The “ALL NEW” History of Lemon Blennd Site

Edwin and Margaret Keagy

Welcome to the new History of Lemon Blennd site.  Lemon Blennd is the iconic concentrated drink once produced by the Reymers Candy Company of Pittsburgh Pa.  Later produced by HJ Heinz, and still available from Bymes & Kiefer of Pittsburgh.  But few people know where Blennd orginated,  At Keagy’s Pharmacy at 2823 Perrysville Avenue on Pittsburgh’s Northside.  The Year was 1914. Check back here in the months ahead as we set out to tell the story of Edwin Keagy, the drink he created, his agreements with the Reymers Brothers Candy, and how Blennd became an important part of the History of Pittsburgh. .

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Lemon Blennd Goes Prime Time –Enter Heinz–Exit Reymer 1961

Jacob Reymer--Founder Reymer Brothers Candy

H.J. Heinz--Founder--- HJ Heinz Company

In 1960 and 1961, the H.J. Heinz Company acquired the assets of Reymer & Bros., Inc. and Hachmeister, Inc. StarKist Foods was acquired in 1963 and Ore-Ida Foods, Inc. in 1965.
Around this time and during the 25 years that H.J. Heinz II was chief executive, the food industry changed greatly.
The era was marked by the rise of supermarket chains and the development of new distribution and marketing systems.
By 1960 Reymer Brothers continue to struggle, and Heinz now thriving around the world was ready to take the Reymer assets which included Lemmon Blennd
It seems things had come full circle. HJ Heinz the company founder and Jacob Reymer, the founder of Reymer Brothers were always friendly and collaborated on countless undertakings during the 1860′s and 70′s Heinz strategy in those early days was to go sell directly to the grocer cuttting out the wholesaler.
It was a concept that set Heinz apart from others.
Heinz had to offer variety to successfully win over grocers who didn’t want to deal with individual product salesman.
In these early years Heinz did not ignore wholesales, in fact he had a strong relationship with Reymer Brothers, one of the nations largest. Reymer Brothers supplied grocers’ confectionaries and preserves throughout Pennsylvania Ohio, West Virgnia and Indianna. Reymer Brothers also exported specialties. Heinz sold mainly preserves to Reymer Brothers who were also known for their bueatiful store displays at Fifth and Penn Avenues in downtown Pittsburgh.
Now, 100-years later the company HJ Heinz founded, would take the assets Jacob Reymer created, and take them to the next level, which included Lemon Blennd.
With Edwin Keagy, now in his 90′s nearing the final year of his life, he would not be around to see Lemon Blennds next chapter

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Blennd Goes West–Fullerton California 1948

Val Vita Foods-Fullerton Ca- Later Hunt Wesson

The Fullerton Calironia airport gained world-wide attention in 1949 when two flight instructors – Dick Riedel and Bill Barris – flew the “Sunkist Lady” to a world endurance flight record of 42 days.
Also in 1948 and 1949 Reymers Blennd was moving west. Edwin Keagy, now in his 80′s wanted to take Blennd West and Fullerton just outside Los Angeles was the logical spot.
Orange County Calironia citrus was still in its prime in the late 40′s and all the top food manufacturers were trying to make a mark in the area, including Reymers with Keagy spearheading the effort.
In 1932, the same year Keagy signed on with Reymer Brothers a company called Val Vita had opened a small citrus juice plant in Fullerton.
By 1941 Val Vita, had grown into the largest canning company in the nation.
In 1943, it merged with another firm to become Hunt-Wesson Foods Co.
With the establishment of a southeast industrial area as an “all manufacturing zone,” in Fullerton, additional industries started to appear. Before the 1950s had concluded, the city had 142 industries producing a variety of goods,but mostly food and drink and employing 18,500 persons.
It was Fullerton’s big “boom” period as veterans returning from World War II began demanding homes for their families.
In 1948, permit valuations reached $2.5 million, and, in 1949, set a record $3.2 million, which was more than doubled in 1950. In 1956, the building permit valuation skyrocketed to $114 million.
In the Reymers Brothers 1948 Annual Report the Blennd plant at Fullerton California is mentioned, but for whatever reason, Pittsburgh’s Iconic drink would never take hold out west.
By late 1949, Keagy would return to Pittsburgh to finish out his years. His last crack to take the drink he created on Pittsburgh’s northside to the top !

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The Hartman, Keagy and Young Agreements

There was an ongoing relationship between Thomas L Hartman, EJW Keagy and HM Young dating back to at least 1931 prior to the Reymers agreement with EJW Keagy of 1932, Hartmand plan to apply for a patent on said device
For financial assistance Hartman grants one third interest to Keagy and one third interest to Young in both ownerhsip and revenues from the dispenser
The agreement goes on to say that should Reymers Brothers enter into a license agreement on the dispenser than Keagy would forfeit his one-third interest and royalties would be granted at 60-percent for Mr Hartmand and 40-percent for Mr Young.
It also calls for a 5-percent royalty from Reymers Brothers should an agreement be eecuted for the dispenser.
In additional should an agreement not be reached with Reymer Brothers than Clarence Grabe be paid Royalties not to exceed $400.00 a year for services rendered,
On April 25, 1936 Reymer Brothers Entered into a contractual agreement for the Hartman application,
It was entered into following a 1935 agreement between Young Hartman and Keagy which eliminated Keagy from receiving royalties from the dispensers themselves. But at the same time he was the only one receiving royalties from the Lem-N-Blennd that went through those dispensers.
Hartman and Youngs agreement with Reymer Brothers called for the pair to produce 50 dispnsers at a price not to exceed $3750.00
It called for Young and Hartman to be paid royalties on gross sales during the year of 1936 and each successive year after that
5% of the first $250,000.
4% upton $500,000.
3% upton $750,000.
2% upto 1,000,000.
1% over 1,000,000.

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Reymer Brothers Candy—Financial Trouble 1932

Reymer Brothers Building 1425 Forbes Avenue- Pittsburgh

By 1932, the once powerful Reymer Brothers Candy Company found itself struggling amid the Great Depression. In fact some reports indicate the longtime confectioner was losing as much as $200,000. dollars a year. A hefty sum in the 1930′s. The Company Headquarters at 1425 Forbes Avenue was a giant facility on the Pittsburgh Bluff that the company built in 1910. The Forbes and Pride location was suffering due to a lack of demand, and a summertime slowdown because of the difficulty of storing chocolate in the heat. Enter Lem-N-Blennd. The Agreement between EJW Keagy and Reymers in 1932 would put in motion a life saver, to help keep the candymaker afloat for nearly another 30-years.

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Trouble Filling the Kentucky Orders—Michigan Calls 1942

Froid of Grand Rapids awaits delivery

FROID Laboratories of Grand Rapids Michigan writes October 30, 1942 trying to get Blennd put in its Crystal-Icer Despenser
The customer— White Tavern Shops, Lexington, Kentucky.
ECW Geistart of Froid writes Keagy “ordered 3 cases from Reymers on September 16 with their check of $19.40…the check has been deposited…the White Tavern Shops have not recieved the merchandise.”
Geistart goes on to say the customer is pleased with his Crystal Ice Despenser, but wants to put Blennd in it. Geistart tells Keagy, a man he calls “DOC” that he or Hildebrand from Reymers needs to write Lederer from White Tavern and explain this “Mishap”
He also wants to hear from Keagy so they can complete negotiations in that territory.

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Home Sized Bottles 1941

Reymers looks to Smaller Bottles to increase sales

In July 1941, Reymers WCH writes EJW Keagy about his excitment over a “Home Sized Bottle” He describes it “like the tail of the dog that wagged the dog, instead of the dog wagging the tail”
“We havent scratched the surface.” He tells Keagy “We can more than double the business by the first week of August.”
He says “We have got some big prospects in view, but I don’t want to go after them too strong until we can fill the orders promptly when they come in.”
Discussions also in this correspondence about seeking an auxiliary mechanical bottler.
He says “You know there is one made that fills directly from the tank and sits along side the machine itself.”

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Florida Expansion Effort 1932

The San Juan Hotel Orlando--Epicenter of Florida Expansion Effort 1932

In October 1932 just weeks after the production and distribution agreement was signed between EW Keagy and Reymer Brothers< H.M. Young wrote Keagy about expansion and disribution efforts in the State of Florida.

Young expresses an uunwillingness by dealers in the Jacksonville area to take on the product because it was too late in the season. At the same time Y.oung informs Keagy that 33 dealers had been apprached in the Orlando area and 27 had accepted

A desperate call goes out for all the cases of Blennd currently held in Jacksonville be transfered immediately to Orlando with the exception of one case to be left behind

A marketing plan was suggested which incorporated the Rialto Theatre as the focus, it included:

1) space in the lobby of the Theatre Building

(2) a  flash on the screen, seven days before we start to give the drink away and the 10 days that we do give the drink away.

(3) 5,000 circulars, handbilling the town

(4) 50 eassels to be placed in diffeent retailers windows announcing that the public can get a free drink of “Lem-N Blennd” with the purchase of a ticket for the show.

(5) Newspaper space for 10 days

(6) Radio announcing twice a day at the hours of  12 noon and 7 PM

(7) Large painted billboards on the outside of the Theatre Building  for the period.

In addition Reymers would be responsible for 10 cases of Blennd , a haf gross of glasses and the hire of a soda boy for the period not to exceed $20.00.

Excitment is also expressed about a new product coming soon called Lem-N-Blennd Whip.

 

 

 

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FDA Challenges “Lem-N-Blennd” 1937

On August 31, 1937 a hearing was held between Reymer Brothers and the Chief of the of the Buffalo Station of the Food and Drug Administration of the United States regarding the interstate sale of “Lem-N-Blennd”

During an informal hearing T.F Pappe had on his desk a number of other product purporting to be fruit syrups, which were also under investigation.with Lem-N Blennd considered to be the most high grade.  He suggested the entire industry was being scutinized.

The charge sheet alleged adulteration;  It read

“a mixture of sugar water, lemon juice, and acid has been subsituted wholly or in part for the article and mixed and packed with it so as to lower or injuriously affect it quality or strength.”

Also a misbranding charge that in the opinion of the FDA, the name Lem-N Blennd implies an article consisting entirely of lemon products whereas the consittuents of Lem-N Blennd are not that.

T. F Pappe argued that despite the mis-spelling of Blennd the name implied a lemon product and oranges were also included as part of the ingredients and therfore it was misbranded. and violated regulation 14f.

He said EW Keagy had told government inspector Howard that there were 20-30 pounds of citric acid and 18 crates of lemons to 500 gallons of water—he said Keagy never mention anything about oranges.

In conclusion Pappe said the product was one of two things, imitation lemon juice or lemon flavor syrup. Presumably if either of these phrases were to be used as names instead of “Lem-N Blennd he would be satisfied.

The Keagy Reymer FDA document outlining this hearing suggested as a remedy scraping the name “Lem-N-Blennd”. Its dated September 10, 1937.

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The 1928 Lem-n-Blennd Company–Sells Stock to raise capital

Between 1928 and 1932 Edwin Keagy aquire a small group of investors in order to raise capital to expand the reach of Lem-n-Blennd.  While the original patent was aquired in 1914, by 1928 Keagy knew he had a drink that people wanted.  He sold shares in his Lem-n-Blennd Company at 10-dollars a share with a minimum purchase of 5 shares at 50-dollars.  Prior to his entering into an agreement for production and distribution of Blennd with Reymers & Brothers, Keagy had to pay those shareholders off.  Our evidence suggests only a hand full of investors took part and the effort raised less the one thousand dollars Below is the 1933 tax document for the Lem-n-Blennd Company indicating that after the agreement with Reymers a year earlier Keagy’s Lem-n-Blennd Company had no investors

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Perfecting the 500 Gallon Per Day Frost Machine

Prior to Edwin Keagy’s decision to enter into a production and distribution agreement with Reymers & Brothers Candy of Pittsburgh, it was unclear whether it could even be done.  Mass Production of Lem-n-Blennd would require new factory floor equipment.  Keagy’s unwillingness to give up the entire Lem-n-Blennd formula only complicated this undertaking.  indicated by the first  drawing of the 500 gallon per day Frost Machine.  Early correspondence between Keagy and Harry Matchnear of Reymers highlights various options:

“Referring to the photostat, figure 1, 2,and 3, represent a special two stage ejector capable of producing a sufficiently high vaccum to maintain a temperatture in the chamber 5, of approximately 25 degrees.  This two stage ejector will require approximately 250 pounds of per hour of steam at 110 pounds gauge pressure for its operation and require 13 gallons of water per minute.”

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Edwin and Margaret Keagy

Edwin JW Keagy Born (2-3-1871) in Woodbury Pa. Married (9-16-1897) to Margaret M Kasberger of Pittsburgh. (Died 1961 in Pittsburgh)
Edwin studied Pharmacy at Philadelphia Pa with Harry O Keagy.
Established Keagy’s Lemon Blennd which was sold in several states between 1914 and 1932 before he reached a distibution and production agreement with the Reymers Brothers of Pittsburgh.
Prior to 1932 he had two stores in Wilkinsburg and East Liberty as well as his Pharmaacy at Perrysville Avenue in Pittsburgh.
After 1932 he gave up his Drug Stores to devote all his energy to the creation and distibution of Lemmon Blennd in contractual agreements with Reymers Brothers of Pittsburgh.
They had one daughter Margaret Ruth Keagy who married William Harris Griffith in 1923.
The picture is on the Boardwalk of Atlantic City where Keagy distributed his Blennd in the 1920′s.

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Keagy’s Pharmacy Perrysville Ave Pittsburgh Pa

Where Lem-n-Blend was created in 1914

Now home to “A Child Shall Lead” Daycare. Once the home of Keagy’s Pharmacy and the birthplace of Pittsburgh’s Iconic Lem-N-Blennd

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