By: Sarah Rice, Corporate Archivist
For well over a century, we’ve made our foods with high-quality, authentic ingredients from around the world. By the early 1930s, we were also distributing our foods internationally, partnering with brokers, vendors and independent distributors in cities, remote villages and tropical islands to sell, and sometimes make, soups in Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
To document our growth, in 1932 we sent a photographer around the globe
His mission was to capture images from these exotic, far-flung places many Americans had never seen or even heard of. And for good reason.
Back then, the hazards of air travel were far greater than figuring out how to reserve your seat online.
Modern commercial flights had come into their own during the 1930s, as wooden planes were replaced by those newfangled metal ones that could reach speeds of 200 m.p.h. and cruising altitudes of 13,000 feet.
But turbulence could suddenly cause those planes to drop several hundred feet through the air with little to no warning, resulting in extreme temperature fluctuations and often even requiring the intrepid passengers to use oxygen devices to keep breathing.
Don’t know about you, but I’d pass on that trip.
Only a handful of airlines existed, and forget non-stop flights; today’s 12-hour flight from London to Singapore, for example, would have taken a gruelling eight days, with a mind-boggling 22 refuelling layovers.
The cost was another barrier, which no frequent flyer miles could offset. A roundtrip ticket from New York to Los Angeles could run upwards of $300 – nearly half of the $650 price tag on a new car, and a full 15% of the average annual U.S. salary at the time.
But these 85-year-old visual records are simply priceless. The photographer’s remarkable images capture a breathtaking snapshot of the people, places, and natural beauty in which our products could be found.
They also herald the rich tradition Campbell is proud to still carry on today: a heritage of delicious, nutritious, real foods, made with the most delicious, top-quality ingredients—we believe real food should be accessible to all.