HoneyBaked Ham

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The HoneyBaked Ham Co.
Type Private
Founded  1957 (1957-MM)
Founders Harry J. Hoenselaar
Number of locations 400+
Products Honey Baked Ham® and Turkey Breast, as well as fully cooked entrees, side items and desserts
Website www.honeybaked.com

HoneyBaked Ham is a food retailer founded in 1957 who sell Honey Baked Ham, Turkey Breast and other fully cooked entrées, side items and desserts. HoneyBaked is available at over 400 locations, their mission statement is, “Celebrating life, one meal at a time,”

The company was founded by John Harry Hoenselaar who was born in 1908 in Cheboygan, Michigan. When he was 18, he went to Detroit, where he was hired as a salesman by William Hubenet for his meat company, The Honey Baked Ham Company. It didn't take Harry long to discover he had a knack for properly slicing Ham from the bone, a very tricky process for most of his customers.

In 1936, Harry built a prototype of what was to become the first spiral-slicing machine. Harry created it with a tire jack, a pie tin, a washing machine motor and a knife. Over the next eight years, he built and tested many more slicing machines. He demonstrated one of the earlier machines at the 1939 New York World's Fair. In 1944, he first filed for a patent and then sought out a buyer for his machine among the national meat companies.

However he received no interest, but in 1957 the widow of Harry's former employer, William Hubenet, called and offered him a chance to buy The Honey Baked Ham Company for $500. Harry re-mortgaged his house and opened the doors of his first store in October of 1957.

Harry died in 1974 and was succeeded in the business by his children and grandchildren.

"Honey Baked Ham" is also a fan conspiracy theory reference, from Episode 8, Season 1 of WGNA's groundbreaking original series on the building of the Atomic Bomb, "Manhattan". In the episode, Charlie Issacs makes a man get off the public phone, and hands him money and tells him to buy his wife a "Honey Baked Ham". Fans of the show found the reference to 'Honey Baked Ham' to be curious, since they would not be well-known in Los Alamos during that particular time period. The theory posits that Charlie and the man on the phone are in an even more secret society on the base, probably run by the OSS. And that "Honey Baked Ham" is the codeword, which allowed the man to pass the phone to Charlie, and then watch his back as he made his call.

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