Networked Space

in Chicago Made

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780226477015
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226477046 | DOI:
Networked Space

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In November 1927, Campbell Soup announced the construction of a plant with floor space of more than 1 million square feet at the Dickinson Industrial District. The first unit—a six-story concrete structure flanked by three-story buildings on either side, with 800,000 square feet of floor space—was finished a year later. An unusual feature of the new factory was its relationship to a supplier. Cans, the company's major packaging material, were supplied by a specially constructed factory next door to the soup plant. Continental Can's four-story building would “be engaged exclusively in producing cans for the Campbell Soup company.” The sagas of Campbell–Continental and food processing-canning illustrate the geography of inter-firm relations. The two companies were firmly embedded in a multiple set of business relationships, which stretched across metropolitan, regional, and international industrial landscapes. Success involved taking advantage of both local and long-distance flows of goods, ideas, knowledge, and capital. Similarly, Chicago's industrial economy was sustained by an elaborate set of intra- and inter-firm relations operating at different spatial scales. The evidence shows that while regional and national interactions were important to local firms and industries, a well-embedded local production complex was critical to Chicago's success as an industrial economy.

Keywords: Campbell Soup; Continental Can; inter-firm relations; intra-firm relations; industrial districts; industrial economy; local production complex

Chapter.  9008 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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