Have you ever used a can of condensed milk to make fudge or poured a little in your morning coffee? You’ve got a man from Norwich to thank for being able to do that.

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When Gail Borden was born in Norwich on November 9, 1801, his parents likely had no idea that child would grow up to become a true American pioneer whose ingenuity would help to transform the dairy industry and improve the lives of millions of people.

Although he was born in Norwich, Borden spent the majority of his formative years in Kentucky and Indiana where he studied land surveying. As an adult, Borden would move to Mississippi where he taught school and worked as a surveyor. Borden would then move again, this time to Texas in 1829, where he worked as a land surveyor, newspaper publisher, and inventor.

It was in 1853 that Borden would invent something that would drastically improve the diet of the American people. Borden invented a process to make sweetened condensed milk. The process involved heating milk in a vacuum to remove much of the water content, and then adding sugar to preserve it.

The ingenuity of Borden's process made it possible to preserve milk without refrigeration which in turn meant that milk was made more available to those who lived far from dairy farms. The invention also made it possible for soldiers and sailors to have a reliable source of milk while on long trips or in the field.

Borden called his condensed milk, "Borden's Eagle Brand" and the Borden Dairy Company was founded in 1857. The Borden Dairy Company would become one of the largest dairy companies in the United States and would also play a significant role in the development of the American dairy industry.

Nearly 200 years later, Borden’s Eagle Brand is still found on grocery store shelves.

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