Celebrating 150 Years Of The Campbell's Soup Company

Stacked Vintage Campbell's Tomato Soup Cans

The Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) will celebrate its 150th anniversary of being in business in 2019. Founded in 1869 as the Joseph A. Campbell Preserve Company in Camden, New Jersey by fruit merchant Joseph Campbell and icebox maker Abraham Anderson, it wasn't until 1897 that the company developed and began selling the condensed soups that would come to define the company's brand in the United States and the world.

What made Campbell's soups successful was the condensing process that John T. Dorrance developed in the late 1890s, which removed water from soup without removing flavor, where home cooks could simply add water to the company's new concentrated soup product and then heat it to be served. That innovation allowed Campbell's to use much smaller cans for their soup, which also made their soup more affordable to produce and ship, not to mention for consumers to buy. Previously, the company's uncondensed soups had cost consumers 30 cents for a large can, where its new condensed soup products, which were capable of making an equivalent amount of soup, could be sold profitably for just 10 cents a can.

In 1898, Campbell's introduced the red and white labels that became the company's trademark for its line of condensed soups, which included Tomato, Consommé, Vegetable, Chicken, and Oxtail. Of these first five soups, Tomato became the company's most iconic product, wherein 2010, Andy Warhol's painting of a single can of Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup sold at auction for over $9 million.

Today, Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup is the company's second-biggest seller, with the company's ubiquitous Chicken Noodle soup having claimed the top spot in the years since its introduction in 1934 when it was originally rolled out as "Chicken with Noodle" soup. [On a side note, it became definitively named "Chicken Noodle" when famous radio performer Freeman Gosden flubbed the company's chosen name for the product, calling it "Chicken Noodle" on air. The company quickly adopted "Chicken Noodle" as the name of its newest soup, and the rest, as they say, is history.]

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