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Beech-Nut's roots go back to 1891, to the Mohawk Valley town of Canajoharie, New York. Raymond P. Lipe, along with his friend John D. Zieley and their brothers, Walter H. Lipe and David Zieley, and Bartlett Arkell, founded The Imperial Packing Co. with the production of Beech-Nut ham. The product was based on the smoked hams of Raymond and Walter's father, farmer Ephraim Lipe. The company's principal products were ham and bacon for the first seven years. David and John Zieley sold their shares to the Lipe brothers in 1892.
The company was incorporated as the Beech-Nut Packing Company in 1899. In 1900, the company's sales were $200,000. Engineers from Beech-Nut patented the first vacuum jar with a design that included a gasket and top that could remain intact in transit and became a standard of the industry .
During the first 25 years of the 20th century, the company expanded its product line into peanut butter, jam, pork and beans, ketchup, chili sauce, mustard, spaghetti, macaroni, marmalade, caramel, fruit drops, mints, chewing gum, and coffee.
- 1891, founded as the Imperial Packing Company.
- 1910, Beech-Nut Chewing Gum line launched by director Frank Barbour
- 1956, Life Savers Limited merged with Beech-Nut. 
- 1968, Beech-Nut Life Savers merged with Squibb (part of the Olin Corporation) to form the Squibb Beech-Nut Corporation.
- 1973, part of the company, selling only baby food, was sold to a group led by lawyer Frank C. Nicholas.
- 1977, Beech-Nut Food Corporation became the first baby food company to have an entire product line without added salt.
- 1979, Nicholas sold the baby food company to Nestlé.
- 1981, Nabisco Brands Inc. acquired Life Savers (which includes the Beech-Nut candy line) from the E.R. Squibb Corporation.
- 1987, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation paid US$2.2 million, then the largest fine issued, for violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by selling artificially flavored sugar water as apple juice. John F. Lavery, the company's vice president for operations was convicted in criminal court and sentenced to a year and a day in jail; Niels L. Hoyvald, the president of the company, also convicted, served six months of community service. Each of them also paid a $100,000 fine.
- 1989 Ralston Purina acquired Beech-Nut from Nestlé.
- 1997, all Beech-Nut products now free of added refined sugar.
- 1998, Milnot Holding Corporation, one of the portfolio of companies owned by the private equity investment firm Madison Dearborn Partners, acquired Beech-Nut from Ralcorp Holdings (a spin-off of Ralston Purina). A potential merger with H.J. Heinz Co. was successfully challenged by the Federal Trade Commission and never consummated.
- 2002, Beech-Nut became the first baby food manufacturer to produce a line of baby food with DHA and ARA, two essential fatty acids found naturally in breast milk.
- 2005, Madison Dearborn sold Milnot, and Beech-Nut along with it, to the Swiss branded consumer-goods firm Hero Group.
- 2007, Beech-Nut announced its intentions to move all of its manufacturing and corporate operations to the town of Florida, New York.
- Business Finance The Management Approach, Richards C. Osborn, pages 524-526
- TIME Magazine, June 18, 1956: CORPORATIONS: New Wrapper
- Traub, James (July 24, 1988). "Into the Mouths of Babes". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-28. "It is well within the reach of most white-collar criminals to assume an air of irreproachable virtue, especially when they're about to be sentenced. But there was something unusually compelling about the bearing of Niels L. Hoyvald and John F. Lavery as they stood before Judge Thomas C. Platt of the United States District Court in Brooklyn last month - especially in light of what they were being sentenced for. As president and vice president of the Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation, Hoyvald and Lavery had sold millions of bottles of apple juice that they knew to contain little or no apple juice at all - only sugars, water, flavoring and coloring. The consumers of this bogus product were babies."
- Official website
- The Story of a Pantry Shelf: An Outline History of Grocery Specialties. New York: Butterick Publishing Co., 1925.
- An excerpt about Beech-Nut, from The Story of a Pantry Shelf, via the Library of Congress website
- Beech-Nut and Life Savers in Canada, from an Industry Canada website
- Frank C. Nicholas biography, 1970s-era co-owner of Beech-Nut
- Milnot Holding Corporation
- Madison Dearborn Partners