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Beef and lamb were quickly added to the line. At the time meat processing was a seasonal business limited to cold weather months. There was no system other than salt cure to preserve perishable meat. Armour had converted the meat business into a year-round industry. He not only now offered Americans fresh meat daily but he created an ice industry and stimulated the transport of live hogs for slaughter in Chicago rather than on the farms where they were raised.
He built the massive Union Stock Yards in For the first time more hogs than pork carcasses arrived in Chicago. In the first crude refrigerator railroad cars and ships, known as reefers, began to appear and Armour's markets spread across the globe. He created an oval-shaped label bearing the legend "Armour Star Ham" which became one of the best known trademarks in the history of the American food business.
The star appeared in yellow on a dark blue background and told buyers they were getting the very best ham on the market. It was the first of nearly Armour trademarks. In Plankinton retired from the business and in Armour finally retired from his business in Milwaukee, where he had lived until , to devote himself to the bustling Chicago empire.
The Armours controlled vast grain and feed interests, owned their own railroad cars, and had distribution plants across the country. Armour added a department to sell pepsin - a digestive aid - which became the forerunner of the Armour Pharmaceutical Company. Other industries included oleomargarine , ammonia , fertilizer , curled hair for cushions , laundry soap , glycerine , brushes and sandpaper Armour was a robust man with sandy hair and red whiskers.
He conducted conferences every day with one department head or another to keep reign on his wide-reaching ventures which employed 20, people. But one manager he made certain to meet with every day was the Reverend Dr. Frank Gunsauius, who advised Armour regarding all his charities. The man who built one of the most splendid enterprises of the 19th century began to fade away with the end of the epoch. He became sick in and died early in It is known that the Aztec Indians of Central America used chocolate as many as 3, years ago, mixing cultivated cacao beans into a frothy drink.
Columbus was served the drink on a voyage in and other explorers started trading in the exotic flavor, which rapidly gained. The American chocolate business did not begin, however, until when Massachusetts sea captains sailed to the West Indies to trade cargoes of fish for the precious cocoa beans. The beans were sold to apothecaries who would grind the beans into a medicine. This is how James Baker, a Dorchester, Massachusetts physician came to know chocolate.
The water-powered mill opened on the banks of the Neponset River in the center of Dorchester. It sold ground chocolate and also milled beans brought in by others. Meanwhile Baker was experimenting with other recipes for chocolate. He leased space in a local paper mill and in sold his first chocolate. In Hannon sailed for the West Indies in search of greater supplies of cocoa beans.
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His fate is uncertain but he was never heard from again. James Baker retired in and the chocolate business remained in family hands for nearly another years. Other chocolate factories ground beans throughout the United States but none seemed as efficient as the Baker mills. And today, over years later, the Baker name remains synonymous with unsweetened and semi-sweet baking chocolate in America. It is the oldest American concern manufacturing the same product in the same location.
Clarence Birdseye had been coming to the Arctic north since vacation breaks from Amherst College, and later, as a naturalist for the United States Biological Survey. Now, in , the year old Birdseye returned to Labrador as a fur trader and medical missionary. The house which the scientist and his young family occupied was but a tiny cottage perched on storm-gnawed rock above the Labrador Sea.
Outside, the great grey wall of an Arctic winter pressed upon them.
Here, amid the towering snowdrifts and biting Arctic wind, was born "the most revolutionary idea in the history of food. Birdseye hunted and fished to provide food for his wife and weeks-old child. The deer carcasses he hung outside the cottage quickly froze into blocks of meat sliced only by axe. Fish drawn through a hole in the ice congealed in the middle of a flip.
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Birdseye came to realize that his frozen meat and fish retained their fresh flavor. Cold storage meat, however, always lost much of its original flavor in the freezing process. What was it about the natural freezing process in Labrador that preserved the flavor of food? Birdseye returned home to Gloucester, Massachusetts and began a series of experiments in the freezing of food.
Eventually Birdseye came to realize it was the quick freezing that sealed in the flavor and freshness - and remained sealed in until the food was thawed and cooked.
Fresh, perishable food was cleaned and prepared and then wrapped in moisture-proof cellophane. The packages, with the food at the peak of freshness, were plunged into a patented Birdseye Quick-Freezing Machine at minus degrees. Since the food was frozen in the package no flavor-enhancing juices escaped. Birdseye frozen foods cooked and handled just like fresh foods. He had perfected a new freezing process. And the business failed.
The process was a success but the manufacturing and distribution were not. Retailers were not ready to invest in specialized refrigeration equipment necessary to merchandise the frozen food. Birdseye hocked his life insurance and tried again. This time he got it right. In Birdseye and three partners formed the General Seafoods Company and a year later quick-frozen fish filets fresh off the Gloucester wharfs were available.
Soon Birdseye Foods included more than varieties of meats, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Housewives quickly adjusted to the cooking directions on the new frozen food packages. It was the largest sum ever paid for a patent up to that time. The name of the company was immediately changed to General Foods Corporations, which made back their investment hundreds of times over.
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One of his hobbies was whale tracking, leading to his perfection of a kickless harpoon gun. In he devised a method for dehydrating food. He continued working in the frozen food field and was single-handedly responsible for every important development in the young industry. All told he received nearly patents before his death in For much of his life Gail Borden drifted through early 19th century America waiting for the times to catch up with his creative mind.
Borden was born in New York state in and worked his way to Texas as a surveyor, school teacher, farmer and customs collector. Austin in the movement that freed the region from Mexican rule. Working as a newspaper publisher he penned the famous headline "Remember The Alamo! Borden was of intensely religious Puritan stock and turned to invention to better serve God by improving living conditions. He battled yellow fever with ether, invented the Lazy Susan, and devised a "terraqueous machine" - a prairie schooner with sails to use in crossing rivers.
It was the forerunner of amphibious vehicles used in World War II years later but when he demonstrated his sail-powered wagon it overturned, dumping his select group of guests into the Gulf of Mexico fifty feet from shore. He developed a meat biscuit that was all but inedible but he believed it would be the ideal food for the army, navy and explorers. On the journey back he watched horrified as children died from drinking contaminated milk. While futilely promoting his meat biscuit Borden began experiments with condensing milk.
In he developed a milk of good flavor with excellent keeping qualities. Borden thought it was the condensing that kept the milk fresh for long periods of time. In fact it was the high temperatures he employed that destroyed disease-carrying bacteria as the world would later learn from Dr. Borden had produced not only the first condensed milk but the first "pasteurized" milk as well.
He applied for a patent which was finally granted three years later. Gail Borden was 55 years old. He had a patent but he had no market, no money, no credit. He persuaded one man, on the strength of a handshake and his earnestness, to give him use of equipment in his Wolcottville, Connecticut factory. The company failed. So did another.
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On a train trip home to New York the gregarious Borden struck up a conversation with the stranger sitting opposite him. His factory was a small mill in the town of Burrville, Connecticut. The nation was finally fed up with dangerous, unclean milk. Condensed milk caught on quickly.