Profile of three generations of the family that built an international business giant, and became well-known philanthropists, giving generously to their city and country.


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Profile of three generations of the family that built an international business giant, and became well-known philanthropists, giving generously to their city and country.

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April 1999 (USA)  »

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J.H., H.J., H.C., H.J.II and H.J.III's Generations of the Heinz Family
25 July 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

1843, Anna and John Henry Heinz arrive in the States from Germany, settling in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where, one year later, they welcome the first of eight children, a son whom they name Henry John.

Anna instills Lutheran platitudes of kindness and purity, and plants a garden, as John Henry builds his brick-laying business. By eight, Henry John helps in both ventures, brick-laying, and vegetable-peddling thrice weekly, plus bottling and selling horseradish.

Only clear containers will do for young H.J., for his produce is pure. Year after year, the Heinz gardening business grows, and once H.J. earns his college business degree, he continues to work for his father's company, while preserving vegetables to vend.

The Heinz family travels, so while the parents visit Germany, H.J. manages to collect receivables for the building firm and erects a house to welcome his parents' return.

After marrying Sarah Young, H.J. enters partnership with Clarence Nobel to sell preserved foods. In a single day, he would travel to D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and back to Pittsburgh, for meetings with prospective clients.

But in 1875, the partnership fails; Heinz-Nobel facing bankruptcy, causing H.J. and parents to lose everything, when mortgage holders repossess belongings. John Henry never recovers the shock, leaving Henry John more determined than ever to prove a success, never again trusting anyone outside of his family.

1876, H.J. visits the U.K. to discover a product called catsup, derived from a fish recipe, and so H.J. decides to experiment with a tomato base, calling his product ketchup, and rebuilding his company around the sauce.

1884, H.J. returns to the U.K., this time to pitch his products to the Royal Family and approaches a Mr. Mason at the castle to take his order. The Royal Family accepts the pure Heinz products, which go on to make a hit in Britain.

1886, H.J. notices a U.K. sign advertising 21 varieties of shoes, and decides that his products could use a catch phrase and decides upon the number 57 even though Heinz produces more varieties than this. By 1895, Heinz UK is established in London.

Back in Pittsburgh, Heinz also expands to include 17 factory buildings during the 1890's. At the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, H.J. Heinz Company promotes its expedition by distributing tags for free pickle pins, thus launching another long-standing promotional device.

1894, after Sarah takes ill and passes on Thanksgiving Day, H.J. erects the Sarah Heinz House in her honor, as a safe haven for underprivileged youths.

Howard Cavote Heinz, born 1877, works with his father, throughout his life and expands the company's advertising into magazines once he comes of age and graduates from Yale University. By 1904, his efforts reach fruition, pioneering global marketing.

1906, after author Upton Sinclair publishes his novel "The Jungle," exposing deplorable conditions in Chicago's meat-packing factories, U.S. Congress passes the Pure Food and Drug Act, with the backing of the H.J. Heinz Company, to the dismay of his competitors, and so the business is threatened once again.

Both H.J. and Howard treat their employees as family members, bestowing upon them every benefit, from medical and dental care to quarterly banquets and annual picnics.

When Howard assumes management, in 1919, he continues expansion into world-wide manufacturing and distribution. After the stock market crash of 1929, Howard leads the industry through those Depression years, never laying off one employee, but expanding the payroll. But Heinz employees still strike, in 1936, and the U.S. Supreme Court orders the company to unionize.

Howard donates $80,000 from his own account to the War Effort in U.K. in 1939, and is instrumental in keeping the company afloat through many difficult years.

Henry John Heinz II, born in 1908, assumes management in 1941, and guides the corporation through the years of WWII. He turns a Pittsburgh factory into a Defense Plant, to construct glider airplanes, used in the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

H.J. II, unlike his famous grandfather, is born into power and privilege. Although he presents himself as more aloof than his ancestors, he continues in their corporate philanthropy projects, revitalizing Pittsburgh with Downtown renovation and the founding of Heinz Hall, and by donating $3 million worth of baby food to war-battered Europe.

During his 46-year position as H.J. Heinz Corporation CEO, H.J. II expands operations to six continents, including his 1986 trip to Mainland China to establish a baby food factory.

H.J. Heinz III, born in 1938, decides to break from family tradition to enter the field of Politics, which earns him positions with the United States House of Representatives (1971–77) and the United States Senate (1977–91).

Interview Guests for this episode consist of Professor Nancy F. Koehn (Author: "Henry Heinz and Brand Creation in the Late Nineteenth Century"), Eleanor F. Dienstag (Author: "In Good Company: 125 Years at the Heinz Table"), Debora S. Foster (General Manager of Corporate Communications, H.J. Heinz Company), Elizabeth Siegel Watkins, PhD. (Historian, Carnegie Mellon University), Judith E. Endelman (Curator, Henry Ford Museum), George C. Greer (former Senior Vice President, H. J. Heinz Inc.), Edwin C. Lehew (former Advertising Executive, H. J. Heinz Inc.), Alfred W. Wishart, Jr. (former Executive of the Heinz Endowments), and Frank J. Kurtik (Heinz Family Archivist), with Harry Smith (Host and Narrator).

Still Photographs include John Henry Heinz, Anna Heinz, Henry John Heinz (Heinz Company founder), Sarah Young Heinz (Wife of H.J.), Howard Cavote Heinz, Elizabeth Rust Heinz (Wife of H.C.), Henry John Heinz II, Rust Heinz (Sons of H.C.), Joan Diehl Heinz (Wife of J.H.II), Henry John Heinz III, Drue Heinz (second Wife of J.H.II), Aristotle Onassis, HRM Elizabeth II, and President Harry S. Truman.

Archive film footage includes U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge and Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Howard C. Heinz, Elizabeth Heinz, H.J. Heinz II, Rust Heinz, and H.J. Heinz III.

Television Clips include various Heinz Corporation commercials.

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