Pet Evaporated Milk

Here is a history of Pet milk published in the Northside Journal in Jerome, Idaho.  It provides some history of Pet Milk, aka Sego Milk.  They also had a plant in Richmond, Utah, which is where my Grandfather, Norwood Jonas worked until it closed about 1967.

Pet Evaporated Milk

Buhl, ID

Compiled by Earl Gilmartin

Condensed History Pet Evaporated Milk Corporation


1885- It started with an idea of canning as a preservative in the small town of Highland, Illinois. After a $15,000 investment the Helvetia Milk Condensing Company was born (later to be renamed PET).

1895 – After overcoming a number of growing pains, more than half the company’s sales were in the West. The “Our PET” trademark is registered and becomes the official name for the company’s leading brand.

1898 – “Our PET” helps supply Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and other.

American fighting troops with a safe and convenient  source of milk in Spanish-American War. At war’s end, the troops scattered home across the U.S. and many, remembering the high quality milk, brought it home to their families.

1914 – Once again, the U.S. government places large orders of PET to supply  U.S. troops fighting overseas in World War I.

1929 – In the midst of the Great Depression PET becomes an important staple to American families and is able to expand its service to consumers with the creation of original recipes using PET products.

1941 – Again, PET is called upon to supply GIs fighting in World War II, as well as the citizens at home. More recipes, specifically designed with rationing limitations in mind are created to help families get a wholesome diet.

1950 – the combination of post-war prosperity and a baby boom result in more cans of PET Milk being sold than any other time in company’s 65-year history. PET also establishes its own test kitchens to develop and test new products and recipes.

1966 – PET began making “better for you” products including a Skimmed Milk and a 99% Fat Free Evaporated Skim Milk.

Today – PET Evaporated Milk continues to be a staple in millions of homes and is used in many different homes and is used in many different recipes, from main dishes, to soups, desserts and more.

We invite you to try the recipes on this site to create sensational food for your family!

Early History Pet Evaporated Milk

John Baptist Meyenberg (1847-1914) was an operator at the Anglo-Swiss milk condenser at Cham, Switzerland. Anglo-Swiss made sweetened condensed milk.

From 1866 through 1883, Meyenberg experimented with preservation of milk without the use of sugar. He discovered that condensed milk would last longer if heated to 120 C (248 F) in a sealed container, and hence could be preserved without adding sugar. When Anglo-Swiss declined to implement Meyenberg’s work, he resigned from the company and emigrated to the United States. John Meyenbert first moved to St. Louis, but soon transferred to Highland, Illinois , due to its large Swiss population. On 25 November 1884, U.S. Patents 308,421 (Apparatus for Preserving Milk) and 308,422 (Process for Preserving Milk) were issued to Meyenberg.  Meyenburg associated with various local merchants, including John Wildi, Louis Latzer, Dr. Knoebel, George Roth and Fred Kaeser and, on February 14, 1885, organized the Helvetia Milk Condensing Company. In 1899, Meyenberg assisted Elbridge Amos Stuart in producing Carnation Evaporated Milk.

John Wildi was instrumental in marketing the product nationally and internationally, especially in areas where fresh milk or refrigeration were scarce. In 1895, the company registered the Pet trademark.

The Sterling company of Twin Falls leases the Buhl Creamery facility for one year.  TFTN 11-11-1911

A transaction of importance to the dairymen of Buhl county was consummated on Saturday afternoon of last week when the Sterling Creamery Co of Twin Falls, secured by lease for a period of one year, the plant, business and good will of the Buhl Creamery, Milk Condensing, Cheese Manufacturing company of this city. The consideration was highly satisfactory and most remunerative to the local company, guaranteeing, as it does, a substantial market, paying a liberal consideration for the business and being in effect for a period of only one year.

Early History Pet Evaporated Milk

Funding universe

During the Spanish-American and First World wars, the U.S. government ordered huge supplies of evaporated milk, spurring Helvetia to build a second plant in Greenville, Illinois. By 1918 the company had a total of ten production sites in the Midwest, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. As World War I ended, Helvetia closed plants due to oversupply, reluctantly pulling out of western markets. Latzer sold the excess milk to St. Louis businessmen, who turned to him in 1920 when a strike by the local milk producers association limited the brokers’ supplies. The St. Louis strikers also convinced the Highland area farmers to strike, however , and Latzer was forced to close the plant.

By early 1921, Latzer’s son John ran Helvetia from its reestablied headquarters in nearby St. Louis. In 1923, Helvetica was renamed Pet Milk Company, after its best-selling evaporated milk brand.

Health & Home TFTN 7-3-1925

Many people are wont to confuse evaporated and condensed milk, but there is no similarity between the two. Condensed milk is a combination of sugar and milk and can be used only when both of these substances are desired. Evaporated milk is with about sixty per cent of the water removed and the nutrients content left intact.

Pet evaporated milk manufactured in Buhl, & other locations in the United States at the turn of the century.

Six Tons of Milk Received each day by Buhl Dairy Plant

TFDaily News 10-29-1927

About 12,000 lb of milk per day is being received at the Sego condenser which when evaporated makes 5760 tall cans. The product is being stored for the present at the plant.

Pet Milk became traded on the NY Stock exchange 1928

Funding Universe Our Dairy Industry TFIT 6-11-1929 aka Twin Falls Idaho Times

The phenomenal increase in dairying in Idaho is vividly set forth by figures just made public by Idaho Chamber of Commerce in its organization publication for June. Evaporated milk production in 1928 was 1,585,000 lbs, a gain of more then 4,000,000 lbs over 1927.

Employment for Additional 20 Seen; Better Times Indicated

TFIT 5-23-1933 aka Twin Falls Idaho Times

J Frank Smith field director and former manager of the Buhl plant, with E G Meyer production manager, have been supervising the overhauling of the machinery preparatory to opening the condensery. Floyd Englen, local manger, stated about 20 persons will be added to the pay roll.

The opening of the Buhl plant in addition to furnishing added employment will also serve as an outlet for the West End dairy products.

Pet Milk bought Sego Milk Products out of Salt Lake city in 1925, to expand it’s market.

Pet Evaporated Milk Peaked in 1950.

Funding Universe

After World War II Pet Milk began a slight movement into other markets. The company became the first to offer nonfat dry milk, and advance over the powdered milk developed in the 1920s. Sales soared due to the post-war baby boom, making 1950 the all-time-high sales year for Pet Evaporated Milk. Soon thereafter, fresh milk became readily available, however, and sales began a steady decline.

Pet Evaporated Milk diversifies in 1960’s

Funding Universe

Through restructuring, Pet Milk corporate reduced committee numbers, initiated a profit-centered divisional structure, and recruited marketing professionals. The company also planned new product development to wean itself from the declining milk market (as late as 1960, 95 percent of Pet Milk sales were in dairy products). By the early 1960s, diversification had begun in earnest.

Another of Pet Milk’s successful products at this time was Sego Liquid Diet Food, introduced in 1961. After competitors had opened up a market, Pet Milk brought in its own version, a thicker, high-protein drink available in variety of flavors. By 1965 Sego brought in $22 million to the company’s Milk Products Division sales.

In 1966, in order to reflect its enlarged and diversified product line, Pet Milk changed its name to Pet Incorporated.

Funding for these acquisitions came largely from a special credit Pet obtained through the sale of its portion of General Milk Co., a joint venture

Buhl Evaporated Milk to Close (1995 TFTN)

The bulk of this article is based on TFTN articles.

Buhl’s evaporated milk plant – which has provided Magic Valley jobs for 68 years will close June 20. Pillsbury Co executives told 64 workers Thursday morning that they’re shutting the plant which produces evaporated milk as a cost saving measure.

That means 300,000 fewer gallons of milk will be passing through Buhl each day. And a plant that each day produced 5000 cases of canned milk will be vacant. Eventually, the plant will be sold.

Evaporated milk production will shift to a company cannery in Greeneville, TN. But chances are slim that displaced workers will get to follow their jobs back East.


Presidents Day

In honour of Presidents Day this year I thought I would post a couple of pictures I have regarding Presidents of the United States.

Brad Hales, me, Anna Badger, and Jeana Stuart

Brad Hales, me, Anna Badger, and Jeana Stuart

Bush and Cheney Inauguration in 2008

Bush and Cheney Inauguration in 2008 in front of the US Capitol

George Washington statute by the Turnbull Commission of Five.  Adams, Jefferson, Washington, all became Presidents.

George Washington statue by the Trumbull Declaration of Independence.  Adams, Jefferson, Washington, all became Presidents, in US Capitol, Washington, DC

Martha and George Washington tombs

Martha and George Washington tombs in Mt Vernon, Virginia
Washington Equestrian Statute with Jefferson standing in front

Washington Equestrian Statue with Jefferson standing in front in Richmond, Virginia

Washington as a Mason in Alexandria, Virginia

Washington as a Mason in Alexandria, Virginia

James Monroe tomb, Richmond, Virginia

James Monroe tomb, Richmond, Virginia

Plaque on James Monroe's tomb

Plaque on James Monroe’s tomb

John Tyler Grave

John Tyler Grave in Richmond, Virginia

John Quincy and Louisa Adams' tombs

John Quincy and Louisa Adams’ tombs in Quincy, Massachusetts

John and Abigail Adams' tombs

John and Abigail Adams’ tombs in Quincy, Massachusetts

Thomas Jefferson's tombstone near Charlottesville, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson’s tombstone near Charlottesville, Virginia

That is pretty much the closest I got to any of these Presidents, that I can prove.  I have also been the resting spots of William Howard Taft, Harry S Truman, John F Kennedy.

Remember, Remember

Despite also being popular for Guy Fawkes Day which recently passed, Remember, Remember also relates to Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, or as we treat it in the United States, Veterans Day.  As an American, the day is more a holiday than a solemn occasion of reflection or remembrance.  Nevertheless, I thought I would honor it this week.

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov 2005

Interestingly, we find many people signing up for secession from the United States.  I find it interesting that Guy Fawkes Day and Remembrance Day are so close on the calendar and their memorable phrases start with the same repetition of the word “Remembrance”.  We seceded from the empire of Great Britain (which used to celebrate Empire Day on 24 May) and won the battle so secession became a legal right in the new colony.  Then part of that new colony seceded and lost the battle so secession was no longer a legal right.  The battle over secession is 1-1 on our soil but the latest precedent is against it.  Our Declaration of Independence is not a legally binding document, but it certainly underlines the presumption of which the nation was founded, and overturned in the Civil War.

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov 2005

Either way, we honor the veterans on both sides of those conflicts in this nation.  It just depends on where you live for which side you might feel a little more inclination.  Here in the west, we really acceded into the United States rather than won our right to be a part of this nation.  The French and Indian, 1812, and Civil War don’t mean much to us in Idaho.

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, Nov 2005

When it comes to the world wars of our century, we have a part to play.  Plus it certainly helps to have people we personally know who served and fought in these battles.  Most of us know people who lost loved ones in these two wars.  Hence these wars and accompanying veterans are more honored at present.  In these wars we fought against forced accession into whatever nation was seeking to obtain.

World War II monument, National Mall, Washington, DC, Nov 2005

Then we found ourselves during Korea and Vietnam in what is named the Cold War.  We fought against forced accession by nations we did not agree with (we ignored the rest) but also sought to help other nations secede and ultimately become free and independent.  We helped win that battle with the freedom of nations that were under the control of the United Soviet Socialist Republic.  Elsewhere in the world, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and the United Kingdom continued to allow other nations to become independent and we supported that movement.

Anna Badger, Jeana Stuart, and Brad Hales at the Iwo Jima monument in Arlington, Virginia, Nov 2005

American policy and law is less than clear on what exactly our position is on secession.  The national mood towards our veterans does not even seem to be as clear cut as it has been in times past.  A divide continues to build.  I am not really sure over what.  Whether we are for or against secession, those who are willing to fight for that right, rightly or wrongly, deserve our honor.  After all, far too many of them gave the greatest sacrifice a person can give.  We find it much more noble when a person voluntarily gives their life (whether they live or die) than those who are not allowed to choose to do so (but not to diminish their sacrifice).  I honor our veterans because of what they give and those who give their all.  Remember, those who live beyond the conflict still have to live with it the rest of their lives.  May we honor all veterans who fight for their cause (are terrorists veterans?).

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington, VA, Nov 2005

Dentist Office #6

I don’t know why, but I thought I would share this only photo I have of the place I lived at Utah State from 2003 to 2005.  It is located on Darwin Avenue in Logan, Utah and is colloquially known as Dentist Office.  Aptly named from the dentist office that occupies the front of the building.  Anyhow, many memories here and just one, somewhat poor, photo.  Maybe someday I will return and get a better photo.

My bed was immediately below the top right window for the entire time I lived there.  I believe the address was something like 655 Darwin Avenue and we were in Apartment #6.

Dentist Office Apartments at Utah State University

A number of roommates lived there while I did.  Some of them are still close friends today.  Some of them include:

Samuel Allred

Lane Blake

Tyler Elison

Lucas Garcia

Matthew Geddes

Brad Hales

Mark Morris

Matthew Petersen

Justin Siebenhaar

Mike Staheli

Seth Warburton

Honorary Mentions:

John Catron

Matjaz Marincic

Joseph Sheppard

Ryan Werner

Taylor Willingham

Here are some pictures from the earlier groups.  I don’t have many of the later roomies, I guess we didn’t see the need to take pictures.

Back(l-r): ?, Sam Allred, Becky Nudd, Seth Warburton, Stephanie Adair, Jeana Stuart; Middle: Emily Sara, Paul Ross, Lynsi Lund, Colby ?; Front: Joe Sheppard, Matt Petersen, Mike Staheli, Brad Hales.

Starting from and working clockwise, Emily Sara, Joe Sheppard, Jeana Stuart, Mike Staheli, Colby ?, Matt Petersen, Lynsi Lund, Seth Warburton, Becky Nudd, Sam Allred, ?, John Catron, ?.

Back: Matt Petersen, Paul Ross, Mike Staheli, Jaime Nelson: Front: Sam Allred, Seth Warburton, Tina Stringham, Brad Hales. On other couch: Melissa Gregory.

Lane Blake, Matjaz Marincic, Brad Hales, Tyler Elison, Mark Morris, Sam Allred, Paul Ross

Taylor Willingham, Paul Ross, Patrick Neary, Greg ? at Bear Lake.

Patrick Neary, Greg ?, Mark Morris with buried Paul Ross at Bear Lake.

Matt Geddes, Lucas Garcia, Paul & Amanda Ross, Anna Badger, Brad Hales


I know, I know, I have not been keeping this as up todate as I could.  Oh well, things are going very well.  I am enjoying life and have had a great refreshing break.  Just a few more weeks and then I am done and headed back to Utah for graduation, marriage, and happily ever after.
For Thanksgiving Break Anna Badger, Brad Hales, and Jeana Stuart all came to visit for the holiday.  It was great to have them here and I very much enjoyed their presence.  It was quite the adventure.  They arrived on last Friday and I took all of them back to the airport today for them to fly out.  I assume they made their flights and are all safely at home now.  With most of which I write, there will be photos to go along in the Thanksgiving Gallery.
In preparation for their coming, Genny in the office got them tours at the White House, Capitol, Library of Congress, National Cathedral, and the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.  They went and saw several other museums and various other things around Washington DC.  Last Friday night we went on a midnight visit of some of the monuments.  We went to the Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington, FDR, and other things around Washington.  I showed them the main buildings and gave them a sort of feel for the overall layout of the area.
Saturday we went to the Washington DC temple.  We also paid a little visit to Georgetown and went to Arlington National Cemetery.  Sunday we went to church and the Washington Memorial Masonic Lodge.  Monday through Wednesday they went on their tours.  Monday afternoon I met them at the Library of Congress and went on that tour with them.  It was amazing.  I really appreciated the beauty and time that obviously went into the building.  Very impressive building.  I took them back through the tunnels to Russell from the Library of Congress.  That was quite a bit of a walk through the house buildings, Capitol and back.  They enjoyed it.  Tuesday I gave them their tour of the Capitol and tried to sneak in some extra perks for them, however, with another couple on the tour we did not get to show as much as I could have.  Wednesday I got off work at noon and went and met them at the Museum of American History.  I enjoyed that.  I could have spent quite a bit more time there.  I enjoyed the science aspect, nuclear, transportation, First Lady, and Presidential exhibits.  I could have spent a few more hours in the building.  I will have to pay them another visit.  There are a few museums I still have not seen.  I want to see the Native American, Modern Art, Printing and Engraving, and spy museum.  Sometime I will have to pay them a visit.  I suppose there is always a time in the future.
Thanksgiving was great.  We enjoyed a trip to Mt. Vernon and had a great time.  You can see the pictures from that adventure.  Yesterday we trekked to Monticello and Montpelier, but due to circumstances and preference, we did not get into either.  At one it was “too cold” and the other we were “too late” so what was to be done.  However, I stumbled on another little town I would love to move to some day and spend the rest of my life.  Orange, Virginia, an amazingly beautiful little town.  There are a few of them in my life.  Ashland, Kansas; Blair, Nebraska; Quray, Colorado; and now Orange, Virginia.  It was amazingly beautiful.  I hope some day I can organized a piece of property into something so magnificent so as to add to the community to which I belong.  We all loved the beautiful well kept estates that lined the roads.  Orange was particularly beautiful.
We all come to understand each other a little more, we come to see and understand our weaknesses and strengths a little more, and hopefully we will have learned from our close interactions.  I sure enjoyed their company and the opportunity to entertain guests.  More importantly, it gave a little more initiative to get out and see some of what I am surrounded by.