Sunday, July 17, 2022

William Underwood Company

The William Underwood Company sold quality canned foods to working-class city dwellers and westward-bound pioneers from its Boston factory since 1822. The Underwood Food Company was founded in Boston by William Underwood (1787–1864). The best-known product of the company is Underwood Deviled Ham, a canned meat spread.

Before moving to the United States, William Underwood worked as an apprentice at Mackey & Company in London, bottling food and exporting it to South America. He moved to the United States in 1817, arriving at New Orleans.

When the company was founded in 1822, it had specialized in producing condiments, such as mustard and ketchup in glass bottles. By 1836, Underwood shifted his packing from glass to steel cans coated with tin on the inside because glassmakers in the Boston area could not keep up with product demands from the canning company. Underwood moved to canning pickled vegetables and persevere fruits. His canned foods then made their way west with pioneers and across Civil War battlefields with Union soldiers.

The William Underwood Company in 1868 they began offering deviled ham as a canned meat spread. The famous devil logo, a nod to the “deviled” product inside and thought to be the oldest food trademark still in use for a prepackaged food product in the country, came along in 1870.

They eventually found their niche in 1898 when they first began canning spiced meats. In 1895, William Lyman Underwood, the founder’s grandson began working with an MIT biologist, Samuel Cate Prescott, on food preservation. Since then, they have been a pioneer in the food science and food preservation fields even partnering with MIT to develop and implement new ways to preserve food.
William Underwood Company

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