Heber Harold Hatfield

Hatfield Potato Chips

Heber Harold Hatfield

Heber Harold Hatfield was born in Middle Simonds as the child of George Washington Hatfield and Emily Holmes. He established a prominent potato business and held several political positions, including Mayor of Hartland and a representative of Victoria-Carleton in the House of Commons from 1940 to 1952, initially as a National Government member and later as a Progressive Conservative.

Heber Harold Hatfield
Heber H. Hatfield

In 1917, Hatfield purchased an old furniture factory near the railroad tracks and founded a starch factory, while also maintaining the furniture business.

Hartland NB

The town of Hartland, with its fertile soil, was ideal for cultivating high-quality potatoes. Hatfield pioneered the process of evaporating potatoes, making them easy to rehydrate and consume. During World War I, he secured a government contract to supply evaporated potatoes in tins to the allied forces. These tins were also provided to countries struggling with food shortages due to war-damaged land.

Hatfield Factory

After the war he continued refining his starch process and instead of using the evaporation method he began dehydrating potatoes, a much tastier product.

Hatfield Plant Workers

During World War II, Hatfield received another contract to feed troops. His factory employed people, mainly women, to prepare and dehydrate potatoes for packaging in tins. At one point, his operation was the largest starch and dehydration facility in North America. After the war, Hatfield invested in extracting sugar from potatoes, a scarce resource during wartime. However, a fire in 1946 destroyed the dehydration plant and his new equipment.

Hatfield Plant Cooler

Three 75 pound bags of potatoes would go into a 15 lb tin. 2500 tins would be shipped by rail in one week. 

Hatfield Bags of Potatoes

During World War II, Hatfield received another contract to feed troops. His factory employed people, mainly women, to prepare and dehydrate potatoes for packaging in tins. At one point, his operation was the largest starch and dehydration facility in North America. After the war, Hatfield invested in extracting sugar from potatoes, a scarce resource during wartime. However, a fire in 1946 destroyed the dehydration plant and his new equipment.

Hatfield Plant Fire

Undeterred, Hatfield rebuilt the starch industry and began exploring potato chip production. Despite initial resistance from his sons, he launched the successful “Cracklin’ Crisp” potato chip and stick line in 1950.

Hatfield Potato Chips

Throughout difficult economic times, Hatfield provided employment opportunities for local families, farmers, and lumbermen.

Hatfield Potato Chip Factory

Additionally, Hatfield operated a forestry business, a fox farm, and a farm that raised purebred cattle and various vegetables. In 1952, while serving his third term as the MP for Carleton-Victoria, Hatfield succumbed to cancer. His sons continued his legacy, with Richard eventually becoming Premier of New Brunswick and later a member of the Canadian Senate.

Heber Harold Hatfield Gravestone

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2 thoughts on “Heber Harold Hatfield

  1. Didn’t the Hatfields also have a chip plant in Grand Falls? I remember going there when I was in 3rd or 4th grade.

  2. Hatfield potato chips are unmatched by any varieties now in the marketplace. This snippet of the man’s ingenuity and leadership as an individual are remarkable and now historically significant.

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