Alumni Hall of Fame
Eben N. Horsford
Class of 1838
Inventor, Educator, Chemist, Discoverer of Baking Powder
Even though he graduated as a civil engineer from Rensselaer, Eben Horsford pursued his interest in analytical chemistry, a field in which he became a distinguished teacher and researcher.
An expert on the chemistry of foods, with a special interest in bread, he has been called "the father of American food technology." He enjoyed remarkable success through his development of processes for manufacturing baking powder and condensed milk.
Horsford was appointed Rumford Professor and Lecturer on the Application of Science to the Useful Arts at Harvard in 1847. He taught chemistry and conducted research at the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard for 16 years, and published articles in major scientific publications on such topics as phosphates, condensed milk, fermentation, and emergency rations.
A generous supporter of higher education for women, Horsford became president of the board of visitors of Wellesley College, and donated money for books, scientific apparatus, and a pension fund to the college.
Horsford's collection of papers, 1755-1944, is held by Rensselaer's Institute Archives and Special Collections.