Saturday, June 08, 2019

The invention of condensed soup

Joseph Campbell joined Abraham Anderson as a partner in a tomato canning and preserving firm established in Camden in 1869.

Nearly 20 years later in 1897, Dr. John T. Dorrance (1973-1930), a chemist who was the 24 year old nephew of general manager Arthur Dorrance, joined the company. He agreed to pay for laboratory equipment out his own pocket and accept a salary of $7.50 per week.

He interested in French cuisine, and invented condensed soup, a process that eliminated the water in canned soup. He created five varieties, including tomato, which remains one of the top 10 shelf-stable foods sold in U.S. grocery stores today. His strongly flavored, simple soups blended “English thoroughness and French art,” in the words of Fannie Farmer.

The process lowered the cost for packaging, shipping, and storage, enabling the distinctive red-and white cans of soup to become a staple in most American households when it had previously been a delicacy for the wealthy.

The condensed soups were successful and Dorrance expanded his work, conducting experiments to determine how best to maintain uniformity of flavor and how to reduce waste caused by can spoilage.

The company soon developed twenty-one soups and was selling more than 16 million cans of condensed soup by 1904.
The invention of condensed soup