Learn more about H.J.Heinz and his company by visiting its website.
Heinz' obituary, from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh:
H. J. Heinz Is Victim of Pneumonia
Well Known Pittsburgher Dies at Home after a Brief Illness; Rose from the Ranks.
After an illness dating from last Saturday, Henry J. Heinz, founder and president of the H. J. Heinz Company, the largest pickling and condiment manufacturing concern in the world, died at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon at his home, Penn and Murtland Avenues. Death, it is stated, was due to pneumonia.
Probably no man in the world of organized Sunday school endeavor was better known than Mr. Heinz, and as chairman of the executive committee of the World's Sunday School Association he was one of the outstanding leaders of the Sunday school forces the world around. He had planned to be in New York this week for a conference on the world's Sunday school work for the coming year, and especially for the convention to be held in Tokio, Japan, next year.
It had been his habit for a number of years to visit one or more Sunday schools each Sunday, wherever he might happen to be. On Sunday, May 4, he made a visit to his old school at Grace Church, Sharpsburg, and in his address he expressed his continued interest in the place and power of the Sunday school.
Mr. Heinz was a great lover of children, and no organization having for its object the health and happiness of children, the development of character, ever appealed to him in vain. It was this interest that led him to erect and equip the community house, known as the Sarah Heinz House, located on East Ohio and Heinz Streets, which was designed for the use of boys and girls of that section of the city, and which received its name by reason of the fact that it was a memorial to his wife.
Interested in Children.
His son, Howard Heinz, had become interested in boys' club work while attending Yale University, and when he returned home after graduation and entered upon his business life, he desired to establish a work for boys and girls. In this work H. J. Heinz always took a great interest, and gave his son encouragement and support, and when the father saw the fruits of the effort, he decided to erect a special building with modern equipment to be used in carrying on the work.
Mr. Heinz is survived by the following children: Mrs. John L. Given of New York, Clarence N. Heinz of Lake Geneva, Wis., Howard Heinz, vice president of the H. J. Heinz Company, who is now in Turkey, as representative of the American Food Commission in food relief work in Southeastern Europe, and Clifford S. Heinz of this city. He is also survived by two brothers, John H. Heinz of Atlanta Ga., and P. J. Heinz of Lake Geneva, Wis., and by three sisters, Miss Mary A. Heinz, and Mrs. Sebastian Mueller of this city and Miss Henrietta D. Heinz, who for the past 15 years has made her home with her brother at "Greenlawn."
A Noted Figure.
If nothing else had ever happened to advertise Pittsburg to the whole world, that would have been accomplished by the gigantic operations of Henry John Heinz and associates who have at various times added to the name of the founder of the house the word "company."
However, since the very small beginnings at Sharpsburg his was always the dominating and ultra-fertile mind, though he would have at all times objected to the word "domination" as it was a spirit that pervaded his work from the beginning that all connected with the establishment which grew to such colossal proportions.
The story of this great company started by Mr. Heinz alone in 1869, in one room of a little two-story house in Sharpsburg, and regardless of the fact that he had as partners at times two of his brothers, the "company" was all the time practically Henry John Heinz, and he alone.
Although his relations with his partners were always of the pleasantest character, there were reasons why some of them, not the brothers, preferred not to continue as partners; and in later years it was said by the general public that all of the partners were his sons and old and trusted employees, taken in according to a policy pursued at all times by the master mind; and the interests held by all others except Mr. Heinz were negligible, as it was said by persons on the inside of affairs.
How He Started.
The story of the company is the life story of Mr. Heinz, one of the most remarkable of business romances ever occurring in all the world. His forbears were persons of official note, as well as producers of good wine, far back in the beginning of the seventeenth century.
His father, Henry Heinz, was born in Kahlstadt, Bavaria, the town and kingdom of those older ancestors, and came to this country and this city in 1840, settled in "Birmingham," on the South Side, and engaged in the making of bricks. In 1843 he married Anna Margaretta Schmitt, who had recently come from Germany, and a little more than a year later the boy was born who was called Henry John, and who was destined to become one of the great figures of the world. All his life Mr. Heinz gave eloquent witness to the immeasurable influence for good and thrift instilled in him by his father and mother.
Removal of the family to Sharpsburg was made in 1850, and the elder Heinz, while continuing the making of bricks, added the business of contracting for the putting of those bricks into building. Meantime, almost in his childhood, the parents were giving devoted attention to the intellectual nurture of the boy, and with true thrift, and looking to his future, they had him as a boy assist in the cultivation of a garden which was attached to their Sharpsburg home and which later became famous as the foundation for the production of the noted and much advertised varieties of sauces, condiments, etc.
Step by Step.
Boy as he was, Henry saw the opportunity to turn an honest penny supplying a want in the matter of table delicacies. He began with horse radish which he dressed in a new way, put it in bottles and peddled it in a basket carried on his arm. Then he used a barrow, and as the product of his garden multiplied in bulk and variety, a horse and cart became a necessity, and instead of depending on individual sales to families he began to sell to groceries, all of his goods bearing a special mark invented by himself, and making for fame.
The rapid growth of the business of young Heinz, the addition of more and more land to the "garden," the creation of new and good things for the tables of those who knew good things, yet more and more land, more space for preparation and putting up of the delicacies in attractive forms, genius in advertising, the big house in Second Avenue and then the bigger house, and then the beginning of the wonderful house on the North Side which came to be one of the show houses for visitors from every part of the world, demand the space of volumes, which will undoubtedly be written from notes, which so methodical a man took voluminously, and who possibly dictated the whole matter in an autobiography which will one day be given to the public as one of the most remarkable of stories of human effort and human success and the acquirement of vast wealth in an exceptional business where no one man in a million would have succeeded.
No man could have a finer monument than that wonderful institution on the North Side, with its many branches, in this and other countries, with its model care and accessories of reception rooms, bath rooms for male and female employees.
At the last available census of the Heinz holdings and doings, some time prior to the death of this exceptional man, the North Side establishment had more than 4,600 employees and there were no fewer than 22 acres of floor space; there were a score of branch factories, 71 salting houses, about 40,000 acres of land under cultivation, 40,000 people assisting in harvesting the crops, 45 distributing centers, 400 traveling salesmen in various parts of the world, this and much more from the small beginning of a single room in a little two-story building in the suburban borough of Sharpsburg, which put into shape for the tables of a few, instead of the tens of millions who now use the Heinz product, the horse radish in the little garden to the rear of the house of the father of Mr. Heinz.
At more than a dozen places in the United States, and at many points in foreign countries, gardens were established amid the most fertile lands that in the event of the crop failing in one place, it would be prolific in another, and, for convenience in shipping, establishments for the preparation and bottling or canning, or otherwise encasing the finished product were erected.
His Social Life.
In this hour of the loss of Mr. Heinz to the community and the world, however, it is to speak of the man rather than of his vast business achievements. He was united in marriage September 23, 1869, to Miss Sallie Sloan Young, a daughter of Robert and Sallie Sloan Young of a prosperous family of County Down, Ireland, members of the Presbyterian Church. She was an ideal helpmate, and for a little more than a quarter of a century, until her death in 1894, several children having been born to them, their home life was the most beautiful imaginable; and the severest blow ever received by Mr. Heinz, as he often said to his intimate friends, was the loss to him of a woman always of the most cheerful and vivacious temperament, entering with enthusiasm into all his plans, ever helpful in suggestions, often with him in his many travels abroad.
His vast collection was marvelous in variety, and all aside from the beaten track, his unique timepieces and walking sticks with ivory heads of the most delicate carving being a special pride, all of his possessions being works of art, for he had infinite good taste and judgment in this regard.
Mr. Heinz was thoroughly American, and a good story was told of him in this respect. He desired the decoration of his new library, and his attention had been directed to the work of a New York mural artist, which, after careful inspection appealed to him. The artist was given carte blanche to do the work in the absence of Mr. Heinz in Europe. Months after when he returned the artist had practically completed his labors, as he thought, and Mr. Heinz turned his critical eyes on the decorations.
An American Always.
Among other things, there were many ovals in the frieze containing portraits, and Mr. Heinz inquired as to their personality.
"Well," said the artist, "there is Savonarola, and Michael Angelo and Moliere and Goethe, and--"
"There you may stop," said Mr. Heinz with his ever-kindly smile. "I am an American in every fiber of my body and in every heartbeat. These were very eminent gentlemen, but they did not even know America. Scrape them out and insert a few Americans of the type of Longfellow, Franklin, Whittier, Lincoln, Emerson, our own poets and statesmen. So far as those portraits are concerned, this must be an American room;" and the thing was done accordingly.
Mr. Heinz for long years was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and ever making for the furthering of the interests and progress of Pittsburg and its region. For the reputation of the city he was one of the greatest enthusiasts, and never ceased to laud the glory and the opportunities of the region where he had made so great a success. In all practical religious work he was ever an enthusiast, but never narrow in his views.
For more than a quarter of a century the deceased was a member of the Methodist Protestant Church, was often a delegate to its conferences, a member of the Board of Missions, did a world of work to advance the interests of the Y.M.C.A., bore an active part in all activities of the colleges of the church at Adrian, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo., and was really one of the chief promoters of the latter institution, and donated funds for the erection there of a memorial hall in memory of his wife.
His Charities Many.
For years he was a director of the State Sunday School Association, and last year was elected vice president of that organization.
A visit to Japan in 1901 awakened his interest in the Sunday school missionary work of that country. A suggestion which he made at the international convention at Toronto in 1905 was the beginning of what has developed into a remarkable organized Sunday school movement in Japan.
In 1913, as chairman of the world's Sunday school commission tour of the Orient, he visited in company with other workers, Japan, China, Korea and Russia. On this visit an invitation was received from the Japanese association to hold the convention at Tokio in 1919, which was postponed on account of the war, and since its date had been set for October, 1920, Mr. Heinz had taken a great interest in the preparations for the meeting.
Because of his interest in art and antiquities he was named, a few years ago, honorary curator of ivories, timepieces and textiles of the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburg.
He was one of the founders of the Western Pennsylvania Exposition Society, was always a director and in 1897 was elected president, but declined to accept the office on account of his many other responsibilities. He was one of the leading influences in devising and promoting the Greater Pittsburg movement, which led to the enactment of the Greater Pittsburg law. He was one of the promoters in the organization of the Central Accident Insurance Company and was for years an officer, and was also a director in several banks.
No fairer, franker man in business affairs ever lived. Aside from his epigram that every successful business must be "run by heart power," he had another memorable saying: "Make all you can honestly, save all you can prudently, give all you can wisely." He made every one connected with his many great establishments feel that in him they had a friend. He gave liberally but wisely, and in connection with the above motto, he said that "He who enjoys the first two and deprives himself of the latter privilege (that of giving) denies himself the greatest enjoyment of life."
Interest in Employees
Mr. Heinz always kept in close touch with the younger men of the firm and all of the employees of the institution to give them encouragement and enthusiasm, impressing on them and on the heads of departments that it was only by the development of the men in their charge that they themselves would develop, and that this spirit should permeate every department of the business.
Every head of a department was impressed with the wisdom of keeping in close touch and sympathy with those under their direction and the pursuance of this system unified every interest, and from master to the humblest workman and woman there was solidarity, a marching together of the most patriotic and loyal army, such as has been seen in few of the great institutions of the world. It was one of Mr. Heinz's most gratifying thoughts that no strike had ever occurred in connection with his industry.
It was always his theory that if employers would follow the method of keeping in close and sympathetic touch with the employed, the most serious of labor disputes would melt away as frost in the bright sunlight of spring, and that all would be settled in friendship and amity.
With this idea he instituted a system of daily meetings at which the younger members of the firm, principally his own sons, and the heads of departments would discuss not only their own work, but would hear in the most friendly way any suggestions or criticisms from any rank of the employees. Moreover, he established an annual convention at which all the branch house managers and foremen would meet at the assembly hall of the main house and discuss all matters pertaining to the business.
In His Business.
Added to these business phases of the great industry were elaborate means for the comfort and enjoyment of all connected with him. He instituted a lecture hall, library, bathrooms, lunch rooms, roof garden, wholesome vaudeville and minstrel entertainments for which he would employ some of the best professional talent. In the gallery he had hundred of landscapes and historical pictures, and in the library most of the classics and better works of modern fiction and poetry.
Mr. Heinz was fond of that travel which was most instructive and which gave him opportunity for acquirement of those curios and works of art of which he was so fond. Few places in Europe that were worth seeing escaped him, and he made extensive tours in Egypt, Palestine, Mexico, Bermuda and West Indies, in all of which countries and in all of his visits he enriched his remarkable collection.
At the time of his death, Mr. Heinz was vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Exposition Society, director of the Union National Bank, Western Insurance Company and of the Chamber of Commerce; chairman of the commission to devise means to protect Pittsburg from floods; director of the Pittsburg Tuberculosis Sanatorium, West Penn Hospital; president of the Pennsylvania State Sunday School Association. He was a member of the Duquesne, Pittsburg and Oakmont Country Clubs.