Henry J. Heinz

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Henry J. Heinz
Henry John Heinz in 1917.jpg
Heinz in 1917
Henry John Heinz

(1844-10-11)October 11, 1844
Birmingham, Pennsylvania, United States
DiedMay 14, 1919(1919-05-14) (aged 74)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Resting placeHomewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh
OccupationBusiness magnate
TitleFounder of H. J. Heinz Company
Sarah Sloan Young Heinz
(m. 1869; died 1894)
F.L. Brown, S.P. Leet, Reverend J.G. Holdcroft, Marion Lawrence, Henry John Heinz, and Bishop Joseph Crane Hartzell in 1917

Henry John Heinz (October 11, 1844 – May 14, 1919) was an American entrepreneur who founded the H. J. Heinz Company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was born in Birmingham, Pennsylvania, the son of German immigrants who came independently to the United States in the early 1840s. Heinz developed his business into a national company which made more than 60 food products; one of its first was tomato ketchup. He was influential for introducing high sanitary standards for food manufacturing. He also exercised a paternal relationship with his workers, providing health benefits, recreation facilities, and cultural amenities. Heinz was the great-grandfather of former U.S. Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania and, as part of the extended family of the Trumps, a second cousin of Frederick Trump and second cousin twice removed of Donald Trump.

Early life and education[edit]

Henry John Heinz was born in Birmingham, Pennsylvania on October 11, 1844, the son of German immigrants John Henry Heinz (1811–1891), of Kallstadt, Palatinate, Kingdom of Bavaria, and Anna Margaretha Schmidt (1822–1899), of Kruspis, Haunetal, Hesse-Kassel.[1] His father immigrated to the United States at age 29 in 1840, his mother at age 21 in 1843. They were married December 4, 1843, in Birmingham, Pennsylvania, on the south side of Pittsburgh, where they first met.[1][2] Anna Schmidt was the daughter of a Lutheran minister; John Heinz was also Lutheran.[1][2]

Heinz was raised and confirmed as a Lutheran.[3] Later in life he also worshipped as a member of Methodist and Presbyterian churches, and worked closely with Baptists as well.[1]

Through his mother's family, Henry Heinz was a second cousin to Frederick Trump, who emigrated to the United States in 1885.[4][failed verification] Trump was the immigrant ancestor and paternal grandfather of Donald Trump of New York City.[3]

H. J. Heinz Company[edit]

Henry John Heinz began packing foodstuffs on a small scale at Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1869. There he founded Heinz Noble & Company with a friend, L. Clarence Noble, and started marketing packaged horseradish. The company went bankrupt in 1875. The following year Heinz founded another company, F & J Heinz, with his brother John Heinz and a cousin, Frederick Heinz. One of this company's first products was tomato ketchup.[citation needed]

The company continued to grow, and in 1888 Heinz bought out his other two partners and reorganized as the H. J. Heinz Company, the name carried to the present day. The company's slogan, "57 varieties," was introduced by Heinz in 1896; by then the company was selling more than 60 different products.[5] Heinz said he chose "5" because it was his lucky number and the number "7" was his wife's lucky number.[6]

H. J. Heinz Company was incorporated in 1905, and Heinz served as its first president, leading in the position for the rest of his life. Under his tutelage, the company was noted for fair treatment of workers and for pioneering safe and sanitary food preparation. He provided his employees with free medical care; recreation facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, and gardens; and educational opportunities such as libraries, free concerts, and lectures. Heinz led a successful lobbying effort in favor of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906. During World War I, he worked with the Food Administration.[7]

He was a director in many financial institutions, and was chairman of a committee to devise ways of protecting Pittsburgh from floods.[7]

At the time of Heinz's death in Pittsburgh at the age of 74, the H. J. Heinz Company had more than 20 food processing plants, and owned seed farms and container factories. Heinz was the grandfather of H. J. Heinz II, the great-grandfather of U.S. Senator H. John Heinz III of Pennsylvania, and great-great grandfather of Henry John Heinz IV, André Thierstein Heinz and Christopher Drake Heinz. Another relative is Teresa Heinz-Kerry, widow of H. John Heinz III, who is married to ex-senator and former United States Secretary of State John Kerry.[citation needed]

Marriage and family[edit]

Heinz married Sarah Sloan Young Heinz on September 3, 1869.[1] She was of Scots-Irish ancestry and had grown up in the Presbyterian Church. They had five children:[8]

  • Irene Edwilda Heinz-Given (1871–1956)[9]
  • Clarence Henry Heinz (1873–1920)[2]
  • Howard Covode Heinz (1877–1941)
  • Robert Eugene Heinz (1882–1882, lived about 1 month)[2]
  • Clifford Sloan Heinz (1883–1935)

They were raised as Presbyterians.

Heinz was a man of faith. When he visited England, his "tourist stops" included the graves of religious leaders John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, and John Wesley. He visited a chapel that Wesley founded, later writing that "I felt I was upon holy ground."[10] At the beginning of his will Heinz wrote: "I desire to set forth, at the very beginning of this Will, as the most important item in it, a confession of my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior."[11]

A bronze statue of Heinz by Emil Fuchs was dedicated on October 11, 1924 at the Heinz Company building in Pittsburgh.[12]


Heinz died at his home May 14, 1919, after contracting pneumonia. His funeral was at East Liberty Presbyterian Church. He was buried at Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh, in the Heinz Family Mausoleum.[1][2][13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Skrabec, Quentin R. (2009). H.J. Heinz: A Biography. McFarland & Company. pp. 27, 28, 83. ISBN 978-0-7864-4178-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e McCafferty, E. D. (1923). Henry J. Heinz: a biography. p. 20.
  3. ^ a b Dietrich II, William S. (Summer 2008). "H.J. Heinz: Relish success". Pittsburgh Quarterly. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  4. ^ Downes, Lawrence. "Donald Trump: An American Tale".
  5. ^ "Trivia". Heinz. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  6. ^ Rawsthorn, Alice (April 12, 2009). "An Icon, Despite Itself". New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
  7. ^ a b  Reynolds, Francis J., ed. (1921). "Heinz, Henry John" . Collier's New Encyclopedia. New York: P. F. Collier & Son Company.
  8. ^ "Henry J. Heinz". Notable Names Database. Soylent Communications. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  9. ^ https://www.med.upenn.edu/endowedprofessorships/irene-heinz-given-and-john-laporte-given-research-professorship-of-ophthalmology.html. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Alberts, Robert C. (1973). The Good Provider: H. J. Heinz and his 57 Varieties. Houghton Mifflin. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-213-16481-2.
  11. ^ Lee, Richard (2011). In God We Still Trust: A 365-Day Devotional. Thomas Nelson Inc. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-4041-8965-2.
  12. ^ "Henry J. Heinz Memorial, (sculpture)". Art Inventory Archive. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  13. ^ Robinson Library

Further reading[edit]

  • "Henry Heinz and Brand Creation in the Late Nineteenth Century: Making Markets for Processed Food" by Nancy Koehn. The Business History Review, Vol. 73 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 349–393. JSTOR 3116181, reprinted in Koehn, Nancy F. Koehn, Brand New : How Entrepreneurs Earned Consumers' Trust from Wedgwood to Dell (2001) pp 43–90.

External links[edit]

Media related to Henry John Heinz at Wikimedia Commons

Quotations related to Henry J. Heinz at Wikiquote