The Knox Gelatin Co., which specialized in the production of gelatin used in the food, photographic and pharmaceutical industries, started at 4th and Erie streets in Camden in the early 20th century and was originally known as the Landesman Co. The firm was later acquired by Maurice Kind, a German-born brewer who came to America in 1898. Maurice Kind bought into the business, which operated as the Camden Gelatin Company. Kind's son, chemist Paul Adolf Kind, became involved in the business after completing his education. Maurice Kind died in 1915, a few years after a major fire at the gelatin factory in 1912.
The fire occurred during the early morning hours of January 30th. The blaze began on the first floor of a factory building at the Camden Gelatin Company at Fifth Street and the Delaware River, North Camden. Box 14 at Fifth and Erie Streets was pulled, also accompanied by a phone alarm. Flames lit up the night sky as second and third alarms were transmitted in rapid succession. Frozen hydrants seriously hampered arriving engine companies and firemen built bon fires under the hydrants to thaw them while other hydrants were sought. At least a dozen master streams surrounded the fire. Collapsing walls produced severe flying embers that started a blaze in the machine shop at the Camden Ship Yard and a third fire in the Troth Warehouse. Fireman Edward Finley of Hook & Ladder Company 1 was overcome by heavy smoke and removed from the scene unconscious. He was transported to West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital where he was revived. By 2 A.M., fire fighters had the fire under control. The gelatin plant owned by Kind and Landesman consisted of an office building and two, two-and-one-half-story factory buildings, all destroyed in the fire. Engine Company 4 remained at the scene until the afternoon, wetting down the smoldering ruins.
Charles Knox bought into the business in 1916, and the firm was then known as Kind & Knox. Kind & Knox became a wholly owned subsidiary of Knox Gelatin in 1955; Knox itself, based in Johnstown, N.Y., was sold to the Lipton Tea Co. in May 1972, which in turn sold it to a German-owned company in 1992.
In its day, Knox Gelatine was as much a presence in American kitchens, and in the culinary repertoire of American housewives, as Campbell's Soup is today.
The Camden plant was a manor employer for many years in North Camden. City government and a local community group, the North Camden Land Trust, both have explored ways to redevelop the site, with lies just west of Pyne Point Park. As of the fall of 2003, action on this project has not commenced.
CAMDEN MEMORIES OF KNOX GELATINE
I am acquainted with a 93 year-old lady who as a young bride moved to Byron Street between 3rd and 4th Streets. She tells me that about 1935 or 1936 the Knox Gel plant was built between 4th and 5th Streets. Everybody that came from that neighborhood called it Knox Gel. To this day I will not eat Jello. I was born right around the corner on Bailey Street. Every few weeks on wash day Knox would have a problem with there combustion controls on there boilers and of course in the 40s and 50s everyone hung wash on the line in backyard. A lot of other wise prime and very proper hose wives had some very nasty things to say about Knox.
John Cianfrani, November 2003
CAMDEN MEMORIES OF KNOX GELATINE
Thank you for the articles on your web site regarding K&K Gel. When I read the article, memories of my late father and his friends came streaming back. My dad (Charlie Jones) worked his entire life at the plant at 1000 North 5th Street. He started when he was 14 years old in 1942 and worked until the second closing by Peter Cooper Corporation in 1981. He knew and worked for Mr. Downey and his son Thomas III.
A few of my other family members worked there - an uncle, a brother-in-law and yes, My landed my first real job there in 1977 (Peter Cooper Corporation) cleaning acid extracted bone out of large battery tanks. I grew up knowing many of the men my father worked with in the Knox days - what wonderful memories. Thank you again for the K&K info on your site.
Chuck Jones, January 2010
Kind & Knox Gelatine Inc.’s roots as a quality gelatine manufacturer stem from the foundation built a century ago by two North American gelatine pioneers --- Charles Knox and Maurice Kind.
Charles Knox founded the Knox Gelatine Company in 1890 in Johnstown, New York. His ambition --- to find an easier way to make gelatine. During this era, people spent hours making gelatine from soup bones. Knox delivered by introducing granulated gelatine convenient for easy mixing.
In addition to his affinity for satisfying his customers needs, Knox quickly became known for revolutionary marketing techniques. From brash slogans to innovative advertising, (he was the first to use airborne advertising), his unorthodox ways earned him the title of the Napoleon of Advertising and a successful business. When he died in 1908, his wife Rose assumed leadership of the largest manufacturer of unflavored gelatine in the world – a very unusual role for a woman in this era. Rose quickly earned the respect of her employees and male counterparts. She also developed a large and loyal following among women nation-wide.
Meanwhile, in nearby New Jersey, Maurice Kind had also built a successful gelatine business. Kind had grown up learning to make gelatine in the family business in Czechoslovakia. Maurice Kind and Rose Knox met at a Grocers Association meeting and the two soon became friends. When Maurice died in 1910, his son Paul assumed leadership of the business and continued the personal friendship with Rose Knox. The friendship blossomed into a business relationship when Knox purchased part interest in the Kind Gelatine plant in 1916. This association proved a savvy move for both families as Knox needed quality gelatine for their product line and Kind needed the marketing expertise the Knox’s could supply. The successful relationship between the Kind & Knox families continued until Mrs. Knox's death in 1950 and Paul Kind's death in 1954.
At this time, the family members assumed management of the operation. Ten years later, the Kind family sold their interests to the Knox family. With the sale came the stipulation that the Kind name continue to be part of the company identification --- as it continues today.
Different uses for gelatine flourished in the 50’s and 60’s and growing demand created a need to increase gelatine production. A new manufacturing facility in Sioux City, Iowa began operations in late 1966.
Six years later, the T.J. Lipton Company purchased the Kind & Knox business and invested in the addition of a new bone gelatine processing plant to respond to surging gelatine demand in the pharmaceutical and photographic industries. The business continued growing in Sioux City. Kind & Knox added a Research and Development department in 1983, enhanced Processing in 1988, and developed a waste recovery operation in 1991.
The following year, DGF Stoess AG, a global gelatine manufacturing company with multinational holdings and more than 100 years of gelatine expertise, purchased Kind & Knox Gelatine. In 1993, Kind & Knox expanded the Quality Control Labs and corporate offices. While Kind & Knox enjoyed a reputation for producing quality gelatine, this quality commitment was affirmed by becoming the first United States gelatine manufacturer to achieve ISO 9001 certification -- an International benchmark for quality.
Two years later, Kind & Knox added a 150,000 square foot warehouse facility and began work doubling the bone gelatine plant capacity. In 1997, the expansion was completed creating the largest single site gelatine manufacturing facility in the world.
Today, Kind & Knox Gelatine is known for producing consistently high quality gelatine products for a host of industrial concerns and uses including edible, pharmaceutical, photographic and technical applications.
|Camden Evening Courier - July 28, 1951|
Workman Injured Seriously in Cave in At Camden Plant
workman was trapped and seriously injured, while two others scrambled to
safety when a seven-foot pipeline trench collapsed Thursday in thee yard
of the Kind & Knox Gelatin Co., Fifth and Erie Streets.
Edwards, 45, of 934 North 2nd Street, was buried up to his
armpits tons of earth when the cave in occurred at 3:00 PM. Doctors at
Cooper Hospital said he suffered several cracked ribs, shock, and
possible internal injuries.
Fire Department Rescue Squad from Fifth and Arch
aided company employees in digging Edwards out after more than ten
minutes of partial entombment
Thomas B. Downey, vice president of the company, said the accident
occurred while a new pipeline in the plant was being laid on the Fifth
side walls undoubtedly were caused to collapse by vibrations set up by
several heavy trucks which were using the street at the time,” Dr,
The two other workmen in the trench with Edwards were not immediately identified, but both scrambled to safety before the crumbling earth caught them.
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