The company was founded by Gail Borden, Jr., in 1857 in Connecticut as “Gail Borden, Jr., and Company.” Its primary product was condensed milk. Struggling financially, the company was saved when Jeremiah Milbank, a partner in the wholesale food distributor I. & R. Milbank & Co. and the son-in-law of banker Joseph Lake, agreed to invest and acquired 50 percent of the stock. The company changed its name in 1858 to the New York Condensed Milk Company. The company prospered during the Civil War by selling condensed milk to Union armies.
Borden began selling processed milk to consumers in 1875, and pioneered the use of glass milk bottles in 1885. Borden began selling evaporated milk in 1892, and expanded into Canada in 1895.
Borden, Inc., was an American producer of food and beverage products, consumer products, and industrial products. At one time, the company was the largest U.S. producer of dairy and pasta products.
Its food division, Borden Foods, was based in Columbus, Ohio, and focused primarily on pasta and pasta sauces, bakery products, snacks, processed cheese, jams and jellies, and ice cream.
It was best known for its Borden Ice Cream, Meadow Gold milk, Creamette pasta, and Borden Condensed Milk brands.
Its consumer products and industrial segment marketed wallpaper, adhesives, plastics and resins. By 1993, sales of food products accounted for 67 percent of its revenues. It was also known for its Elmer’s Glue and Krazy Glue.
Elsie the Cow
Elsie the Cow is a cartoon cow developed as a mascot for the Borden Dairy Company in 1936 to symbolize the “perfect dairy product”. Since the demise of Borden in the mid-1990s the character has continued to be used in the same capacity for the company’s partial successor, Eagle Brand, owned by The J.M. Smucker Company.
Named one of the Top 10 Advertising Icons of the [20th] Century by Ad Age in 2000, Elsie the Cow has been among the most recognizable product logos in the United States and Canada.
The cartoon Elsie was created in 1936 by a team headed by advertising creative director David William Reid.
Elsie first appeared as one of four cartoon cows (with Mrs. Blossom, Bessie and Clara) in a 1936 magazine advertisement series featured in medical journals. By 1939, she was featured in her own advertisement campaign that was voted “best of the year” by the Jury of the 1939 Annual Advertising Awards.
The first living Elsie was a registered Jerseyheifer selected while participating in Borden’s 1939 New York World’s Fair “Rotolactor” exhibit (demonstrating the company’s invention, the rotary milking parlor). The most alert cow at the demonstration, she was born at Elm Hill Farm in Brookfield, Massachusettsand named “You’ll Do, Lobelia”. After being purchased from her owners, family farmers from Connecticut, she spent the rest of the season on display twice each day dressed in an embroidered green blanket and after the exhibit, she traveled around the country making public appearances.
Elsie had a fictional, cartoon mate, Elmer the Bull, who was created in 1940 and lent to Borden’s then chemical-division as the mascot for Elmer’s Glue. The pair was given offspring Beulah and Beauregard in 1948, and twins Larabee and Lobelia in 1957.
In 1940, the actual cow Elsie appeared in the film, Little Men as “Buttercup”. For a time in the mid-1940s, the cartoon Elsie was voiced by Hope Emerson. Elsie and her cartoon calves were featured in Elsie’s Boudoir at Freedomland U.S.A., a theme parkdepicting America’s history located in The Bronx, from 1960 to 1963. A live cow representing Elsie appeared on stage at the Borden’s exhibit in the Better Living Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, in a musical revue with a score by the Broadway composer Kay Swift.
Elsie has been bestowed such tongue-in-cheek honorary university degrees as Doctor of Bovinity, Doctor of Human Kindness, and Doctor of Ecownomics. In Wisconsin, home of the Dairy Princess, Elsie was named Queen of Dairyland. The Seneca people named her an honorary chief, and the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut, presented her with their P. T. Barnum Award of Showmanship.