Wolf Brand Chili
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History of the brand
In 1895, Lyman T. Davis of Corsicana, Texas sold "Lyman's Famous Chili" for five cents a bowl from the back of a wagon parked on the streets in downtown Corsicana, usually in front of the Blue Front Saloon on Beaton Street. Davis later began canning his chili and marketing it in the immediate area, produced by his company, Lyman's Pure Food Products. It was about that time that he adopted the brand name "Lyman's Famous Wolf Brand Chili," a name in honor of his pet wolf, Kaiser Bill.
In 1924, Lyman sold the Wolf brand to J. C. West and Fred Slauson who began expanding the area of distribution for the chili beyond Corsicana. Salesmen drove distinctive can-shaped trucks labeled with the chili's name, sometimes with Davis' pet wolf in a cage in the back. The vehicle not only provided practical transportation for company salesmen but also was an effective mobile advertisement for their products.
During World War II, families from Texas sent cans of chili to their sons in service. As demand increased after the war, the factory added chili products such as hot dog sauce, turkey with beans and lean beef chili.
In 1950, Fred Slauson, a gifted artist, sold his half of the company to Doyle and James West then moved to New Mexico to paint. In 1954 the Corsicana company expanded into interstate markets, having previously distributed its products only in Texas.
In 1957 Quaker Oats of Chicago purchased Wolf Brand from then owners Doyle and James West. Quaker Oats continued to operate the Corsicana plant, continuing to use Davis's original recipe. In 1977 Wolf Brand, along with other chili manufacturers, successfully lobbied the Texas legislature to have chili proclaimed the official "state food" of Texas.
In an effort to consolidate its operations, Quaker Oats closed the Corsicana plant in 1985 and merged its operations with another subsidiary, Stokley-Van Camp, in Dallas. ConAgra acquired Van Camp's and Wolf Brand from Quaker Oats in 1995.
Davis died in 1954, Slauson in 1962, and West in 1963. All three are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Corsicana. Doyle and Doris Newton West had two sons and a daughter: Conan Doyle West, Patricia Ann West and Jay Conrad West. James and Lois Toone West had three daughters, Dianne Sherrard West, Joanne Tinkle West and Bonnie Rebecca West. Doyle died in 1997 and James died in 2002.
- Tommy Stringer (2010). Corsicana. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 36–37. ISBN 9780738578781. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
- Mary Ellen Snodgrass (2016). World Food: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture and Social Influence from Hunter Gatherers to the Age of Globalization: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture and Social Influence from Hunter Gatherers to the Age of Globalization. Routledge. ISBN 9781317451600. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
- Dean Fearing (2014). The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes to New Classics. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 9781455574315. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
- Tommy W. Stringer (15 June 2010). "Wolf Brand Chili". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
- "ConAgra To Buy Two Quaker Oats Businesses". AP News. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
- Alan C. Elliott (2016). Texas Ingenuity: Lone Star Inventions, Inventors & Innovators. Arcadia Publishing. p. 119. ISBN 9780738503561. Retrieved 27 June 2018.