In 1825 Ezra Daggett and Thomas Kensett filed for a patent for improving the canning of meat. Below is an excerpt from an account written by the Maryland Bureaus of Industrial Statistics that gives an overview of the canning industry. This industry helped change American's daily lives.
Canning And Packing Industries.
OYSTERS, FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.
According to the best posted authorities on the canning industry in America, the present method of packing oysters, fruits and vegetables was commenced in the United States in the early part of the last century. Mr. E. S. Judge, of The Trade, says in an article written some time since, that the first patent for a tin can for hermetically sealing food was granted to Peter Durand in England in 1810, the patent covering the use of glass, pottery and other material, as well as tin. Ezra Daggett brought the secret of this patent to America between 1815 and 1818, and engaged in the business in New York City in company with Thomas Kensett,and some of the cans used in 1822 are still in possession of the family. Salmon and lobsters were among some of the first goods packed, and oysters were also preserved at that time. In 1825 a patent was granted in this country to Ezra Daggett and Thomas Kensett for an improvement in the art of preserving. Charles Mitchell arrived in Boston from Scotland a little later, about 1820, and entered the employment of the firm of William Underwood & Company to "hermetically seal food." Work in this business was begun in Maryland early in the forties. William Numsen & Sons began work in this business in Baltimore in 1847, and in 1849 they were packing cove oysters. Tomatoes, peaches, pears and other fruits and vegetables were being packed about this time. The widow of Thomas Kensett first sold the secret to Holt & Maltby and others, and from this grew the cove oyster packing business of Maryland. Cove oysters were from coves famous for the size and quality of their oysters, which were located on the west side of the Chesapeake bay, above the Potomac river. Originally all the labor was done by hand, and while this system, to some extent, restricted the output, it proved beneficial in distributing money among the masses, though the price of the product was thereby kept high. Previous to 1850 the cans were made by hand, usually by cutting out the tin blanks with shears, and originally the opening was covered on the flat top by a flat, circular piece of tin, soldered down. Subsequently, machinery took the place of hand labor in the making of cans, and as early as 1849 the "Pendulum" press for making can tops was introduced in Newark, N. J. Lewis McMurray, of Baltimore, was one of the famous firms that grew to be historic in the packing industry in this country. Nathan Winslow, of Portland, is said to have been the first who, commercially, canned sugar corn. The packing of fruits and vegetables grew and extended to California very rapidly, until the industry has grown to such immense proportions that it has become important to every State in the Union, and every farmer in the States. Probably, the greatest development of canneries in Maryland occurred between 1877 and 1885, there being in Harford county, Maryland, alone, at that time, over four hundred.