Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Shakers, inventions, patents, milk and a new history quest!

Brother Hollister and his inventio

When putting on an event, even a little one…I end up with a whole group of interesting history tidbits I planned to write a blog about.  So this week I am going to share a few and try to catch up with the backlog.

While doing research on next years lecture, which includes much history on the Shakers of New York State…Sodus, Groveland and Niskayuna… and another Eaton book on Patents... I ran across a tidbit that put me on another history quest.

The Shakers were a very ingenious group of people of varied backgrounds that wished to use everything God gave them to the betterment of mankind.  It was like a mantra to them.  So they invented many machines and laborsaving devices that they never patented.  They felt that if God sent them this idea as a “gift” they should let mankind (the World’s People) benefit from it. 

One such gift is a mainstream item we get use from today.  No it is not the close pin or the circular saw that they are noted for inventing…no not the washing machine…. but an evaporator.

The Shakers were the first organized company that sold herbal remedies to the new world market.  Yes herbs… like today’s modern herbal cures… as I always say, “Everything old is new again”. 

The Shakers dried, bottled, and shipped herbal remedies around the world.  The cures were celebrated, but to preserve the quality of their distilled herbs Brother Alonzo Hollister invented an evaporator.  The evaporator dried the herbs at a lower temperature using a vacuum.

Here enters a visitor to the Shakers, a man who became fascinated with the machine and idea of preservation by evaporation. He began experimenting with the idea of drying food using evaporation and vacuum. He patented the machine, as Patent RE2103.  Brother Hollister’s visitor’s name was Gail Borden.

It seems Gail and his brother John Borden were the publishers of a newspaper, the Telegraph and Texas Register.  Selling his shares in the paper after his brother left, a paper that was often in financial trouble, he became a mover in Texas politics and helped write the early drafts of the Texas Constitution.  From there Borden who seemed to be in financial trouble often went into real estate, eventually looking for a way to make money by making a dried beef product.

After a wave of milk contamination swept the nation… he decided to try to dry milk using the evaporating and vacuum method he had seen … and the product and evaporator were patented to him in 1856… this product made him a fortune and started the Borden’s Milk Company... makers of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk a… product that was in great demand by the outbreak of the Civil War.

Today Borden’s is still making the product and we as “the worlds people” are still benefitting from Shaker Brother Hollister’s invention…an idea that was a “gift”.

History quest are fun don’t you think? Here is video I did on Niskayuna near Albany...Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Get daily suggestions and instructions for generating $1,000s per day ONLINE totally FREE.