Daniel Gerber
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Daniel Gerber
Daniel Frank Gerber
Personal details
Born(1898-05-06)May 6, 1898
Fremont, Michigan, U.S.
DiedMarch 16, 1974(1974-03-16) (aged 75)
Fremont, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Dorothy Marion Scott
ChildrenScottie Gerber, Sally Gerber, Paula Gerber, Arabella Fay Gerber, Dan Gerber
ParentsFrank Daniel Gerber, Pauline Dora Platt
OccupationBaby food manufacturer

Daniel Frank Gerber (May 6, 1898 - March 16, 1974) was an American manufacturer of baby food.[1]

Early life

Gerber went by the name "Dan" to his friends and relatives. He was born in Fremont of Newaygo County, Michigan, in 1898, the son of Frank Daniel Gerber and Pauline Dora Platt.[1]

Mid-life

"Dan" with grandkids

Gerber was educated at St. John's Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin. He attended the academy from 1913 to 1916. Gerber served in the army during World War I. He then attended the Babson College of business administration from 1919 to 1920 for a year. Later in 1920 he hired in at Fremont Canning Company that his father owned.[2] He was a successful manager and by 1926 he had become assistant general manager of the company.[1]

Gerber began urging his father to begin the production of strained baby foods at the cannery in 1927. Daniel and his wife Dorothy had an ill baby named Sally. Dorothy suggested that he persuade his father to begin making and selling at their canning company strained baby foods.[3] Gerber with his father did some extensive research on this new concept. They contacted nutritional experts, distributed many samples, and conducted market research interviews before launching their product. The idea of strained baby foods was not entirely new, but the long-held American tradition was that babies generally were given a liquid diet until they were about a year old. It was risky to introduce this new concept to the marketplace as they had no idea how mothers would react to this new idea.[1] This enterprise became the Gerber Products Company.

In 1928 their canning company started an advertising campaign in Good Housekeeping, Parents Magazine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and other magazines. Their task was to convince parents to adopt new feeding concepts. The campaign worked and into the 1930s the canning company expanded its baby food lines.[1]

Later life

In the 1950s the company that Gerber was now running, since his father died in 1952, added three new plants. One in Asheville, North Carolina; one in Rochester, New York; and another in Niagara Falls, Ontario.[1]

Dan Gerber appeared as a contestant on the 19 May 1955 episode of the TV quiz program You Bet Your Life, hosted by Groucho Marx.[4]

Gerber expanded and diversified the company. He added a toy line in 1955 and had the company listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1956 for the first time. He also opened a Mexican subsidiary in 1959. In 1965 he added a large line of baby-related products.[1]

At Gerber's death in 1974, the company claimed it was the world's largest baby-food manufacturer.[1]

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Ingham, p. 443-445
  2. ^ Ingham, p. 443 In 1920 he joined the family firm.
  3. ^ Shapiro, p. 28
  4. ^ Groucho Marx - You Bet Your Life (27 October 2013). "You Bet Your Life #54-36 Groucho does an Irish Jig (Secret word 'Smile', May 19, 1955)" – via YouTube.

Sources

  • Ingham, John N., Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders: A-G, Greenwood Press (1983); ISBN 0-3132390-7-X
  • Shapiro, Eileen C., Fad Surfing in the Boardroom: Managing in the Age of Instant Answers, Basic Books (1996), ISBN 0-2014419-5-0
  • Obituary, New York Times, March 18, 1974

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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