Carnation (brand)

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Carnation is a brand of food products. The brand was especially known for its evaporated milk product created in 1899, then called Carnation Sterilized Cream[1] and later called Carnation Evaporated Milk. The brand has since been used for other related products including milk-flavoring mixes, flavored beverages, flavor syrups, hot cocoa mixes, instant breakfasts, corn flakes, ice cream novelties, and dog food. Nestlé acquired the Carnation Company in 1985.[2]


Newspaper ad for Carnation Evaporated Milk, 1921

Carnation was founded as an evaporated milk company. With the increased availability of home refrigeration of fresh milk and cream throughout 20th century, the demand for evaporated milk decreased. Carnation diversified its product portfolio after the 1950s and was acquired by Nestlé in 1985 for $3 billion.

Elbridge Amos Stuart[edit]

Elbridge Amos Stuart (1856 in North Carolina[3]–1944) was an American milk industrialist and creator of Carnation evaporated milk and its famous slogan, that it came from "Contented Cows".[4] On 6 September 1899, Stuart and a fellow business partner founded the Pacific Coast Condensed Milk Company in Kent, Washington. It was based on the relatively new process of commercial evaporation of beverages. Stuart was the first president of the Carnation Company between 1899 and 1932 and served as its chairman from 1932 to 1944. In 1901 his partner sold out, leaving Stuart the company and $105,000 in debt. As sales grew, Stuart sought a brand name for his product. In downtown Seattle, Stuart passed a tobacconist's window with cigars displayed around a sign proclaiming their name—Carnation. The company was renamed Carnation Evaporated Milk Company.

Stuart believed that there was value in sanitary milk at a time when fresh milk was neither universally available nor always drinkable. He believed that his product would join other staples on grocer's shelves. One of the most important things E.A. Stuart learned on his father's farm was that quality milk came from healthy cows. To have the best quality milk and milk production, he distributed purebred bulls to the farmers who were suppliers for his factory. The offspring from these bulls were better milk producers than the cows of the previous generation.

Eventually Stuart established a breeding farm, known as Carnation Farm. There, through practical science and application, Stuart continued improving the quality and production of milk from his cows. Carnation cows held the world milk production record for 32 consecutive years. One cow in particular, Segis Pietertje Prospect, produced 37,381 pounds of milk during 1920. Stuart erected a statue of the cow to honor this record. It was through such accomplishments that Stuart was able to make significant contributions to dairy science while helping to improve the world's food supply. The town of Tolt, Washington, was later renamed Carnation for the nearby breeding and research farms.


In 1907, the promotional phrase "Carnation Condensed Milk, the milk from contented cows" was introduced. This slogan referred to the higher quality milk from happy cows grazing in the lush Pacific Northwest. Carnation used this slogan for decades, and it spawned a radio variety program entitled "The Contented Hour," which featured entertainers such as Dinah Shore, Jane Powell and Burns and Allen. Burns and Allen's own CBS television program, which premiered in 1950, was sponsored by Carnation. As was common during that era, instead of cutting to filmed commercials, Burns, Allen and guests broke the "fourth wall" to tout Carnation products in a comedic, often tongue-in-cheek way during the show.

Since the 1960s, labels of cans of Carnation Condensed Milk have contained recipes on the inner side.[5]


During the twentieth century, Carnation Evaporated Milk became the subject of humorous, satirical rhymes.[6] One example that may date back to the year 1900 is as follows: Carnation Milk is the best in the land / Here I sit with a can in my hand / No tits to pull, no hay to pitch / You just punch a hole in the son of a bitch. This quatrain, or a variant of it, has often been portrayed by storytellers as the result of a slogan contest or advertising contest sponsored by the Carnation Company,[7] although such a contest never actually occurred.[6]

Current status[edit]

The site of the original Carnation Farms is located 45 minutes east of Seattle, in Carnation, Washington.[citation needed]

In 2006, Nestlé sold the business of liquid milk business within Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand, including the Carnation brand to F&N.[8]

In 2007, under a separate agreement with Alaska Milk Corporation, Nestlé will also provide Alaska the long-term license to manufacture and sell Carnation Evaporated Creamer, Carnation Condensada, and Milkmaid Sweetened Condensed Milk, under the Nestlé quality guidelines in the Philippines.

Since 2008, Carnation Farms became Camp Korey, part of the Hole in the Wall Camps founded by Paul Newman. Camp Korey is a medically supervised camp staffed with physicians and nurses, and trained camp counsellors for children living with serious and life threatening illness. The camp provides a week-long experience of camp programs and activities for children ages 7–16 at no cost to them.


  • Carnation Instant Breakfast – introduced in 1964[9]
  • Carnation Malted Milk[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

For the scene in the 1975 film Jaws in which the character Ben Gardner's corpse pops out from his stationary boat, director Steven Spielberg re-shot the scene in the swimming pool of editor Verna Fields. Spielberg poured Carnation's powdered milk into the pool in order to simulate the murky waters of Martha's Vineyard where the scene was originally shot. [10]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]