The technology of preserving food in cans was first widely used during the Civil War. The pressure cooker became available in 1847 and allowed better control of temperatures while the food was being cooked. By 1870 there were about 6,000 persons employed nationwide in almost 100 canning factories. By 1890 those numbers had grown to 50,000 persons working in 1,800 factories.
The canning industry in Utah started in Ogden in 1886 with the formation of the Colorado-Utah Canning Company by Alexander McKinney and Robert Lundy in a former pickle works. The Colorado-Utah Canning Company was dissolved in 1887, but the enterprise proved to Utahns that the preservation of food in cans worked. McKinney and Lundy parted company, and each started his own canning venture. McKinney started the Ogden Canning Company. After the harvest of 1899, having been in business for two years, McKinney moved his Ogden Canning Company north of the Ogden River, with the company remaining in business until McKinney died in October 1902. For the fifteen years that the company was in business its products included canned tomatoes, ketchup, peas, corn, pumpkins, string beans, plums, apples, pears, berries, and peaches. The company produced quality canned vegetables and fruits that were shipped all over the country and helped build a reputation for the quality of the Utah's canned products.