Re: Heinz "Coffin Tank" Pickle Cars

Douglas Harding

Dave Lieder’s book is good, but focuses on the Midwest Pickle and Vinegar production. It does not contain much on production in California.


A map in this 1910 publication shows Heinz had Distributing Warehouses in San Francisco and Los Angeles and Distributing Agencies in Sacramento and San Diego. But all their salting stations and factories were in the upper Midwest and the East. The Coffin cars were used for moving cucumbers from salting stations to factories. You may not see a Heinz coffin car in California. But a lot of cucumbers, including cukes for pickling are raised in California, including the San Joaquin area. That means cukes had to move from salting stations to factories, most likely in vats on flatcars. The coffin cars was one design, used by companies besides Heinz. The covered tanks on a flatcar, ie the Athearn car, was another, used by many companies. Find out who was making pickles in that area, and you may determine what car would be appropriate. Because Athearn make a pickle car, it is most likely Irv saw one from his building and duplicated it, like he did with so many of his cars.


One company operating in LA in 1891 was The Western Manufacturing and Pickle Factory.


Vinegar is another side of the pickle story. I have a copy of a photo of Heinz vinegar car HJHX 200 taken in 1940 in Roseville CA. So Heinz was moving cars in California close to your specified time.


Doug Harding


From: <> On Behalf Of Bill J. via
Sent: Friday, September 25, 2020 4:22 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Heinz "Coffin Tank" Pickle Cars


I found a #83 for sale from Overland in brass.  Wondering if I "need" one for the summer of 1943 in the southern San Joaquin Valley.  I fear they are more of a Midwest than far West car.

Thanks, Eric,

Bill Jolitz

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