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James Dole, founder of the Hawaiian pineapple industry, was called the "Pineapple King."

James Drummond Dole (September 27, 1877 – May 20, 1958), also known as the Pineapple King, was a United States industrialist who developed the pineapple industry in Hawaii and established the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. Hawaiian Pineapple Company, or HAPCO, was later reorganized to become the present-day Dole Food Company, which now does business in over 90 countries. Its most prized crop continues to be authentic Hawaiian-grown pineapples. Dole was a cousin of Sanford B. Dole, President of the Republic of Hawaii.



James Dole was born on September 27, 1877, in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. He was the son of a Unitarian minister, Charles Fletcher Dole and his wife Frances Drummond Dole. Growing up, Dole attended Roxbury Latin School in West Roxbury, Massachusetts from which he graduated. In 1899, Dole obtained his bachelor degree in agriculture and business from Harvard University. After receiving USD $50 as a gift, Dole began saving money for a future business he had in mind. After saving USD $16,240,[expand] Dole moved to Honolulu Hawaii at the age of 22, arriving on November 16, 1899, (then governed by his cousin Sanford, who had led the overthrow of the native queen Liliuokalani) and purchased a 64-acre government homestead [1] in the central plains of the island of Oahu.

Hawaiian Pineapple Company

Dole Pineapple Plantation on Oahu, Hawaii on May 13, 2006.

His 60 acres (240,000 m²) in 1901 eventually grew and Dole constructed a cannery and packing plant in the town of Wahiawa.Soon, yields and popularity of his product proved greater than he expected and Dole built a new cannery and packing plant near Honolulu Harbor. That same year, 1907, Dole purchased magazine advertisements to promote his canned pineapples. He developed the first nationwide consumer ad campaign in the United States and was successful. Demand for Hawaiian pineapple grew even more.

In 1913, Dole invested in a new machine invented by Henry G. Ginaca. The Ginaca machine could peel and core thirty-five pineapples every minute. Before the invention, Dole had to contend with the slow pace of having hundreds of workers peel and core each pineapple by hand. With a fully mechanized outfit, Dole's business boomed once more. Rival pineapple companies slowly began to adopt the Ginaca machine, seeing how much Dole improved his business with the introduction of new technologies.

In 1922, Dole purchased the island of Lanai and developed it as a vast pineapple plantation. It became the largest plantation in the world with over 200,000 acres (800 km²) devoted exclusively to growing pineapple. Throughout the twentieth century, Lanai produced over seventy-five percent of the world's pineapple crop, and today bears the nickname of Pineapple Island. Dole also purchased land on the island of Maui.

In 1927, inspired by Charles A. Lindbergh's successful trans-Atlantic flight, Dole sponsored the Dole Air Race, putting up a prize of US$25,000 for the first airplane to fly from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii, and US$10,000 for second place. Those prizes were won by the only two airplanes to survive the flight.

Family and retirement

Dole married Belle Dickey of Boston, Massachusetts on November 22, 1908. They had five children: Richard Alexander Dole was born on October 28, 1907 and James Drummond Dole, Jr. was born on February 6, 1910. Elisabeth Dole was born on April 25, 1911 while Charles Herbert Dole was born on October 30, 1914. Barbara Dole was born on October 10, 1916.

Dole retired in 1948, only a few years after introducing the first product to actually bear his name, canned Dole pineapple juice. He suffered from various ailments in retirement; the worst were a series of strokes. A heart attack finally took Dole's life in May 1958. Dole is buried at Makawao, Hawaii on the island of Maui. His grave overlooks the slopes of Haleakala and the vast pineapple fields of his Maui pineapple plantation. His wife Belle inscribed the words on his gravestone, "He was a Man, Take Him All in All. I Shall Not Look Upon His Like Again."


Other than the continued success of the Dole Food Company in the twenty-first century, the memory of James Dole continues through such institutions as the Dole Plantation and the Dole Cannery in Honolulu. The tourist attraction known as the Dole Plantation was established in 1950 as a mere fruit stand in the middle of Dole's original pineapple fields. In 1989, the fruit stand was transformed into a plantation home mounted on what looks like a hill of red dirt, characteristic of Wahiawa. The plantation home became a living museum and historical archive of the life and work of the industrialist. The Plantation also features the world's largest maze, grown entirely out of native Hawaiian plants.

In 1991, the original Dole Cannery closed its operations and was transformed into a multi-purpose facility with media studios, conference rooms and ballrooms. The lower levels houses a modern shopping center and a 16-screen multiplex cinema owned by Regal Entertainment Group. The actual ginaca machines and cannery storage were preserved and turned into a museum of Hawaiian Pineapple Company history. Millions of visitors from around the world flock to these institutions annually.

See also





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