Unique Industries: Indiana Macaroni Company

Indiana County has been home to many different industries ranging from breweries to foundries, although one of the more unique and perhaps most forgotten is the Indiana Macaroni Company. The company began production on October 6, 1914, with John Rezzola and Carlo Marino as co-partners. The 34×175 foot two-story brick building with a basement was located on the south side of Maple Street near the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh (BR&P) railroad line. There were at least four homes built on Maple Street for the occupancy of employees. Eighteen barrels of flour we converted into macaroni every day; with 23 different styles of macaroni being produced. Two forming machines were capable of turning out 230 pounds of macaroni in eight minutes. Products were shipped all over the United States including Florida, Maine, Texas, and Michigan. By 1919, there were 25 workers, and the Indiana Macaroni Company was the largest manufacturer of food products within Indiana County at the time.

macaroni

In the beginning, ads were marketed toward women, as homemakers were beginning to expand their interests beyond their residence and were seeking quick meals, so they did not have to compromise their new activities. Further, families were searching for ways to save money, and macaroni products were affordable and noted as “one of the best backgrounds for a vitamin imaginable.”  Indiana Macaroni Company equated their product as providing a level of satisfaction similar to bread. The Company even went to the extreme and referred to their macaroni as an excellent meat substitute and a food that aids sufferers of diabetes and gout in their recovery.

As the United States entered World War II, many areas in Pennsylvania and across the United States entered into war industries, but not Indiana County. As a result, the population of Indiana County as of March 1, 1943 was 17,649 less than on April 1, 1940.

Because of the move toward war industries and those serving in the armed forces, many existing industries were forced to close or encountered unexpected problems. On August 7, 1945, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sued Indiana Macaroni Company in Federal Court, asking that it be restrained from doing business until unsanitary conditions were rectified. The Company had previously acquired an army contract for 60,000 pounds of pasta products but was warned on April 11 not to ship in interstate commerce.

macaronibox

Many of the manufacturing industries during the 1917-1945 period did not survive into the post-war period. In 1948, employees of the Indiana Macaroni Company were on strike for approximately a month while the president of Local No. 58, Bakers and Confectionary Workers Union, tried to reach a deal for a 25 cent per hour increase in pay. The company was in some financial difficulties, but an hourly increase of 15 cents was finally negotiated. In 1951, Indiana Macaroni Company closed its doors. The enterprise was briefly revived in 1952 as Indiana Noodle Co., owned by Mehotti Perfetti. Perfetti was an employee at the Indiana Macaroni Company for 22 years. He purchased new equipment for his endeavor, with the company being located in a building on South Twelfth Street but closed its doors permanently in 1952 after Perfetti passed away. And so ended an era of pasta manufacturing in Indiana County.

Sources: Indiana County 175th Anniversary History by Clarence D. Stephenson; Various articles from Indiana Gazette; Americanized Macaroni Products, published by the National Macaroni Institute

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Through a broad range of activities, The Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County seeks to promote a greater appreciation of the Indiana community's rich heritage and a better understanding of life today.

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