TODAY is the feast day of Saint Matthias, patron saint of alcoholics. Following the suicide of Judas Iscariot, Matthias was chosen (by lot) to become the twelfth apostle. His patronage of drunks is traditional but of uncertain origin but his life as an apostle was none the less adventurous. He was martyred with an axe on the shores of the Caspian Sea. In Ethiopia he was captured and blinded by cannibals but rescued just in time by Saint Andrew who, by a miracle, arrived on a boat piloted by Jesus.
14 May 1919: Henry John Heinz, US food manufacturer, died. Born in 1844 of German parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Henry Heinz began his career at the age of eight when he sold produce from his family's garden. Aged 16 he became more adventurous and began to dry and grate horseradish and sell it in glass bottles. He offered to refund the purchase price if the product was unsatisfactory, a guarantee of good quality that later became part of his sales pitch. In partnership with his cousin he moved on to more ambitious food manufacture, but was always a proselytiser for pure food. He also pioneered good practices in staff welfare. By 1896, his enterprise produced more than 60 products. But the number 57 appealed to him, and the slogan "57 varieties" has never changed.Reuse content