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Giant Heinz ketchup bottle moves from one Pittsburgh landmark to another

A giant Heinz ketchup bottle is hoisted by a crane.
Heinz History Center
Crews move the Heinz bottle into position Thursday morning.

For more than 20 years, a pair of huge Heinz Tomato Ketchup bottles adorned the scoreboard at Heinz Field, pouring one out for Steelers wins.

The motorized sculptures — complete with labels and iconic white caps — were removed in 2022, when Heinz (now Kraft Heinz) ceded the stadium naming rights to Acrisure. One bottle was reinstalled at Acrisure Stadium earlier this year. And this week, the second one found a new home, too — at yet another facility named for a member of the Heinz family.

A giant Heinz ketchup bottle sits on a metal pedestal outside the Heinz History Center.
Heinz History Center
The bottle in its new home.

The 35-foot-long bottle now occupies a tall pedestal outside the Sen. John Heinz History Center, in the Strip District. Kraft Heinz donated it to the museum, which installed it Thursday. It’s sure to become a new, selfie-ready landmark for locals and visitors alike.

“The old Heinz Field ketchup bottle is a part of Pittsburgh history, and by popular demand the Heinz History Center decided, hey, we need to bring it home,” said History Center CEO and president Andy Masich.

“We’re thrilled that Heinz History Center will be home to one of the beloved ketchup bottles from the historic Heinz Field, memorializing it as a historical artifact,” read a statement from Kraft Heinz, which has co-headquarters in Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The late Sen. Heinz was the great-grandson of H.J. Heinz, who started what became the H.J. Heinz Company as a boy, in his hometown of Sharpsburg, in 1869. It became a global processed foods brand, and its ketchup in particular became a byword for regional pride.

“The Heinz story is very much a part of our history here,” said Masich. “In fact, some people say they bleed ketchup if they’re from Pittsburgh.”

Masich added, “It was H.J. Heinz who came up with and patented that distinctive-shaped ketchup bottle that we all know today.”

Thursday morning, crews installed the bottle on a custom-built steel pedestal. So situated, the bottle’s cap tops out at 57 feet, a nod to Heinz’s famous “57 Varieties” slogan.

The new addition is now the largest item in the museum’s collection. It also serves as a bookend of sorts: High on the opposite face of the Center’s red-brick façade hangs the red-neon Heinz ketchup sign empties and refills every 30 seconds. It’s adorned the Center since 2007, when it was moved from its original home on the Heinz factory building just across the Allegheny River.

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: