Colorados Small Town Industrial Revolution: Commercial Canning and Preserving in Northeastern Colorado & Colorado's Small Town Industrial Revolution: The Arkansas Valley and Western Slope | Center for Colorad... http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/colorados-small-town-industrial-revolution-commercial-canning-and-preserving[12/7/2015 3:45:22 PM] Home Colorados Small Town Industrial Revolution: Commercial Canning and Preserving in Northeastern Colorado & Colorado's Small Town Industrial Revolution: The Arkansas Valley and Western SlopeColorados Small Town Industrial Revolution: Commercial Canning and Preserving in Northeastern Colorado & Colorado's Small Town Industrial Revolution: The Arkansas Valley and Western SlopeSubmitted by nwharton on 10-31-2013 07:36 AMAuthor: Lee Scamehorn Publishing: Indianapolis, IN: Dog Ear Publishing, 2012. 224 pages. Reviewer: Wayne Sundberg When I was asked to read and review these two books, I was sure I would be struggling with a dry academic topic. Instead I had a wonderful learning experience with a topic both fascinating and esoteric. I will never look at a can of Kuners corn or tomatoes in the same way again. As consumers, we assume those products just magically appear on the store shelves. Scamehorn has tackled a potentially boring subject and has brought it forward in two readable and well-written books. Familiar names like Kuner, Empson, Skyland, and Libby populate the pages of these two books. As Scamehorn points out, local canning companies flourished from the mid-1800s until the latter part of the 1900s. Large out-of-state companies bought them out, so Kuner corn is now distributed by Faribault Foods, Inc., out of Minnesota, with no indication on the label as to where it was processed and canned. The label still acknowledges the founder, Max Kuner, along with his photo and a short paragraph about his Colorado connection. John Kuner started the family business when he pedaled home-canned pickled vegetables door to door in Denver in the 1870s. His younger brother, Maximilian, bought out Johns interest in the Kuner Pickle Works and began extending its reach beyond Denver. The family, operating canning factories in Adams County, turned into one of the dominant names in canned goods, distributing mainly west of the Mississippi. Under Maxs leadership the company became the leading regional manufacturer and distributor of pickles and canned vegetables. (38) Another leader in the northeast Colorado canning industry, and a contemporary of Max Kuner, was John H. Empson. He relocated to the high, dry air of Colorado in 1883 at the insistence of his young daughter Alida to recover from a lung ailment, as many easterners were doing at the time. His first canning plant, on the edge of Longmont, went into operation in July 1889. He eventually built plants in Greeley and Loveland, but left most of the day-to-day operations to Alida, who was an exceptional businesswoman. The merging of Kuner and Empson in 1927 created a kind of canning super-power. Scamehorn makes it clear in both books that the success of the canning industry in all three parts of the state was due to the little people. It was the farmers and farmhands, transportation people, and the seasonal canning workers who would make the industry successful for so many years. They helped the EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanThe Ute people have lived in Colorado longer than anyone else.
Colorados Small Town Industrial Revolution: Commercial Canning and Preserving in Northeastern Colorado & Colorado's Small Town Industrial Revolution: The Arkansas Valley and Western Slope | Center for Colorad... http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/colorados-small-town-industrial-revolution-commercial-canning-and-preserving[12/7/2015 3:45:22 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us various canning factories weather poor growing seasons and the other problems that affected the industry. Wages varied from year to year, but the workers stuck with the companies through good times and bad. The first book focuses on the early industry, while the second, concentrating on southeastern Colorado and the Grand Valley, tells the story of later, more modern plants. The second also outlines how many locally created factories were soon bought out by larger companies. They, in turn, were absorbed into larger national companies, like the Libby, McNeil, and Libby Company. A third book is planned in the series. Overall, the books read very nicely. Topic headings within the chapters would have made the story even more readable. The detailed indexes and extensive bibliographies add much to the usefulness of these wellresearched works. The next time you eat a canned pickle, give some thought to what it took to bring it from the field to your table. Kudos to Lee Scamehorn for two fine works. Reviewer Info: Wayne Sundberg, a Michigander by birth, moved to Colorado in 1965. He received a BS in education from Central Michigan University and an MA in history from Colorado State University. He taught world geography, Colorado history, American history, and Fort Collins history at Lincoln Junior High for twentyseven years, as well as teaching Fort Collins history as affiliate faculty to the CSU History Department. For his work on many history projects in Fort Collins and authoring or coauthoring four books on Larimer County history, he is known as Mr. Fort Collins History.