Sunday, November 17, 2019

Pin Money Pickles

In the late 1800s and through  the 1950s an item that appeared on menus and in stores was Pin Money Pickles. 

above part of the Hotel Antoinette Lunch Menu 1900
Pin Money Pickles was a commercial product made by Ellen G. Tompkins Kidd.  
Mrs. Kidd started making pickles at her Richmond, Virginia home in 1868 when she was sixteen.  She used her grandmother’s receipt (her grandfather was Lt. Harry Tompkins of Revolutionary war fame) and it was such a success that people begin to pay her for the pickles.  Giving her a little money they referred to as pin money.  The term pin money is not heard that often today but it refers to a small amount of money woman would be given by their husband or they earn by sewing or selling eggs. 

By 1926 she had developed the business into one that was doing a half million dollars in sales, had a five story building in Richmond and employed over 60 workers.  She also married in 1872 John Boulware Kidd, a grocer, and had ten children by him.
She was one of the first women to obtain a contract from the Pullman Company and she insisted that her pickles be listed on the menu as “Pin Money Pickles.”  She sold to the large New York City market and her product was always sold by its trade name.
 1900 Southern Railway Lunch menu featuring pin money pickles
She incorporated her company and even though she died in 1932 the company lived on.  Stewart C Wilson became the owner and moved the company to Gloucester Virginia and by the mid 1950s the pickle plant closed down. 
1936 December 4th ad from Baltimore Sun
you can come across the Pin Money Pickle jars at flea markets and bottle shows

1 comment:

  1. Growing cucumbers in Caroline County, Virginia, for Pin Money Pickles helped my mother and her family through the Great Depression.