Pineapple Industry

After 1776: Many botanists believe that a European ship brought the first pineapples to Hawaii after the arrival of Captain James Cook. However, no records of the first pineapple are known to exist.

January 21, 1813: Spanish advisor to King Kamehameha I, Franciso de Paula Marin wrote the earliest known reference of pineapple in Hawaii in his journal: “This day I planted pineapples and an orange tree.”

June 19, 1819: Marin wrote another reference to pineapple: “Today BOQ [Boke, governor of Oahu] was very sick. I sent a minister a barrel of taro, six bottles of lemon-juice, five gallons of vinegar, seven pineapples and a barrel of Poe [poi].”

August 28, 1849 – August 10, 1850: The first pineapples were exported from Hawaii. Twelve-thousand pineapples were shipped from Lahaina, Maui, to California.

1851: Exports increased to 21,310 pineapples, coming from Lahaina, Maui (14,310), Waimea, Kauai, and Niihau (2,000), and Hilo, Hawaii (5,000).

1882: Entrepreneurs Ackerman and Muller in North Kona, Hawaii, attempted the first foray into producing canned pineapples in Hawaii. They prepared the “Wild Kailua” pineapples and canned them by hand, stuck on the labels, and put the cans in crates. They sent samples to The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, which reports the new venture. Agent Theo H. Davies & Company looked for a buyer, but failed. The entrepreneurs gave up.

1901: Without any knowledge of how to can fruits, in 1901, James Drummond Dole established the Hawaiian Pineapple Company and started growing pineapples in Wahiawa, Oahu. A local newspaper called his business a “foolhardy venture,” and his business did operate at a loss initially. However, Dole would not lose money for long.

1907: The 1907 Bankers’ Panic reduced the demand for canned pineapples. Thus, Dole and other local growers coordinated an aggressive national advertising campaign to build brand awareness.

1910s-1920s: Canned pineapple became a culinary fad on the mainland United States, and pineapple recipes were developed for books and newspapers. Housewives prepared pineapple dishes, including the upside down cake.

1911: Dole hired Henry Gabriel Ginaca, a mechanical draftsman for Honolulu Iron Works. He developed the “Ginaca machine,” which performed tasks previously done by hand: peeling, coring, and cutting eighty to one hundred pineapples per minute.  This technological breakthrough still serves as an industry standard today.

1920: The industry invented the eradicator, which removed excess flesh from discarded peels to make juice.

1922: Dole purchased the island of Lanai from Frank and Harry Baldwin. Lanai City was built to house Dole’s plantation employees. At its peak, the “Pineapple Island” would produce over seventy-five percent of the world’s pineapples.

1923: Dole became the largest pineapple packer in the world.

1930-1940: Hawaii dominated the canned pineapple industry. At the industry’s peak in 1935, 8 companies and 3,000 people were canning pineapples.

After 1945: The canned pineapple industry started producing in other countries, including Thailand and the Philippines. These countries offered good growing conditions as well as significantly lower labor costs (American labor made up half the cost of producing pineapple, from $2.64 to $3.69 per hour, while Filipino workers’ hourly wages ranged from $0.08 to $0.24 per hour).

1960s: The Hawaiian industry started to decline as production moved to other countries.

1991: Dole’s Honolulu cannery closed and was converted to an office and retail complex with a movie theater, which is still in use today.

2008: Del Monte moved production outside of Hawaii.

Suggested Search Terms [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.]: pineapple, Dole, Del Monte, canning, juice, plantation

Relevant Historical Articles

Articles from Chronicling America

“A New Industry”
Pacific commercial advertiser, July 22, 1882, Page 3

“Hilo Farmers Discuss the Pineapple Industry”
Hilo tribune, October 30, 1903, Page 2

“The Possibilities in Fruit Culture”
Hilo tribune, January 16, 1906, Page 6

“Pineapple Juice as a National Beverage”
Hawaiian gazette, June 9, 1908, Page 6

“Pacific Island Pineapple: Record Crop of This Year”
Daily capital journal, December 25, 1908, Image 20

“Dole Buys Up Haiku Pine Co.” and “New Pineapple Hui Is Formed”
Evening bulletin, May 21, 1909, Image 1

“The Hawaiian Pineapple”
Hawaiian star, September 13, 1909, Page 9

“What Dole Says of Pineapple Market: Consumption Is Increasing But Not Up with Production”
Evening bulletin, November 30, 1909, Page 4

“Value of Pineapple Juice: Delightful Drink Is Now to Be Had in Convenient Form”
Lincoln County leader, January 13, 1911, Image 8

“Great Increase in Pineapples: Ten Years’ History of New Packing Industry in the Islands Is Remarkable”
The San Francisco call, May 25, 1913, Page 59<

“Pineapple Growers Propose Reduction in Planted Acreage”
Honolulu star-bulletin, July 19, 1913, Page 16

“Chester J. Hunn Tells of Rapid Growth of Pineapple Industry”
Honolulu star-bulletin, March 14, 1914, 3:30 Edition, Page 15

“Packers Dare Not Take All Fruit, Says Dole”
The Maui news, July 18, 1914, Image 1

“Eight Thousand Tons Will Rot: That Quantity of Pineapples Cannot Be Taken by Packers, Says Manager Dole”
The Hawaiian gazette., July 21, 1914, Page 6

“Hawaiian Pineapple Is King for a Day at Home and Abroad”
Honolulu star-bulletin., August 15, 1914, 3:30 Edition, Page 8

“Pineapple Pack of Islands Will Show Heavy Drop”
Honolulu star-bulletin, February 3, 1916, Page 2

“Mainland Market for Hawaiian Pineapples Fine, Says J. D. Dole”
Honolulu star-bulletin, June 22, 1916, SPORTS CLASSIFIED AND SHIPPING SECTION, Page 9

“From Small Start Maui’s Pineapple Pack Grows and Reaches High Figure”
The Maui news, October 22, 1920, Page 12

“U. of H. to Give Pineapple Course”
The Garden Island, March 14, 1922, Image 7


One Comment on “Pineapple Industry”

  1. […] and “She Sang Aloha to Me.” Through Hawaii corporations (e.g. Hawaii Promotion Committee and Hawaiian Pineapple Company), Hawaiian musicians promoted Hawaii around the […]

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