Friday May 14, 2021’s Smile of the Day: Condensed Milk

On this Day:

In 1853, Gail Borden, land surveyor, newspaper publisher and inventor, patented his process for condensed milk.

Gail Borden Jr. (November 9, 1801 – January 11, 1874) was a native New Yorker who settled in Texas in 1829, where he worked as a land surveyor, newspaper publisher, and inventor. He created a process in 1853 to make sweetened condensed milk. Earlier Borden helped plan the cities of Houston and Galveston in 1836.

Borden’s process for making sweetened condensed milk enabled the dairy product to be transported and stored without refrigeration, and for longer periods than fresh milk. After returning to the New York area to market another product, he set up factories for condensed milk in Connecticut, and later in New York and Illinois. Demand was high for his product by the Union Army during the American Civil War. His New York Condensed Milk Company changed its name to Borden Dairy Co. after his death.

In 1851, during Borden’s return voyage from the London exhibition, a disease infected both cows aboard the ship. (Ships carried livestock to supply passenger and crew needs during a voyage.) The cows eventually died, as did several children who drank the contaminated milk. Contamination often threatened other supplies of milk across the country. Borden became interested in developing a way to preserve milk.

He was inspired by the vacuum pan he had seen being used by Shakers to condense fruit juice and herbs. He learned to reduce milk without scorching or curdling it. His first two factories established to manufacture it failed. With his third factory, built with new partner Jeremiah Milbank in Wassaic, New York, Borden finally produced a usable milk derivative that was long-lasting and needed no refrigeration.

In 1856, after three years of refining his model, Borden received the patent for his process of condensing milk by vacuum. He abandoned the meat biscuit, to focus on his new product. Borden was forced to recruit financial partners to begin production and marketing of this new product. He offered Thomas Green three-eighths of his patent rights, and gave James Bridge a quarter interest on his investment; together, the three men built a condensery in Wolcottville, Connecticut (within modern-day Torrington), which opened in 1856. Green and Bridge were eager for profits, and when the factory was not immediately successful, they withdrew their support. The factory closed within a year.

To ensure against disease, Borden established strict sanitary requirements (the “Dairyman’s Ten Commandments”) for farmers who wanted to sell him raw milk; they were required to wash the cows’ udders before milking, keep barns swept clean, and scald and dry their strainers morning and night. By 1858, Borden’s condensed milk, sold as Eagle Brand, had gained a reputation for purity, durability, and economy.

Borden persuaded his former partners and a third investor, Reuel Williams, to build a new factory. It opened in 1857 in Burrville, Connecticut (also within modern-day Torrington). This second factory was hurt by the Panic of 1857 and had trouble turning a profit. The following year, Borden’s fortunes began to change after he met Jeremiah Milbank, a financier from New York, on a train. Milbank was impressed by Borden’s enthusiasm for and confidence in condensed milk, and the two became equal partners. Together, they founded the New York Condensed Milk Company. As a railroad magnate and banker, Milbank understood large-scale finance, which was critical to development of the business and Borden’s success.[33] Milbank invested around $100,000 into Borden’s business. When Milbank died in 1884, the market value of his holdings was estimated at around $8,000,000.

With the founding of the New York Condensed Milk Company, sales of Borden’s condensed milk began to improve. The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 soon after created a large demand for condensed milk from the Union Army. Officers purchased several hundred pounds of milk for their soldiers. In 1861, Borden closed the factory in Burrville, opening the first of what would be many condensed milk factories in upstate New York and Illinois, which were centers of dairy farming.

Around this same time, Borden married his third wife, Emeline Eunice Eno Church.

In 1864, Gail Borden’s New York Condensed Milk Company constructed the New York Milk Condensery in Brewster, New York. This was the largest and most advanced milk factory of its day, and was Borden’s first commercially successful plant. Over 200 dairy farmers supplied 20,000 gallons (76,000 liters) of milk daily to the Brewster plant as demand increased, driven by the American Civil War.

As the Civil War continued, he expanded his New York Condensed Milk Company quickly to meet the growing demand. Many new factories were built and he granted licenses (for pay) to individuals to begin producing condensed milk in their own factories, using Borden’s patent. Despite the quick growth of the company, Borden continued to emphasize strict sanitation. He developed cleanliness practices that continue to be used in the production of condensed milk to this day.

While this rapid growth was occurring, Borden continued to experiment with condensing meat, tea, coffee, and cocoa. In 1862 while operating a factory in Amenia, New York, he patented the condensing of juice from fruits, such as apples and grapes. Borden tried to incorporate these other products into the line of the New York Condensed Milk Company, but the greatest demand was always for milk. It continued as the company’s major product.

Throughout Borden’s business success, he maintained an eye toward the scientific community. He published reports filled with testimonials of “impartial” scientists who observed and tested his inventions, including the meat biscuit and condensed milk. Borden coupled ambition for success with an enduring desire to produce quality products.

The New York Condensed Milk Company changed its name in 1899, to honor Borden. It continued to be a strong corporation. By the 1940s, the Borden Company employed 28,000 people and had a stock holding partnership of 50,000. It dealt with more varied products, ranging from fresh and condensed milk, casein, animal feeds, pharmaceuticals, and vitamins, to soybean creations. A version of the company continues today. Now called Eagle Brand, the company’s website cites its origins in 1856 with the opening of Borden’s first factory (per Wikipedia).

First, a Story:

What do you get from a dwarf cow? Condensed milk.

Second, a Song:

“We Will Rock You” is a song written by Brian May and recorded by British rock band Queen for their 1977 album News of the World. Rolling Stone ranked it number 330 of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 2004, and it placed at number 146 on the Songs of the Century list in 2001. In 2009, “We Will Rock You” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Other than the last 30 seconds, which contains a guitar solo by May, the song is generally set in a cappella form, using only stomping and clapping as a rhythmic body percussion beat. In 1977, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” were issued together as a worldwide top 10 single. Soon after the album was released, many radio stations began playing the songs consecutively and without interruption.

Since its release, “We Will Rock You” has been covered, remixed, sampled, parodied, referred to, and used by multiple recording artists, TV shows, films and other media worldwide. It has also become a popular stadium anthem at sports events around the world, due mostly to its simple rhythm. On 7 October 2017, Queen released a Raw Sessions version of the track to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of News of the World. It features a radically different approach to the guitar solo and includes May’s count-in immediately prior to the recording (from Wikipedia).

The Peterson Farm Bros are made up of Greg (28), Nathan (26), and Kendal (23) Peterson. We are 5th generation family farmers who farm together in Kansas with our parents David and Marla, our sister Laura, and our wives BrookeAnna (Greg’s), Riley (Nathan’s) and Caelan (Kendal’s). This channel is full of videos about our family farm and what we do to take care of animals and grow crops. Our videos range from parodies, to informational videos, to entertainment videos, to our “Life of a Farmer” vlogs. It is our hope that these videos will give everyone who watches them a better understanding of what a real farm in the midwest looks like. We try to be as honest and upfront as possible in our videos and our posts and hope that viewers will realize how much hard work goes into farming! With over 85 million combined views on Facebook and YouTube, you don’t want to miss out! Please subscribe here on YouTube, visit for more info, and make sure to become a fan on Facebook (Peterson Farm Bros), Instagram/SnapChat/Twitter (@petefarmbros) for more posts about what we do! (from

Here is the Peterson Farm Bros performing their parody of “We Will Rock You” by Queen called “We Will Milk Cows!” I hope you enjoy this!


Thought for the Day:

“In Hollywood a marriage is a success if it outlasts milk.” – Rita Rudner

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Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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