 1922, centering its efforts on its most famous and profitable product; condensed soup. (source)


Who was born on August 6, 1928?
Andy Warhol in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
What was his favorite lunch?
Campbell's Tomato Soup
Where did this inspiration come from?
His lunch box?
In Souper Tomatoes by Andrew F. Smith, "Warhol's mother served him tomato soup for lunch for twenty years which was why he painted tomato soup cans!" There's more about the book at Rutgers Press.

from MoMA website...

As Warhol said of Campbell's soup, "I used to drink it. I used to have the same lunch every day, for twenty years, I guess, the same thing over and over again."
In 1898, Herberton Williams, a Campbell's executive, convinced the company to adopt a cherry red and bright white color scheme, which he had seen at a football game between Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania. Campbell Soup Company decided to use these same colors and changed their soup labels which looked quite different before the red and white metamorphosis. To this day, the layout of the can, with its red and white design and the metallic gold medal seal from the 1900 Paris Exhibition, has changed very little and most recognize a Campbell's Soup can because it is red and white. The Campbell Soup Company used different advertisements over the years. In 1904 they began using the Campbell's Kids the same year Campbell's pork and beans were "born." In the 1930s they started using their jingle "M'm! M'm! Good!" on the radio. In 1950 the first Campbell television commercials were broadcast. There are wonderful photographs of Campbell Soup advertising at the Golden Age of Advertising website which I have provided a link for below. By the 1960s, the company opened two mushroom growing facilities and 11 new plants on three continents. New products continued to be rolled out, with two particularly noteworthy: Franco-American SpaghettiOs, which debuted in 1965, and Goldfish crackers, introduced by Pepperidge Farm in 1962. Okay, that's enough about the company, Let's get to Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol

Campbell's Tomato Soup Die-cut undated

Andrew Warhola was born at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 6, in 1928. His father migrated to the USA in 1914, while his mother joined him in 1921. Their modest home was not far from Pittsburg where Andy's father worked. Andy Warhol showed an early artistic talent and studied commercial art at the School of Fine Arts at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (now Carnegie Mellon University). In 1949, he moved to New York City where he got his first big break when Glamour Magazine asked him to illustrate an article called "Success is a Job in New York." This was also about the time he changed the lettering in his name by dropping the "e." It seems, when the magazine article was published, the credit mistakenly read "Drawings by Andy Warhol." This inspiring artist and filmmaker is considered a founder and a major figure of the pop art movement. During the 1950s, he gained fame for his whimsical ink drawings of shoe advertisements. In 1960 Warhol made his first comic strip painting, "Dick Tracy." A fascination with the broad market of consumer goods led him to turn his attention to supermarket products. In 1962, he began to use silkscreening techniques to mechanically reproduce consumer images such as his series of iconoclastic Campbell's Soup Can. (he also made paintings of dollar bills) Each can was hand painted to perfection and almost machine like in quality. Every detail was considered just as the original down to the gold and black script of the word ‘SOUP’ to the simple red print of each flavor. The pop artist not only depicted mass products, other subjects given similar treatment included Jackie Kennedy and Elvis Presley. The same year he took part in the New Realists exhibition held at Sidney Janis Gallery, in New York. Many of these images are now on display at the Andy Warhol Museum which opened in 1994. (source; wikipedia below)
Campbell's Soup Kids

"Campbell's for dinner,
For supper, for lunch-
Eating this soup
Is what gives me the punch!"

Tomato Soup Recipes

Somewhere in my notes I have jotted down that the company published its first full-length cookbook in 1941, titling it Easy Ways to Good Meals. I'm not sure what I meant, where it came from or what I was thinking. The pictured die-cut Campbell's Soup booklet was most certainly published before 1941, although, it is undated. Perhaps, I should have noted first full-length hard cover cookbook because Help For the Hostess was published around 1910, which has a cover of the Campbell's Soup Kids all gussied up and Campbell's Menu Book was published in 1908. I also think it's important to mention about now that Campbell's did not invent tomato soup. Campbell's was the first to introduce condensed soup which was based upon a discovery made by Dr. John Thompson Dorrance who joined the company in 1897. Tomato soup was "invented" by James H. W. Huckins who I posted about back in May. I'm leaving the link at the bottom for those who may be interested in him or his recipe. Yes, dear visitors, there is a recipe for tomato soup. While I'm thinking about it, there is also another die-cut tomato recipe book at that post too!

I'm only going to scan a few of the recipes from this edition of the Campbell's Tomato Soup booklet. Not so much for the recipes but because I really want you to see the adorable Campbell Soup Kids created by Grace Gebbie Drayton Wiederseim. Although Campbells' quickly embraced Grace Drayton's "funny babies", in 1905, her name never appeared as their creator on any of the Campbell's Soup advertisements. But, after she left Campbell's, she finally got the recognition she deserved from her Dolly Dingle paper dolls. Grace Drayton was the author and illustrator of numerous children's books, but presently is probably best remembered for her creation of the cherub-cheeked Campbell Soup Kids.

Campbell's Tomato Soup Recipes

Before I go, there's one more recipe I would like to mention. It's called Mystery Cake by Campbell's Soup. I was just about to include it in this post when I gleefully discovered it at T.W.'s Culinary Types. (follow the link:)

1. Little Known Facts About Campbell's Soup (best link for campbells soup history)
2. Spotlight on Golden Age Advertising-Campbells (very cool:)
3. Andy Warhol @ wiki
4. Andy Warhol Chronology
5. Andrew Warhola (bio)
6. Mini Biography
7. Andy Warhol Museum
8. James H. W. Huckins (previous post)
9. Tasteful Inventions


  1. Mystery Cake is also known as "Conversation Cake" as the secret ingredient always sparks a conversation! I work near the Museum of Modern Art and I love to go look at Andy Warhol's Soup Cans at lunch!

  2. Well tomato is a fruit so I suppose it could work in a cake. Its amazing how Campbells Tomato soup and Cream of Mushroom have become indispensable in most American cooking.

  3. I suppose Campbells marketing worked!

  4. There's a book in my local second hand bookshop which contains Warhol illustrations before he was famous. I *think* it's called the Vanderbilt Cookbook, but I could be wrong. Next time I'm there I'll take a look.


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