The Campbell Soup Company is of special interest as one of New Jersey's leading manufacturing establishments and also as an outlet for much of the State's agricultural produce. Organized in 1869 as a canning and preserving establishment, the Campbell plant at one time produced 2.00 different articles, but more recently has specialized in canned soups, beans, and spaghetti.
Campbell was the first to introduce condensed soups in America. From the very beginning, one of the problems was to educate the American people to the advantages of soup as a regular diet, since soup did not occupy an important place in the American menu.
The Campbell plant, which embraces 19 acres of floor space, has been at Camden since its origin, although a new plant is now being built in Chicago. Over 30,000 carloads of ingredients, containers, and finished products move in and out of this plant in a year.
The production of soup began in 1898 and has been constantly increasing, until now there is an output of 500,000 cans every hour during the busy season, or an amount equal to that placed on the market during the first year.
Agricultural laboratories and farms are maintained at convenient points in New Jersey for the development and propagation of choice varieties of tomatoes, celery, asparagus, and other garden vegetables. One year's pack of tomato soup requires 50,000 acres in tomatoes alone.
The tomatoes are "handled" without hands, are turned into running water, and go through several washings of hot and cold water. Imperfect specimens are removed, and the perfect fruit is carried by a chain of porcelain-lined conveyors to the cooking caldrons of solid nickel. Skin, seeds, and core fiber are removed by electrically driven colanders, leaving only the pure juice. The soup then goes to stations where sanitary cans are filled, closed, and hermetically sealed, after which they are sterilized by superheated steam.
The products of Campbell's are quite varied. There are 2.1 kinds of soups manufactured, including vegetable purees, meat soups, and clear soups, besides beans and spaghetti. The Franco-American Food Company is operated as a subdivision, producing 14 different soups and canned spaghetti.
New Jersey: Life, Industries and Resources of a Great State, 1928, page 299-300.