Year Keyword Event  and Description
1690 fp fr Whaling F Nantucket colonists launch an offshore whaling industry. They have sent to the mainland for Cape Cod shipwright-whaler Ichabod Paddock, who has set up watch towers and instructed the islanders (see 1659; 1712). 
1775 fp fr Whaling F The New Bedford, Massachusetts, whaling fleet reaches 80 vessels. More than 280 whaling ships put out from American ports, 220 of them from Massachusetts (see 1751; 1845). 
1791 fp ir Grain F Oliver Evans patents an “automated mill” in which power that turns the millstones also conveys wheat (grist) to the top of the mill (see 1787). 
1814 fp * Can F England’s Donkin-Hall factory introduces the first foods to be sold commercially in tins (see 1810; Dagett and Kensett, 1819). 
1853 fp * Co. F Potato chips are invented at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where chef George Crum of Moon’s Lake House gives a mocking response to a patron who has complained that his French fries are too thick. He shaves some potatoes paper thin and sends them out to the customers—who are delighted, order more, and encourage Crum to open a restaurant of his own across the lake. Crum’s new restaurant will take no reservations and millionaires including Jay Gould and Commodore van Derbilt will stand in line along with everyone else (see Wise, 1921; Lay’s, 1939). 
1853 fp fd Borden F Gail Borden succeeds in his efforts to produce condensed milk (see 1851). Using vacuum pails obtained from Shakers at New Lebanon, N.Y., he finds a formula for a product that has no burnt taste or discolor-ation and lasts for nearly 3 days without souring. Borden travels to Washington to file a patent claim (see 1855). 
1857 fp fd Borden F Commercial production of his condensed milk begins at Burrville, Conn., where Borden has opened a condensing plant with financial backing from New York grocery wholesaler Jeremiah Milbank, 39, whom he has met by chance on a train. Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper helps Borden’s sales by crusading against “swill milk” from Brooklyn cows fed on distillery mash. Samples of Borden’s product are carried through the streets of New York and now meet with more success (see 1856; New York Condensed Milk Co., 1858). 
1858 fp * Can F The Mason jar, patented by New York metalworker John Landis Mason, 26, is a glass container with a thread molded into its top and a zinc lid with a threaded ring sealer. Mason’s reusable jar, made at first by Whitney Glass Works of Glassboro, N.J., will free farm families from having to rely on pickle barrels, root cellars, and smoke houses to get through the winter. Urban families, too, will use Mason jars to put up excess fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes, berries, relish, and pickles, and the jars will soon be sealed with paraffin wax, a by-product of kerosene (see Drake, 1859; Ball brothers, 1887). 
1863 fp fs Sugar F Bay Sugar Refining Co. is founded by German-American entrepreneur Claus Spreckels, 35, who has prospered as a San Francisco grocer and brewer since 1856 (see 1868). 
1864 fp * Armour F Armour Packing Co. has its beginnings in a Milwaukee pork-packing firm started in partnership with John Plankinton by local commission merchant Philip Danforth Armour, 32, who has made nearly $2 million in 90 days selling short in the New York pork market. Armour went to California in his teens, dug sluiceways for gold miners at $5 to $10 per day, saved $8,000 in 5 years to give himself the wherewithal to start his business at Milwaukee, and has traveled to New York where he found pork selling at $40 per barrel. Foreseeing a Union victory as Gen. Grant prepared to march on Richmond, Armour sold short at more than $33 per barrel, covered his sales at $18 per barrel, and has made a fortune  (see 1868). 
1865 fp fm Meat F Chicago’s Union Stock Yards open December 25 on a 345-acre tract of reclaimed swampland southwest of the city limits.
1868 fp fm Armour F Chicago meat packer P. D. Armour adds a second plant as business booms. Armour, who moved from Milwaukee last year, has with his partner John Plankinton invested $160,000 to take over a slaughterhouse on Archer Avenue and set up under the name Armour & Co. (see 1864; 1869). 
1868 fp fs Sugar F Claus Spreckles of San Francisco patents a sugar-refining method that takes just 8 hours instead of the usual 3 weeks (see
1869 fp * Heinz F H. J. Heinz Co. has its beginnings at Sharpsburg, Pa., where local entrepreneur Henry John Heinz, 24, goes into business with partner L. C. Noble to pack processed horseradish in clear bottles, competing with horseradish packed in green bottles to disguise the fact that it often contains turnip fillers. Heinz has employed several local women for nearly a decade to help him supply Pittsburgh grocers with the surplus from his garden (see 1875). 
1870 fp fc Co. F Cincinnati’s Gaff, Fleischmann markets compressed yeast wrapped in tinfoil that permits shipment anywhere; the yeast becomes popular even with ultraconservative bakers (see 1868; 1876). 
1872 fp ff Fruit A The Burbank potato developed by Massachusetts horticulturist Luther Burbank, 23, from a chance seedling is an improved variety that will provide Burbank with funds for developing other new varieties. He will introduce not only new potato varieties but also new tomatoes, asparagus, sweet and field corn, peas, squash, apples, cherries, nectarines, peaches, quinces, ornamental flowers, and—most especially—plums, prunes, and berries (see 1875). 
1874 fp * Can F New technology improves food canning—a drop press introduced by Allen Taylor and a pressure-cooking “retort” either by A. K. Shriver or Baltimore canner Isaac Solomon (see 1861). Live steam keeps the outside walls of the can under pressures comparable to those exerted by the heating contents of the can, thus speeding up the cooking of the contents without permitting the can to buckle or burst as it cools because of any buildup in pressure during the heating process. The retort gives canners accurate control of cooling temperatures and will lead to a large-scale expansion of the industry (see Howe floater, 1876). 
1874 fp * Pillsbury F A Minneapolis flour mill employing fluted chilled steel rollers in addition to conventional millstones is opened by C. C. Washburn who has made a fortune in Wisconsin land speculation and served as governor of Wisconsin (see 1866; 1879; Pillsbury, 1878; Gold Medal Flour, 1880). 
1875 fp ff Fruit A Navel oranges are produced at Riverside, Calif., by Jonathan and Eliza C. Tibbetts who 2 years ago obtained two trees from the USDA at Washington which in 1871 received a dozen budded seedlings from Bahia, Brazil. The seedless winter-ripening fruit are the first ever seen in the United States and will be called Washington oranges (because the first trees came from Washington) as they proliferate to dominate California groves (see Valencias, 1906). 
1875 fp ff Fruit A Luther Burbank establishes a nursery at Santa Rosa, Calif., with money obtained from the sale of his 1872 Burbank potato. He will develop new forms of food and ornamental plant life by selection and cross-fertilization (see Shull, 1905). 
1878 fp fs Sugar F Beet sugar extraction mills are demonstrated at the Paris World Exhibition. Most European countries will be encouraged by the Paris exhibit to plant sugar beets and build factories (see 1811; 1880). 
1881 fp fm Swift F Chicago meat packer Gustavus F. Swift perfects a refrigerator car to take Chicago-dressed meat to eastern butchers (see 1877). Sides of meat hang from overhead rails inside the car, and when it reaches its destination the rails are hooked up with rails inside the customer’s cold storage building, making it easy to slide the meat from railcar to cold store without loss of time or change of temperature. The efficiency of Swift’s system, beginning with a disassembly line from the moment of slaughter to the butchering of carcasses into primal sections, will lower the price of meat in New York, New England, and down the Atlantic seaboard. 
1887 fp fs American Sugar F New York sugar refiner Henry Osborne Havemeyer, 40, founds Sugar Refineries Co. His 17 refineries account for 78 percent of U.S. refining capacity (see American Sugar Refining, 1891). 
1890 fp fm Co. F Cudahy Packing is founded by Irish-American meatpacker Michael Cudahy, 38, who was brought into the business 3 years ago by P. D. Armour, has gone into partnership with Armour in South Omaha, and now takes over Armour’s interest in Armour-Cudahy Packing. Cudahy will introduce methods for curing meats under refrigeration and develop improved railroad cars, making it possible to cure meat all year round and transport it to distant cities. 
1891 fp fs American Sugar F American Sugar Refining is incorporated in New Jersey by H. O. Havemeyer whose 4-year-old Sugar Refineries Co. is dissolved by the New York courts. The new company begins taking over the entire U.S. sugar industry in one colossal trust (see 1892). 
1897 fp * Can F The introduction of double seams and improved crimping of body and ends makes tin cans more reliable (see 1876;
1897 fp * Campbell F Campbell Preserve Co. chemist John T. Dorrance, 24, works to develop double-strength “condensed” soup that will give Campbell’s soup dominance in the industry. A nephew of company president Arthur Dorrance, John has degrees from MIT and the University of Göttingen and persuades his uncle to hire him as researche(see 1894)
1897 fp fs American Sugar F American Sugar Refining makes a deal with Claus Spreckels in San Francisco to eliminate competition (see 1891; 1895;
1901 fp * Can E American Can Co. is created by a merger of 175 U.S. can makers engineered by W. H. Moore and Indiana banker Daniel Reid. The Can Trust turns out 90 percent of U.S. tin-plated steel cans.  
1905 fp * Meat J Upton Sinclair exposes U.S. meat-packing conditions in The Jungle . The 308-page best seller has eight pages devoted to such matters as casual meat inspection, lamb and mutton that is really goat meat, deviled ham that is really red-dyed minced tripe, sausage that contains rats killed by poisoned bread, and lard that sometimes contains the remains of employees who have fallen into the boiling vats. Many readers turn vegetarian, sales of meat products fall off, and Congress is aroused (Meat Inspection 1906) 
1923 fp * df F Irradiating foods with ultraviolet light can make them rich sources of vitamin D, says University of Wisconsin biochemist Harry Steenbock, 37, and he files for a patent on his discovery. Researchers including Alfred Hess at Columbia University have found that ultraviolet light from the sun and from mercury vapor lamps can cure rickets (see McCollum, 1922), Steenbock has followed up on their studies, and he has found that stimulating the provitamins in foods can enable the human liver to convert them into vitamin D (see 1927; Rosenheim and Webster, 1926). 
1938 fp * Philip Morris F Dewey and Almy in Boston develop the Cryovac deep-freezing method of food preservation (see Birdseye, 1925). 
1939 fp ha Kitchen F The pressure cooker, introduced at the World’s Fair by National Presto Industries, is a saucepan-like pot with a locking swivel lid. It does in minutes what used to take hours (see 1682). 
1953 fp * Meat F U.S. meat packers begin moving out of Chicago to plants closer to western feedlots (see 1865; 1960). 
1960 fp * IBP F Iowa Beef Processors (IBP) is founded at Denison, Iowa, by former Sioux City cattle buyers who include Currier J.
1971 fp * Meat F The Chicago Union Stock Yards that opened Christmas Day 1865 close July 30 as meat packers continue to move their
1981 fp fs Monsanto F Aspartame gains FDA approval for tabletop use October 22. U.S. chemist James M. Schlatter discovered in 1955 while