BY ELSIE MOREY/OCTOBER 2017
Originally, farmers had three to six cows which provided milk for that family and close neighbors. With time, demand for the cream and milk resulted in milk processors, the creameries. Farmers could bring their cream and milk to the creameries. Did the farmers get paid fairly for their cream and skim? The Cumberland Township Historical Society (CTHS) in conjunction with Dairy Month, June 7, held an unveiling of a Barlow Creamery sign at the original location of the Creamery on the north-east side of the Taneytown Road at Rock Creek in Cumberland Township.
Town Clowney, founding member of the CTHS, served as master of ceremonies. He remarked that since it is dairy month, it is the perfect time to tell the best kept secret in Cumberland Township, the Barlow Creamery.
At the unveiling, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russel Redding remarked it is remembering where we came from, where we are and how crucial it is to kept the dairy industry thriving.
Several earlier important inventions occurred which made the creamery industry possible. Lois Pasteur in the 1860’s discovered acetobactor, a bacterium which causes milk to spoil and found by mild heating of the milk killed the majority of the microorganisms. This increased safety and shelf life. People now learned that they would not become ill by consuming dairy products. Pasteur easily sold more milk than any person in history.
Gail Borden, in 1856, patented the first milk condenser. The condenser was a way to preserve fluid milk for extended periods of time without refrigeration. It removed water at lower temperatures than boiling. The milk lactose did not caramelize or burn. Borden then added sugar which extended shelf life as the fat and the skim did not separate as unhomogenized milk does. This invention made him the largest milk producer in the U.S and contributed greatly to the developing dairy industry. By 1940, Elsie the Borden cow, mascot for Borden Milk Company, was more recognized than President Harry Truman.
Another invention by Carl de Laval in 1879 made possible the continuous flow cream separator. The Laval separator could skim hundreds of gallons of milk/hour. This greatly increased the cream yields from the milk. The yield is so important because the market for butter was huge. Getting higher yields meant greater profit.
In 1890, Steve Babcock was able to determine the solid content of milk. This meant buying or selling milk to a Creamery, butter or cheese manufacture at the fairest price possible. Babcock fat test gave the result of the percent of butterfat in the milk which differed /breed. The Babcock test was to be performed at the world’s fair in 1893 and the Holstein owners withdrew their cows when they learned the Babcock fat test was to be performed on their animals. However, over the years, the Holstein Association led this country’s standardization as they were the first to incorporate this into breed improvements.
Elsie Morey is the president of the board of the Cumberland Township Historical Society.