Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Genius is two percent inspiration, ninety-eight percent perspiration.”
more quiz questions >>
Thumbnail of Gail Borden (source)
Gail Borden
(9 Nov 1801 - 11 Jan 1874)

American manufacturer, inventor and food scientist who invented a commercial method of condensing milk to preserve it.


Borden's Meat Biscuit

Articles from: Scientific American (1850)


The Scientific American periodical was published in New York.

6 Feb 1850

LIST OF PATENTS CLAIMS
ISSUED FROM THE UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE

For the week ending February 9, 1830.

To Gail Borden, Jr., of Galveston, Texas, for preparation of portable Soup Bread.

I do not claim the extract of flesh made into what is known as portable soup; but I claim the new and useful manufacture of desiccated soup-bread, formed of the concentrated extract of alimentary animal substances, combined with vegetable flour or meal, made into cakes and baked into bread, in the manner substantially as herein described, for the purpose set forth.

[This is one of the most valuable inventions that has ever been brought forward, and will be the means of enabling travellers and mariners to enjoy both vegetable and flesh in a most dainty dish at any moment, and what is better, a traveller may carry a month’s provisions in a small tin case. It is now used exclusively by Texan vessels sailing from Galveston.]

From: Scientific American, Vol. 5, No. 22, 174. (source)

23 Mar 1850

New Article of Food - Meat Biscuit.

Some time since we noticed a new kind of Meat Biscuit, or “Portable Desiccated Soup Bread,” invented by Mr. Gail Borden, Jr., a highly respectable citizen of Galveston, Texas. The discovery being fully secured by a patent recently granted, we will give a brief but clear description of it, as it is an invention of the first importance, both to our own country, and it may be said, to the whole human race. The nature of this discovery consists in preserving the concentrated nutritious properties of flesh meat of any kind, combining it with flour and baking it into biscuits. One pound of this bread contains the extract of more than five pounds of the best meat—(containing its usual proportion of bone)—and one ounce of it will make a pint of rich soup. Biscuits by Mr. Borden’s process may be made of beef, veal, fowl's flesh, oysters, &c., and thus in a compact form the very essence of agricultural products, fitted for the traveller or mariner, or for the dwellers in distant cities, may be transported by sea or land, from distant rural districts, where flesh meat is comparatively cheap.

In a letter to Dr. Ashbel Smith, Mr. Borden thus relates the way he made this discovery:

"I was endeavoring to make some portable meat glue (the common kind known) for some friends who were going to California—I had set up a large kettle and evaporating pan, and after two days labour I reduced one hundred and twenty pounds of veal to ten pounds of extract, of a consistence like melted glue and molasses; the weather was warm and rainy, it being the middle of July. I could not dry it either in or out of the house, and unwilling to lose my labour, it occured to me, after various expedients, to mix the article with good flour and bake it. To my great satisfaction, the bread was found to contain all the primary principles of meat, and with a better flavor than simple veal soup, thickened with flour in the ordinary method.

This process of mixing and baking, I found to be easily and quickly done, and to answer the double purpose of concentrating in the same cake, the nutritious properties of animal and vegetable food, so essential to the healthful sustenance of man. This extract of animal flesh may also be combined with corn, or other vegetable meal, and for some marine purposes, I intend to employ the potato and other ascorbutic vegetables, having farinaceous qualities, to desiccate he extract."

Dr. Smith., a gentleman of scientific reputation, has communicated a paper on the subject to Prof. Bache, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He says,—" I have several times eaten of the soup made of this meat biscuit,” and thus describes the manner of making it:

“The nutritive portions of beef or other meat, immediately on its being slaughtered, are, by long boiling, separated from the bones and fibrous and cartilaginous matters: the water holding the nutritious matters in solution, is evaporated to a considerable degree of spissitude—this is then made into a dough with firm wheaten flour, the dough rolled and cut into a form of biscuits, is then desiccated, or baked in an oven at a moderate heat. The cooking, both of the flour and the animal food, is thus complete. The meat biscuits thus prepared have the appearance and firmness of the nicest crackers or navy bread, being as dry, and breaking or pulverizing as readily as the most carefully made table crackers. It is preserved in the form of biscuit, or reduced to coarse flour or meal. It is best kept in tin cases hermetically soldered up ; the exclusion of air is not important, humidity alone is to be guarded against.

I have seen some of the biscuit perfectly fresh and sound that have been hanging in sacks since last July in Mr. Borden’s kitchen: and it is to be borne in mind, that in this climate articles contract moisture and moulder promptly, unless kept dry by artificial heat.

For making soup of the meat biscuit, a batter is first made of the pulverized biscuit and cold water—this is stirred into boilling water—the boiling is continued some ten or twenty minutes—salt, pepper, and other condiments are added to suit the taste, and the soup is ready for the table. I have eaten the soup several times,—it has the fresh, lively, clean, and thoroughly done or cooked flavor that used to form the charm of the soups of the Rocher de Cancale. It is perfectly free from that vapid unctuous stale taste which characterizes all prepared soups I have heretofore tried at sea and elsewhere. Those chemical changes in food which, in common language, we denominate cooking, have been perfectly effected in Mr. Borden’s biscuit by the long continued boiling at first, and the subsequent baking or roasting. The soup prepared of it is thus ready to be absorbed into the system without loss, and without tedious digestion in the alimentary canal, and is in the highest degree nutritious and invigorating.

The paramount excellence of Mr. B.’s discovery, appears to me to consist in this, that it is a meat biscuit—it is meat and bread.—Human life may be sustained, as we all know, on a diet of a single kind, but the highest degree of corporeal and mental strength and health can long be maintained only by the use of both vegetable and animal food; especially when labors, fatigues and privations are to be undergone. I believe there does not exist in nature or art the same amount of nutriment in as small bulk or weight, and as well adapted to support, efficiently and permanently, mental and physical vigor, as is concentrated in the meat biscuit in question. One ounce of the biscuit meal makes a pint of rich, invigorating animal and farinaceous soup by its combination with water, all the requirements of a good food are answered, animal and vegetable aliment in a sufficient bulky form.

We publish the remarks of Dr. Smith, as explanative of the process of making it, and to show the opinion of a scientific man on the subject. We have also partaken of this soup bread, and consider it to be a most excellent discovery, one invaluable to the geologist, surveyor, traveller and voyager. Two pounds of it will supply one man for a week, and fourteen pounds will support him for a month. It provides the means of making the journey through the wilderness, to the promised land on the borders of the Pacific, comparatively easy.


From: Scientific American, Vol. 5, No. 27, 213. (source)


See also:
  • quotes button Science Quotes by Gail Borden.
  • todayinsci icon 9 Nov - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Borden's birth.
  • todayinsci icon Awards were presented for Borden's “Meat Biscuit” at exhibitions both home and abroad. At the London Great Exhibition, first class medals recognized Borden's invention, in the company of other American winners such as McCormick's “Virginia Reaper,” and Goodyear's “India Rubber Fabrics.”
  • todayinsci icon Condensed Milk - Borden's invention drew competitors, as shown in this Manufacturer and Builder article (May 1878).
  • todayinsci icon Borden's Condensed Milk - was his great invention that launched his very successful diary company supplying his Eagle brand milk to cities distant from farm supply. It was also the subject of several Scientific American articles.
  • todayinsci icon Gail Borden and his Inventions - Links to articles on his inventions on this site.
  • todayinsci icon Gail Borden - A biography published in 1866 from A History of American Manufactures from 1608 to 1860.
  • todayinsci icon Military Use of Borden's Meat Biscuit was recognized as highly suitable for meal rations, and was favorably compared in the Scientific American periodical against the difficulties experienced by other countries having to preserve meats for their military needs.
  • todayinsci icon Gail Borden's First Invention was patented under the title “Preparation of Portable Soup-Bread”, issued as U.S. Patent No. 7,066, on 5 Feb 1850.
  • todayinsci icon Gail Borden's Condensed Milk Patent gives Borden's description of his method in U.S. Patent No. 15,553 issued 19 Aug 1856 - the first effective commercial process in the U.S. for condensing and preserving milk.
  • todayinsci icon Gail Borden's Fruit Juice Concentrating Patent shows his continuing interest in preserving more types of food detailed in U.S. Patent 35,919, issued 22 July 1862, titled “Improvement in Concentrating and Preserving For Use Cider and Other Juices of Fruits.”
  • book icon Gail Borden: Dairyman to a Nation, by Joe Bertram Frantz. - book suggestion.
  • booklist icon Booklist for Gail Borden.

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
Quotations by: • Albert Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)

Author Icon
who invites your feedback

Today in Science History

Most Popular

Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.
- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton