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Henry John Heinz

Henry John Heinz, the condiment king and founder of H. J. Heinz Company had to file for bankruptcy in 1875 as he was unable to meet his payroll obligations.

Henry John Heinz ran a successful condiment business Heinz, Noble and Company selling horseradish, pickles, sauerkraut and vinegar. The company grew and established warehouses in St. Louis and Chicago. However, the profitable venture ended in bankruptcy in 1877 because of an unexpected bumper harvest that overwhelmed the company.  The harvest Heinz had agreed to pay for cost more than the preserves he was selling. Heinz was forced into debt as he kept up payment after payment, draining his resources to pay suppliers and employees.  Heinz was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1875. However, bankruptcy did not hold him back and almost immediately afterwards, Heinz started over as a new company ‘F & J Heinz’, with his brother John Heinz and a cousin Frederick.  They  introduced a new condiment to the market – tomato ketchup.  The company continued to grow, and in 1888 Heinz bought out his other two partners and reorganized the company as the H. J. Heinz Company, the name it carries to the present day. Seventeen years later, in 1905, the structure of the Company was converted to that of a corporation, with Henry John Heinz taking office as president.  Today, Heinz is a $10 billion global company that sells 650 million bottles of ketchup every year.

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