John R. Arbuckle

John R. Arbuckle

Death 27 Mar 1912 (aged 72)
New York, USA
Burial Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot Section 16 Lot 179 Grave 1
Memorial ID 46288925 · View Source
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"John Arbuckle, the son of a well-to-do cotton-mill proprietor of Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, combined a penchant for invention with promotional genius to revolutionize the United States coffee industry in the late 19th century.

Arbuckle was born on July 11, 1839 in" (according to his obituary from the New York Times, Mr. Arbuckle was born in Scotland and was brought over by his Scot-Irish parents at an early age). "Allegheny City. He spent his boyhood there and in 1856 enrolled in Washington and Jefferson College at Washington, Pennsylvania. But business beckoned and he left college to join his brother and uncle in a wholesale grocery business in Pittsburgh. He received his first patent in 1868—the same year he married Mary Alice Kerr—for a process of coating green coffee beans with a gelatinous mixture of Irish moss, isinglass, gelatin, white sugar and eggs to preserve their taste and aroma. According to Arbuckle, the gelatinous matter would also act as a "clarifying-agent when the ground coffee has been boiled in water." Subsequent improvements in designs of roasters allowed him to use only sugar and eggs.

The use of a machine which filled, weighed, sealed and labeled coffee in paper packages similar to small bags of peanuts enabled Arbuckle to establish a market for convenient, reliable coffee. "Ariosa" coffee, a blend of hearty Rios and milder Santos beans, became the first successful national brand of packaged coffee in the United States. Other brands might be cheaper, but Arbuckle's was always considered superior, particularly among westerners.

The successful sales of pre-packaged coffee allowed Arbuckle to open a second office in Brooklyn, New York. It was the beginning of an entrepreneurial empire, Arbuckle Brothers, that eventually included branches in Kansas City, Chicago, Brazil and Mexico as well as ownership of sugar plantations and a fleet of seagoing vessels to move the coffee beans from field to factory.

By 1891 Arbuckle was a multimillionaire; his company was the leader in the United States coffee market, and needed large quantities of sugar.

To acquire it at competitive prices, Arbuckle's had to break up the sugar trust dominated by the Havemeyer families' American Sugar Refining Company, which was not hesitant about determining market prices and destroying those who did not adhere to their policies. During the trade war between the two industry giants, Arbuckle's opened a sugar refinery in Brooklyn and Havemeyer acquired major interest in a rival coffee company. By the time Havemeyer admitted defeat, losses by the two firms were estimated at $25 million.

Arbuckle's advertised with trading cards and folksy colored handbills. A coupon bearing Arbuckle Brothers' signature and redeemable for household goods was placed on every package. A peppermint stick tucked inside the paper bag sweetened the deal. American homes, especially in the west, took on an Arbuckle's décor as consumers traded coupons for silverware, china, towels and curtains.

Arbuckle Brothers introduced Yuban coffee in 1913, a year after John Arbuckle's death. The special blend had been his favorite, served only at his annual Christmas dinner or given to friends as gifts. Today, Arbuckle's "Ariosa" coffee, complete with the original Flying Angel trademark and a piece of peppermint candy in the bag, is again available on the Internet."
JACQUELINE B. WILLIAMS "Culinary Biographies"

Yuban Coffee
Arbuckle invented the original Yuban blend in 1905. The name "Yuban" derives from Arbuckle's Yuletide Blend, in which he used only the best South American beans. According to Yuban Coffee Company, Arbuckle put careful consideration into choosing the beans for his Christmas coffee by looking among the newest shipments so the coffee would be fresh. This holiday blend was only available to dinner guests and as a gift to close friends until 1912, when it was finally made available to the public after Arbuckle's death.

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  • Created by: dsking
  • Added: 3 Jan 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 46288925
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John R. Arbuckle (11 Jul 1839–27 Mar 1912), Find A Grave Memorial no. 46288925, citing Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by dsking (contributor 46568972) .