Monday, September 03, 2007

The Hormel Whistle

There's a scene in the film, My Cousin Vinny, where the main characters are startled during the early morning hours by the town whistle. It always cracks me up. It's just like it was where I grew up in Austin, Minnesota, home of Hormel Foods Corporation. Growing up, I realized a whistle blew at various times during the day, warning employees it was time to wake up, get to work, go to lunch, return to work, and "call it a day." Once I heard a jewelry store on Main Street moved it's outside clock ahead or back to coincide with the Hormel whistle. When the whistle blower heard about this, he chuckled, "I set my watch by the clock on the jewelry store each morning when I drive to work."

The times for the whistle to blow are about to change.
An excerpt from The Austin Daily Herald. . .

Residents near the Hormel Foods Corporation's flagship plant in northeast Austin may soon notice a change, especially if they've grown accustomed to its 6 a.m. whistle toot.

Starting in the summer of 1937, the Geo. A. Hormel Company started to blow a whistle every day at 6:55 a.m., 7 a.m., 11:55 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. Sometime between 1937 and recently, whistle times of 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. were added.

The whistle will now blow four times a day, according to Julie Craven, vice president of corporate communications for Hormel Foods: 7 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

“The 70-year tradition of the whistle remains,” Craven said. “The decision to change the times the whistle blew was a business decision to coincide with the office hours of the Austin plant and corporate office.”

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