Topics

Tropicana in the 1950s


Craig Zeni
 

Is there any evidence that prior to their insulated/mechanical cars of the late 1960s that Trop used ice reefers? Bill Welch indicated to me that he thought Trop used FGEX cars; a friend in Lakeland FL thinks he recalls seeing orange cars with Tropic Anna on them in the 50s. It's alluded to in the Wikipedia article (duly taken with a grain of rock salt) that some concentrate was shipped by rail in the 50s (and 60s) but I'm trying to establish if there were Trop-painted cars prior to the mechanicals later of Juice Train fame.

Thanks,

Craig Zeni
Cary NC


Bill Welch
 

Orange Juice concentrate was in a sense a product of WWII in that the people that developed the methodology for concentrating the OJ and quick freezing it had developed the processes and methods by which blood products could be preserved and shipped and stored. Meanwhile an African-American orphan who had learned auto-mechanics developed a portable freezing system and together with venture capitalist formed Thermo-King by 1940 and had their system proved in combat as the military equipped trailers with their system to bring frozen items to the various theaters of operations. At war's end trailer manufacturers were offering Thermo-King equipped trailers that really threatened Fruit Growers' business from Florida especially. This is why they were so active in the development of mechanical reefers as the Orange Concentrate business exploded by the the late 1940's.

Bill Welch


Donald B. Valentine
 


      Respectfully, some of this makes sense and some of it does not, Bill. Why did orange juice concentrate

require refrigeration??? Ideally milk needs to be kept at 39 degrees, which had been achieved in milk tank cars

transported in both freight and passenger trains since the mid-1920's and without the use of refrigeration. Indeed, H.P. Hood was using some of its leased GPEX milk cars to move OJ concentrate from Dunedin, FL to Boston in the early 1970's, some four years after they stopped shipping any milk in some of the same cars.

I do not, however, know the date that Hood began shipping OJ concentrate in the GPEX cars, but this certainly makes me wonder why there was a need for Thermo-King units on cars used for that purpose after W.W. II. Was there a real need for such equipment or only a "perceived" need followed by a good snow, er "sales", job?

 

Cordially, Don Valentine


George Eichelberger
 

We need a Tropicana historian but I am quite sure there never were any ice refrigerators marked as Tropicana. The company started in the late 40s and was barely in the OJ business in the 50s. As late as 1960, they were using their own refrigerated ship to move OJ from Florida to NYC, not the rails. They started buying their own mechanical reefers in the early 1970s.

Tropicana Glass is next door to the juice plant in Bradenton. It was always worth stopping by there in the late 60s and 70s because the ACL had quite a few twin covered hoppers assigned to sand service to the facility. The sand did not tear the cars up so very good photos of ACL covered hoppers were possible for years after the SCL merger.


George Eichelberger
 

During some period, the Florida OJ producers used classic “milk” cars (GPEX?) to ship unfrozen juice concentrate “up north”. Very unusual cars to see in Fla. Does anyone know when that traffic began or ended or where it originated? From a railroad guy, the destination may have been Hoods Dairy in the Boston area. I only saw the car at the ex ACL Lakeland, FL yard so I do not know who the shipper was. There were several juice processors in Central Fla at that time so I do not believe Tropicana ever used that method. The car was in freight, not in passenger express service.


John Barry
 

I doubt shipments to the local Borden's Dairy were by rail pre-1964, but I do recall that we got reconstituted OJ as well as milk delivered in their ubiquitous Elsie adorned refrigerated box trucks in Fort Walton Beach.  Closest rail service would have been to Crestview on the L&N or Pensacola on the Frisco.  Neither with great connections to the central FLA groves.  But the suggestion of Milk Reefers for points north may have traction given the combination of products delivered down south in the period.
 
John Barry


ATSF North Bay Lines
Golden Gates & Fast Freights


707-490-9696


3450 Palmer Drive, Suite 4224
Cameron Park, CA 95682


From: "George Eichelberger geichelberger@... [STMFC]"
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 7:30 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Tropicana in the 1950s

During some period, the Florida OJ producers used classic “milk” cars (GPEX?) to ship unfrozen juice concentrate “up north”. Very unusual cars to see in Fla. Does anyone know when that traffic began or ended or where it originated? From a railroad guy, the destination may have been Hoods Dairy in the Boston area. I only saw the car at the ex ACL Lakeland, FL yard so I do not know who the shipper was. There were several juice processors in Central Fla at that time so I do not believe Tropicana ever used that method. The car was in freight, not in passenger express service.

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Bill Welch
 

I think the need is obvious Don. Since the concentrate was FROZEN, it would thaw w/o refrigeration.

To clarify about the Thermo-King units, their primary application was to truck trailers. FGE built 11 40-foot Thermo-King cars to evaluate. While they were effective at maintaining low temperatures, the power plants were fueled by gasoline meaning that they could only run on the FGE/WFE/BRE System including their contracted lines, as the RR's outside the system would not accept them for interchange because of the fuel  they used. They also built 40-foot cars with Frigidaire systems that ran on diesel fuel and these cars could go anywhere. The Frigidaire systems became the FGE/WFE/BRE System's standard cooling units although they did experiment with other systems. Thermo-King did eventually find or develop a diesel power unit.

Stepping back in history a few years, FGE built 10 50-ft steel overhead bunker cars with ten roof hatches in 1940 cooled by a brine solution as their initial response to transporting frozen commodities. Then beginning in 1944 they began to build eventually 200 50-foot plywood sheathed OHB cars giving them a total of 210 OHB cars by 1946. These cars had a massive fish belly center sill and their door hardware and safety appliances on the sides was recessed into the car's side to meet clearance specs. These cars are unlikely to be confused with anything else on the rails. The last 75 plywood cars had a different more rectangular hatch cover that was hinged near the running board. While effective, they took much longer to ice and re-ice and required more care so as not to damage the bottom of the bunkers—no sharp tools. By 1949 FGE had two 40-foot Mechs in service trials and within months of these successful trials began build more 40-footers, the aforementioned Thermo-King and Frigidaire cars followed in 1950 with trials of 50-foot Mechs. However, in 1950 the FGE Indiana Harbor shops turned out 100 new steel sheathed OHB cars for FGE and 50 copies for WFE, their first and only of the type. These cars used the same roof configuration as the last 75 plywood cars. Although I have not found any correspondence about the rationale for building these cars, my guess is that they were hedging their bets as the Mechanical Systems were still in their early development. I have photos of both the plywood and steel versions in revenue service well into the late 1960's. When re-sheathed the plywood was replace with T&G.

Bill Welch
 


D. Scott Chatfield
 

Craig Zeni wrote:

Is there any evidence that prior to their insulated/mechanical cars of the late 1960s that Trop used ice reefers? Bill Welch indicated to me that he thought Trop used FGEX cars; a friend in Lakeland FL thinks he recalls seeing orange cars with Tropic Anna on them in the 50s. It's alluded to in the Wikipedia article (duly taken with a grain of rock salt) that some concentrate was shipped by rail in the 50s (and 60s) but I'm trying to establish if there were Trop-painted cars prior to the mechanicals later of Juice Train fame.

I was under the impression that Tropicana mostly used intracoastal shipping for their orange juice shipments from Tampa to the Northeast, which would have been most of their business. Maybe that was before WW2, but I thought that was the case into the '70s. But I don't recall seeing any other cars with Tropicana logos in the 1945-1970 period.

Scott Chatfield


Bruce Smith
 

Don,

As Bill has pointed out, the concentrate was frozen and thus needed to be kept frozen.  In addition, the length of the haul was significantly different.  Milk was typically only hauled for a few hours to reach a processing plant whereas Orange Juice would conceivably travel for several days, if shipped by train.

regards
Bruce


Regards

Bruce


Bruce F. Smith            

Auburn, AL

https://www5.vetmed.auburn.edu/~smithbf/


"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."

 

On Jun 20, 2014, at 6:10 AM, riverman_vt@... [STMFC] wrote:

      Respectfully, some of this makes sense and some of it does not, Bill. Why did orange juice concentrate

require refrigeration??? Ideally milk needs to be kept at 39 degrees, which had been achieved in milk tank cars

transported in both freight and passenger trains since the mid-1920's and without the use of refrigeration. Indeed, H.P. Hood was using some of its leased GPEX milk cars to move OJ concentrate from Dunedin, FL to Boston in the early 1970's, some four years after they stopped shipping any milk in some of the same cars.

I do not, however, know the date that Hood began shipping OJ concentrate in the GPEX cars, but this certainly makes me wonder why there was a need for Thermo-King units on cars used for that purpose after W.W. II. Was there a real need for such equipment or only a "perceived" need followed by a good snow, er "sales", job?


caboose9792@...
 

I agree Don,
There is no reason, if anything it defy's reason. Even if the OJ departs frozen it would have to be heated on arrival. Letting the load self cool for the 2-5 days in transit and arrive as a slushy liquid ready to be diluted and bottled.
 
Mark Rickert
 

In a message dated 6/20/2014 10:39:30 A.M. Central Daylight Time, STMFC@... writes:

   Respectfully, some of this makes sense and some of it does not, Bill. Why did orange juice concentrate

require refrigeration??? Ideally milk needs to be kept at 39 degrees, which had been achieved in milk tank cars

transported in both freight and passenger trains since the mid-1920's and without the use of refrigeration. Indeed, H.P. Hood was using some of its leased GPEX milk cars to move OJ concentrate from Dunedin, FL to Boston in the early 1970's, some four years after they stopped shipping any milk in some of the same cars.

I do not, however, know the date that Hood began shipping OJ concentrate in the GPEX cars, but this certainly makes me wonder why there was a need for Thermo-King units on cars used for that purpose after W.W. II. Was there a real need for such equipment or only a "perceived" need followed by a good snow, er "sales", job?

 

Cordially, Don Valentine


caboose9792@...
 

Thank the AAR for that. (interchange rule 2).
Mark Rickert
 

In a message dated 6/20/2014 11:22:00 A.M. Central Daylight Time, STMFC@... writes:
While they were effective at maintaining low temperatures, the power plants were fueled by gasoline meaning that they could only run on the FGE/WFE/BRE System including their contracted lines, as the RR's outside the system would not accept them for interchange because of the fuel  they used.


Bruce Smith
 

Mark,

Dang, maybe I'm getting old, but when I was growing up in upstate NY, we got our orange juice in a cardboard tube with metal ends, frozen solid, at the grocery store.  Thus, the frozen concentrate being shipped was not necessarily for repackaging, but for direct sales to consumers.  As with all frozen food, it has to remain frozen to maintain quality. And even if it was being repackaged, temperature excursions on a food product such as this both can damage the nutritional quality of the food (the big sell for the frozen food industry, which mushroomed post WWII, as did the need for frozen food reefers) and above freezing there is the chance for bacterial and or fungal growth.  Why don't you see that in today's "fresh" OJ?  Ahem, well, try fresh squeezing some OJ and leave it out .  The steam era's OJ was not packaged with the preservatives that today's foods are and thus more care was needed to preserve the food from spoilage.

Regards

Bruce


Bruce F. Smith            

Auburn, AL

https://www5.vetmed.auburn.edu/~smithbf/


"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."

On Jun 20, 2014, at 2:43 PM, caboose9792@... [STMFC] wrote:



I agree Don,
There is no reason, if anything it defy's reason. Even if the OJ departs frozen it would have to be heated on arrival. Letting the load self cool for the 2-5 days in transit and arrive as a slushy liquid ready to be diluted and bottled.
 
Mark Rickert
 
In a message dated 6/20/2014 10:39:30 A.M. Central Daylight Time, STMFC@... writes:

   Respectfully, some of this makes sense and some of it does not, Bill. Why did orange juice concentrate

require refrigeration??? Ideally milk needs to be kept at 39 degrees, which had been achieved in milk tank cars

transported in both freight and passenger trains since the mid-1920's and without the use of refrigeration. Indeed, H.P. Hood was using some of its leased GPEX milk cars to move OJ concentrate from Dunedin, FL to Boston in the early 1970's, some four years after they stopped shipping any milk in some of the same cars.

I do not, however, know the date that Hood began shipping OJ concentrate in the GPEX cars, but this certainly makes me wonder why there was a need for Thermo-King units on cars used for that purpose after W.W. II. Was there a real need for such equipment or only a "perceived" need followed by a good snow, er "sales", job?

 

Cordially, Don Valentine





Donald B. Valentine
 

Com'on Bruce,

 

     Guess I missed any mention Bill made of the concentrate being shipped frozen. That, however, seem like quite a waste of corporate funds. And what does distance have to do with it? Milk was shipped in GPEX milk tank cars from Wisconsin to Florida in the 1920's, taking far more time than the average milk train to Boston, New York or Chicago took, and changed only a degree or two in temperature over the entire journey. If it could be done with milk it could be done with OJ and was for a number of years WITHOUT refrigeration. I'm surprised

Tropicana survived such a waste of corporate funds and wonder what their bottom line would have looked like without such a waste. They apparently took little note of what others had already done.

 

Cordially, Don Valentine


Bill Welch
 

Indeed. While water ice and salt could keep a load well under 32 degrees, researchers found that perishables kept at Zero degrees and under remained viable, tasted better, and retained nutrients several months longer. This did vary with the commodity but all of them benefited from Zero. That trucks could promise this and the RR's could not was a big problem. The truckers ultimately won because they were also faster.

Bill Welch


Charles Peck
 

It was not all that long ago that out of season produce was an expensive luxury.  Comparing milk

to orange juice seems to skip over the fact that cows make milk all year round.  Fresh Florida juice

oranges are very seasonal.  Do you remember canned orange juice?  I remember it being pretty

bad stuff compared to fresh squeezed. These improvements in storage and shipping of orange

juice made "almost" fresh tasting juice available all year round.  That was a big step in marketing.

Today we take it for granted that almost everything is in our stores whenever we want it.

As a boy I don't remember there being any frozen food in the local market. Frozen juice concentrate

and Birdseye vegetables seems to have appeared about late 40s and early 50s.  At least in my

recollection.  There were changes going on in the foods industry and a demand for fresher tasting

products was one of the big drivers.  I think Tropicana got a step ahead and profited nicely from

grabbing a big market share, largely from refrigeration technology.

Chuck Peck


Craig Zeni
 

Mark/Don, you'd probably be surprised at the way juices are processed, stored and shipped. Logic from those outside the industry doesn't really apply. For a sense of scale, the Trop plant at Bradenton FL has the capacity to store about 70 million gallons of single strength (Not From Concentrate) juice; Citrosuco at Lake Wales nearly 20 million gallons. It's stored cold in tanks in enormous refrigerated buildings. I used to know the Bradenton's capacity for concentrate but can't recall right now...somewhere around a million gallons.

When juice concentrates are reconstituted, it is not allowed to soften - temperature rise is not good for it and would allow molds and other nasties to grow in it. The way it's reconstituted is that the frozen concentrate is dumped into a stainless steel 'chopper tank'. It's typically a long flattish tank with chopper blades in it that macerate into small frozen chunks and mixed with some water. Sugars can be added at that point...it's then pumped over thru a pasteurized (can be a plate/frame type or a tube style...depends on the plant) which is where it is melted as a side benefit from the pasteurization temperatures and into the mix tank where it's finally mixed with purified ambient water. Final mixing occurs there in that tank. I have a couple of customers in Florida that do precisely this (they make juice blends from pineapple, mango, orange and many other concentrates), and have done it this way for decades. It's a proven, reliable and inexpensive technology.

Orange juice concentrate business has dramatically shrunken since the 1960s. NFC rules the retail business now. Much of the concentrate that is made is not as viscous as what Bruce (and I and others) remember from our childhood so that it can be more easily pumped. This product is shipped in bulk insulated road tankers to diaries (yes, dairies) that reconstitute it into the private label brands you see in grocery and convenience stores. Concentrate now also comes up from Brazil in tanker vessels to Tampa and Wilmington DE for unloading and processing by these dairies and for blending with Florida juice as Florida's groves can no longer supply enough juice to meet demand. However, Florida's juice is widely regarded as the best in the world and is actually exported to Europe and Japan...go figure.

Craig Zeni
Cary NC

On Jun 21, 2014, at 4:51 AM, STMFC@... wrote:

1a. Re: Tropicana in the 1950s
Posted by: "Bruce F. Smith" @smithbf smithbf36832
Date: Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:08 pm ((PDT))

Mark,

Dang, maybe I'm getting old, but when I was growing up in upstate NY, we got our orange juice in a cardboard tube with metal ends, frozen solid, at the grocery store. Thus, the frozen concentrate being shipped was not necessarily for repackaging, but for direct sales to consumers. As with all frozen food, it has to remain frozen to maintain quality. And even if it was being repackaged, temperature excursions on a food product such as this both can damage the nutritional quality of the food (the big sell for the frozen food industry, which mushroomed post WWII, as did the need for frozen food reefers) and above freezing there is the chance for bacterial and or fungal growth. Why don't you see that in today's "fresh" OJ? Ahem, well, try fresh squeezing some OJ and leave it out <G>. The steam era's OJ was not packaged with the preservatives that today's foods are and thus more care was needed to preserve the food from spoilage.


Regards

Bruce


Bruce F. Smith

Auburn, AL

https://www5.vetmed.auburn.edu/~smithbf/


"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."

On Jun 20, 2014, at 2:43 PM, caboose9792@...<mailto:caboose9792@...> [STMFC] wrote:



I agree Don,
There is no reason, if anything it defy's reason. Even if the OJ departs frozen it would have to be heated on arrival. Letting the load self cool for the 2-5 days in transit and arrive as a slushy liquid ready to be diluted and bottled.


caboose9792@aol.com <caboose9792@...>
 

Don i agree the only potental savings would be for juce frozen at florda and kept frozen in nj for the offseason. Yes i did drink caned oj it was better than instant tea that my folks liked to drink.

mark rickert
Sent with Verizon Mobile Email

---Original Message---
From: STMFC@...
Sent: 6/20/2014 7:26 pm
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Tropicana in the 1950s

Com'on Bruce, Guess I missed any mention Bill made of the concentrate being shipped frozen. That, however, seem like quite a waste of corporate funds. And what does distance have to do with it? Milk was shipped in GPEX milk tank cars from Wisconsin to Florida in the 1920's, taking far more time than the average milk train to Boston, New York or Chicago took, and changed only a degree or two in temperature over the entire journey. If it could be done with milk it could be done with OJ and was for a number of years WITHOUT refrigeration. I'm surprised Tropicana survived such a waste of corporate funds and wonder what their bottom line would have looked like without such a waste. They apparently took little note of what others had already done. Cordially, Don Valentine


Guy Wilber
 

FGE Bill wrote:
 
"While they were effective at maintaining low temperatures, the power plants were fueled by gasoline meaning that they could only run on the FGE/WFE/BRE System including their contracted lines, as the RR's outside the system would not accept them for interchange because of the fuel  they used."
 
 
Bill,
 
 This was a provision of the Interchange Rules which gave the receiving roads the discretion to accept the cars in interchange (or not), so there may well have been some acceptance of such cars in off line use.   
 
Commenting on Bill's post,  Mark Rickert stated:
 
"Thank the AAR for that. (interchange rule 2)."
 
Thank the AAR for what?  If you are going to make reference to the Rule why not give some details?  Rule 2 covers a myriad of items, not just the provisions for accepting mechanical reefers powered by gasoline and LPG?   
 
 
First added to the Interchange Rules in 1953, the section of Rule 2 governing the interchange of mechanical reefers equipped with gas engines reads as such:
 
Rule 2, Section (d) Cars, loaded or empty, equipped with engines or heaters for the operation of which flammable liquids or gases having a flash point 80 degrees F., (open cup) or lower are used, for heating, lighting or refrigeration, will not be accepted in interchange except as follows:
 
(3)  Cars equipped with installations using gasoline or liquified petroleum gas to operate units for refrigeration purposes, are acceptable in interchange (for freight movement only) except where routed to or through areas where railroad has placed restriction specifically prohibiting the operation of such cars.  Railroads having such areas where the operation of such cars is prohibited or restricted, shall so indicate by publishing the location and extent of such areas by means of a suitable note in the publication "Railway Line Clearances".  Owners of cars equipped with such installations must indicate by a suitable explanatory note in the "Official Railway Equipment Register" the reporting marks, serial numbers and kind of equipments using fuels that would subject them to restricted operation as provided herein.  All such cars must be permanently placarded "Gasoline Driven Refrigeration Units" or Liquified Petroleum Gas Driven Refrigeration Units."
 
Guy Wilber
Reno, Nevada