Early History

The first homogenizers were invented at the turn of the century and were used for making artificial butter (1). Gaulin invented and patented his homogenizer for the processing of milk and first showed his machine to the public at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris (2,3). The early literature attributes the term homogenizing, or homogenization, to Gaulin (1). The homogenization of milk, that is, reducing the milk fat globules in size to retard separation and the resulting cream layer, was at least 26 years ahead of its time, because the pasteurization of milk had not been perfected and public acceptance of this product was yet to be realized. Although very little homogenized milk was produced in the early years, homogenizers were sold for ice cream and evaporated milk. Few changes were made to the homogenizer design from 1900 to 1930, but after that, improvements were made to make machines more clean-able and sanitary (1). Homogenized milk became more popular in the 1940s. Some of the benefits of homogenized milk that helped to sell it were reduction of curd tension (which made milk more digestible, especially for infants), uniformity of fat throughout the product, and improvement in the appearance and palatability of the milk (4,5). Today, of course, homogenized milk is universally accepted. The dairy industry is one of the largest users of homogenizers, but homogenizers are also used for other food products.

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