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Gail Borden : biography

November 9, 1801 - January 11, 1874

Gail Borden, Jr. (November 9, 1801 – January 11, 1874), was a 19th-century U.S. inventor, surveyor, and publisher, and was the inventor of condensed milk in 1853.

Political Career and Early Inventions

In Texas, Borden found a new calling, politics. He was a delegate at the Convention of 1833 where he assisted in writing early drafts of a Texas constitution. He also shared administrative duties with Samuel M. Williams during 1833 and 1834 when Stephen F. Austin was away in Mexico.

Sam Houston appointed Borden as Collector of Customs at Galveston in June 1837. He was very well liked and performed his job well, raising half of the government income during this period through his collection on importations. Houston's successor to the presidency, Mirabeau B. Lamar, removed Borden from office in December 1838 and replaced Borden with a lifelong friend from Mobile, Alabama, the honorable Dr. Willis Roberts, a new arrival to the Republic. Roberts' son later was appointed Secretary of State of the Republic. Lamar was said to have known Roberts for 25 years. However, Borden had been so well liked that the newcomer was resented. The Galveston News frequently criticized the new regime about malfeasance.

When a shortage of funds came to light, Roberts offered to put up several personal houses and nine slaves as collateral until the matter could be settled. It was later determined that two resentful desk clerks had been embezzling funds, but this came too late for the hapless doctor, who lasted in the job only until December 1839. Any hopes Borden had of reinstatement were dashed when Lamar appointed someone else. Houston later re-appointed Borden to the post and he served December 1841 to April 1843, resigning over a dispute with President Houston. Borden had since turned his attention to real estate matters.Borden found a position at the Galveston City Company where he served for twelve years as a secretary and agent. During his time at the Galveston City Company, he helped sell 2,500 lots of land, for a total of $1,500,000.

It was during his time as an employee of the Galveston City Company that Borden first began to experiment. After the death of his first wife, Penelope, on September 5, 1844 from yellow fever, Borden began experimenting with finding a cure to the disease via refrigeration. He also developed an unsuccessful prototype for a terraqueous machine. This was a sail powered wagon designed to travel over land and sea that he completed in 1848. By 1849, however, Borden has lost interest in his other endeavors and was focused on a condensed beef-broth and flour mixture that he had created. Borden believed strongly in this product, which he marketed as a beef biscuit pemmican, and it would come to be his sole focus. It was also during this time of early experimentation that Borden met and married his second wife A.F. Stearns.

Borden immediately got to work marketing his new beef biscuit and in 1850, it was endorsed by the U.S. Army. He was also able to sell them to Dr. Elisha Kane for use on his Arctic expeditions in the 1850s. The appeal of the meat biscuit rested in the fact it would not spoil. This meant it could be easily transported across land or sea. In 1851, Borden travelled to England to attend the Great Council Exhibition in London, where his beef biscuit won a gold medal. These early successes inspired Borden to leave Texas for New York City in hopes of successfully marketing the beef biscuit to a wide audience. His efforts, however, proved unsuccessful and left him almost completely broke.A common criticism about Borden is that he did not wait for the demand to grow for his food products. Instead, he tried to create demand. Luckily for Borden, while marketing the beef biscuit he had also been working on a process for condensing milk through a vacuum producing pure, long lasting condensed milk.

Later Years and Memorials

Borden died in 1874 in Borden in Colorado County, Texas. His body was shipped by private car to New York City to be buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine