Artifact of the Month

Heekin Can Company BucketHeekin Can Company Picnic Bucket
Donated by Martha Lankford

Springdale school teacher Martha Lankford won this five-gallon picnic bucket at a teacher appreciation event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce in the 1970s. After she retired from teaching, Martha donated the picnic can to the Shiloh Museum. The can was made by Springdale's Heekin Can Company.

A need for tin cans in the spice and roasted coffee business led to the the formation of Heekin Can Company in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1901. They soon branched out to manufacture cans for lard, baking powder, and ink. The Springdale plant, which opened in 1949, made packing cans for fruits, vegetables, and other food products.

According to The Springdale News, "The Heekin Can Company selected Springdale as the site for their southern plant after long study and many conferences with the Springdale Agricultural and Industrial Foundation, which was formed with the express purpose of bringing new industry into Springdale."

Heekin's grand opening in Springdale on June 4, 1949 was met with much fanfare, including speeches by Heekin president Daniel Heekin, Frisco Railroad vice president John Payne, and Arkansas highway commissioner Orval Faubus. The Springdale High School Band and Slim Picken's Famous Western Band provided musical entertainment as some 4,000 visitors toured the new factory. Free soda pop and fried chicken box lunches were provided for all in attendance.

Ball Corporation acquired Heekin Can Company in 1993. At that time Heekin was the largest regional manufacturer of metal food containers in the United States. Today Springdale's manufacturing operation produces containers and ends for southern and midwestern customers.

2002-72-1260 Heekin Can Company's Springdale plant, 1957.
Howard Clark Collection (S-2002-72-1260)

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