With the celebration of Plainsboro’s founding approaching, the Wicoff House Museum has a new exhibit created by student intern, Emma L.  This display case showcases Walker-Gordon milk bottles and photos of the farm’s manager, Henry W. Jeffers, Sr.  Henry W. Jeffers (1871-1953) was an innovator that helped revolutionize the dairy industry. While a student at Cornell University, he met George H. Walker and Gustavus Gordon.  In 1898, while Jeffers was still in college, the Walker-Gordon company hired him to manage their Plainsboro farm.

There was a critical need for clean, healthy milk.  Raw milk was found to cause diseases such as tuberculosis in the days before dairy pasteurization was widely available.  Jeffers came up with an idea to milk cows in such a way that the milk would go immediately from the cow to a bottle quickly and cleanly. His machine, the Rotolactor, allowed an entire herd of almost 2000 cows to be milked three times a day.  His innovations were so successful that  in November 1918, at the end of World War 1, he was commissioned by the US government to travel to Bordeaux, France to setup a dairy that could provide milk to almost 45,000 soldiers at a base hospital.