Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company

Until the nineteenth century, pure, fresh milk was a prized commodity in towns and cities across Europe. Cows produce more milk in spring than they do in autumn. In addition to seasonality, there was another problem in the past. Milk was often a major carrier of disease, as refrigeration was uncommon and it quickly spoiled.

This was the situation that Charles Page found when he arrived in Zurich in 1865, as a young US Vice Consul of Trade. Yet in the Swiss countryside he saw cows grazing on fresh, green meadows.

The brothers George Ham Page (1836–1899) and Charles Page (1838–1873) first came into contact with a new form of milk preservation during the American Civil War (1861–1865): condensed milk from tins.

Condensed milk was invented by the French confectioner and chef Nicolas Appert. He founded the first canning factory in 1804 and produced condensed or canned milk for the first time in 1827.

In 1835, the English researcher William Newton came up with the idea of adding sugar to milk to ensure its shelf life.

Charles Page established the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company in Cham, Switzerland, on August 1866. At this time George Page was in the US learning Gail Borden’s pioneering process for producing condensed milk.

Using abundant supplies of fresh milk in Switzerland, they apply knowledge gained in their homeland to establish Europe’s first production facility for condensed milk in Cham. High standards of quality and safety, a modern factory, efficient distribution and savvy marketing ensured the product was a success.

They start supplying Europe’s industrial towns with the product under the Milkmaid brand, marketing it as a safe, long-life alternative to fresh milk.

As early as 1868, Anglo-Swiss sold over 374,000 cartons of condensed milk. Demand was led by Great Britain and its colonies, whose appetite for condensed milk had inspired the brothers to choose their company name.

In 1881, the company opened a plant in Middletown, New York. Soon Anglo-Swiss competed successfully with Borden. Charles died in in 1873, and by 1891 George was managing a business with 12 factories across Europe and the US that exported worldwide.

In 1905 the agreement was signed, and the Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company was born. The company retaining the name until 1947, when the name Nestlé Alimentana SA was taken as a result of the acquisition of Fabrique de Produits Maggi SA (founded 1884) and its holding company, Alimentana SA of Kempttal, Switzerland.
Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company

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