The History of Horlick Malted Milk Company
The name of no productive industry of the United States is
perhaps more widely known than that of the Horlick Malted Milk
Company, the business of which has developed until it reaches into
all parts of the civilized world. The company was organized in 1875
and was incorporated in 1878 as the Horlick Food Company by
William Horlick and James Horlick, brothers, who established
their plant in the outskirts of Racine, in Mount Pleasant Township.
They began to manufacture a product known as Horlick's Food, which
was a prepared food for infants, invalids and the aged, to be added
to milk to modify and enrich it. Their sales at that time covered
only Chicago and vicinity.
William Horlick, however, realized the great disadvantage of all
foods for infants that required the addition of fresh milk, owing to
the difficulty of obtaining fresh milk and keeping it so. He
therefore began experimenting with the purpose of producing a pure
food product containing an adequate proportion of pure, rich milk-a
food that would be complete in itself, that would keep indefinitely
in any climate and would be free from all the dangers arising from
the use of milk that is impure, adulterated, laden with disease
germs or in any way rendered unfit for use. Moreover, he desired
that this food should be not only absolutely safe but very
nourishing and easily digested by the most delicate infant or
invalid, while it should contain at the same time all the elements
of nutrition. In carrying on the work of experimentation Mr. Horlick
met with many disappointments and leading chemists claimed that it
was both a chemical and mechanical impossibility to perfect such a
food, advising him to abandon the idea. He never faltered in his
purpose, however, notwithstanding his heavy losses of time and
expense, and at the end of six years, or in 1887, he produced for
the first time in the world's history a food product in powder form
containing clean, rich milk combined with extract of malted barley
and wheat that would keep indefinitely. The value of such a product
was at once apparent and the business grew by leaps and bounds, so
that it was difficult to make the supply meet the demand. A program
of building was instituted. New buildings were added from time to
time of reinforced concrete construction and the plant today covers
an area of fifteen acres. In 1902 plant No. 2 was built,- being a
duplicate of plant No. 1, and in 1905 plant No. 3 came into
existence, a triplicate of the others, but subject to enlargement.
Since then the old buildings have all been rebuilt in concrete and
steel. All rooms are large and well lighted and there is a perfect
fire protection. Sanitation and cleanliness are among the basic
elements of the business. There is a forced system of ventilation
throughout the plant, the air being washed by sprays of water.
Source: Racine, Belle City of the lakes, and Racine County, Wisconsin : a record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement; Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1916, 1216 pgs.
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