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12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Campbell's Soup

It's more than just soup, y'know!

150 years ago, Campbell Soup Company was born from a simple idea — to make delicious and affordable food accessible to all. 150 years later, they remain true to that vision. Generations of home cooks have made Campbell food, snacks, and recipes part of their family's daily and holiday food traditions.

1. Campbell Soup Company is 150 years old this year.

It was founded in 1869 — that's four years after the end of the Civil War! Here are a few other things that also happened that year: the Transcontinental Railroad was finished, the Periodic Table of Elements was invented, and the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first professional baseball team in the US. In other words, this company has been around for a looooooooooong time.

2. It started as a jelly company.

Well, kind of. Joseph Campbell was a fruit vendor. His partner, Abraham Anderson, was in the canning business. Campbell and Anderson started off selling canned veggies, fruit preserves and butters, mincemeat, ketchup, and other condiments (hopefully not all in the same can).

3. Without Campbell Soup Company, we probably wouldn't love soup as much as we do.

John T. Dorrance, a chemist and the nephew of the then-president, invented condensed soup in 1897. It's basically soup with about half the water (the heaviest ingredient in soup). Then, late-19th-century soup-lovers just had to add some water to get a bowl of soup. This revolutionized the game and made it a lot easier and cheaper for people to have delicious soup whenever they wanted!

4. Legend has it that the classic red and white design of the Campbell's soup can was inspired by Cornell University's football uniforms...

A company executive, Herberton Williams, attended a Cornell football game and was so struck by the visibility of the team's new red and white uniforms that he suggested the new color scheme for the soup can. And thus, an icon was born.

5. ...and the little bronze medallion on the front of the can is an actual medal that Campbell won at the Paris World's Fair in 1900.

If your soup company won a medal, wouldn't you want everyone to know about it?

6. Campbell is probably the only company that could make vegetable juice cool.

In 1948, Campbell acquired a vegetable juice company called V8. Thanks in part to their iconic "Wow, I could've had a V8!" ad campaign in the 1970s, Campbell turned the vegetable juice into a healthy snack option, and V8 became (and still is) the #1 vegetable juice in the US.

7. They make your favorite cookies...

In 1937, Margaret Rudkin founded Pepperidge Farm when her son's doctor suggested he eat more wholesome foods to help with his allergies. Unable to find a wholesome bread, she started baking her own. Margaret's bread was not only healthier, but it was also delicious! In 1961, Campbell bought Pepperidge Farm, and Margaret became the first woman on the company's board of directors.

8. ...and your favorite fish-shaped cheese crackers!

Margaret traveled to Switzerland in 1962, and she found a cracker made by Kambly, a Swiss company. It was shaped like a fish because the founder's wife was a Pisces. She promptly brought the recipe back to Pepperidge Farm! In Switzerland, Kambly still manufactures "Goldfish — The Original" crackers.

9. The Campbell test kitchen invented the Green Bean Casserole.

In 1955, a Campbell test kitchen chef, Dorcas Reilly, invented the classic holiday dish. It's a quick, easy side dish that uses only six ingredients and can be prepared in 10 minutes. Nearly 65 years later, it's still one of the most popular holiday dishes, found on Thanksgiving Day tables across the country. In fact, Green Bean Casserole recipes were viewed more than 6 million times last holiday season!

10. The company never tried to sue Andy Warhol for his Campbell's Soup Can paintings. In fact, they kinda liked them!

In the early '60s, pop artist Andy Warhol exhibited his now-iconic paintings of Campbell's Soup cans. Campbell sent a lawyer to the exhibit to determine if any trademarks had been infringed upon. After reviewing their lawyer's opinion, the company decided they were OK with their flagship product becoming a timeless work of art. Years later, the company even commissioned a piece of Warhol's art as a gift for a retiring board member!

11. Campbell and Lassie were basically BFFs.

Campbell Soup Company was the sole sponsor of Lassie for its entire TV and radio run from 1954–1971. In fact, Campbell's first television commercial ran during an episode of Lassie!

12. You probably have a ton of Campbell Soup Company products in your pantry right now!

You definitely have some Campbell's soup in your pantry. You might also have some Pepperidge Farm cookies, Goldfish crackers, SpaghettiOs, Kettle Brand or Cape Cod potato chips, Snyder's of Hanover pretzels, Prego pasta sauce, Pace salsa, or any of the other dozens of brands in the Campbell family.

Facts and images via Campbell Soup Company.

So here's to Campbell Soup Company for 150 years of making delicious, affordable food that's accessible to everyone!