Otto Hunziker

BY: J.B. Fitch

Otto HunzikerA TOWN boy's love for handling dairy cow? gave dairying one of its ten master minds. Hunziker, the scientist of dairy manufacture, spent most of his boyhood summers working at all sorts of jobs on the dairy farms of the neighborhood.

That boyhood love provided a splendid background for the man who, more than any other individual, has taken the guess-work out of buttermaking. Without background there can be no vision. Thanks largely to the vision of this man, his love for the little, everyday things that make up life on the dairy farm his studies and research work buttermaking is now a manufacturing process with a scientific foundation for every step, a foundation as solid as that enjoyed by other great, manufacturing industries.

To that, big majority of farmers who must depend on the creameries to provide a market for the product of the cows the change from guess to science in butter manufacture has meant millions of dollars in increased returns.

Otto Frederick Hunziker was born in Zurich, Switzerland, on December 25, 1873, the son of Kail Otto and Louise Pupikofer Hunziker. The father was originally a minister and, later, rector and professor of history at the Industrial School and professor of pedagogy at the University of Zurich.

Boyhood days of the younger Hunziker were spent in Goldbach, a small town near Zurich. Here, with one brother and two sisters he attended grade school. It was a happy. God-fearing home, of somewhat academic atmosphere which was rather disturbed by this one boy's hankering for farm work, for milking cows and for association with the supposedly rougher boys of the Swiss farms in his spare time. A son who insisted on returning from such excursions, smelling of cows and barns was a puzzle to a home where books and culture and the nice things of place and position were among the most desirable rewards for good bringing-up, good schooling and an honorable life.

Not, that the boy wasn't happy in his home; not that the parents loved him less. But. why couldn't, he grow up in the regular way and be ambitions for a training that led to a profession or some kind of official position, like the best in his family? But at that. time he just couldn't. Strong of body and bent, to work with his hands, the open life on the farm, the sweet air of the fields, the handling of the cows and the horses, and always the rugged Alps and the wondrous beauty of Switzerland all about, him, lured the boy away from the sheltering home, whenever he was permitted his freedom. Luckily for him, nearby was the "Strickhof" agricultural college, which in due time he attended and from which, at 19, he was graduated.

School work completed, it was perhaps only natural that a boy who had already shown an inclination to break away from the path of his people, should cast, longing eyes on the big country across the sea-the United States-full of promise to a healthy old-country boy who loved the open and knew how to do farm work. But home ties are not easily broken in a home-loving family. However, luck was with him-and with the science of dairy manufacture-in the form of a party of Americans visiting the neighborhood. On their assurance to look after him and get him work on a dairy farm, young Hunziker early in the spring of 1893, joyfully and with parental blessings, set out for the promised land and a job on a dairy farm near Attleboro, Massachusetts, at $5 a month and room and board.

So the young man who later was to become the leader in the science of dairy manufacture started right at the bottom. For two years on this Massachusetts farm he got up at 2:30 in the morning, milked part of a herd of 25 cows, bottled some of the milk and got it all ready for distribution in a nearby town then worked all day and milked again in the evening. Handicapped by not knowing the language and customs of the country, the work was doubly hard, but his love for farm work and for handling cows and milk helped him out. Men who have worked themselves up to outstanding positions in life are supposed to have had their eyes on the goal all the time, using even the humblest, and hardest of work as a training school. Professor Hunziker, as the world now knows him, disclaims any such efforts at that period in his life. He just worked. But even if he "just worked," the young Swiss couldn't help but get, into his very being the fundamental lessons about milk, its care and its behavior.

There is no telling how long lie could have kept up the drudgery, if fate hadn't stepped in, fate in the form of an accident caused by his hard work and which put him on his back for three weeks. The enforced idleness and helplessness awakened him. It forced him to take stock as to progress made during the first two years in the promised land. The stocktaking was not, pleasant. As a result, when again on his feet, he put his dairy love behind him for the time being and resolutely entered a business college at Providence, Rhode Island, from which he was graduated in 1896.

It meant more hard work for the wages of the farm hadn't counted up very fast, and young Hunziker had to do all kinds of work to support himself while at the business college. But lie. learned English, which was the main thing, and it was his good fortune to have the school principal take a special interest in him and give him encouragement in many ways.

After graduation young Hunziker held minor positions with various business firms, always with credit to himself but never with love for the work. Times were hard, and it was a case of making a living. It was not a happy time, for the young Swiss who had set sail from his native country so courageously some five years before. Finally, with the savings he had managed to make. he returned to the home in Switzerland.
Even though it was not the visit, of a conquering hero to his homeland, the trip meant, a great deal. The parents, the family, the familiar surroundings, the towering Alps, the old life that had gone on so serenely gave him a new start. At. the home base he found himself. Switzerland is a great dairy country. Its superior cheesemaking calls for the solution of 'many bacteriological problems. There earnest, study and fine leadership are found. It was just the right, atmosphere for a new baptism, a new resolve, a new and more clarified ambition-that andthe rugged everlasting mountains that make men independent of spirit, and strong of character.

With new courage and determination Hunziker, then 25 years old, again crossed the Atlantic, this time straight for Cornell University, in New York state. He was older than the other students, but his schooling in Switzerland and his business training in this country-until then somewhat unused assets- came to his assistance, and he graduated with honors from the agricultural course in two years, specializing in dairying. After graduation he worked in a creamery for three months and then entered Cornell again to work for his master's degree which he received the following summer. 

This reads like smooth sailing after the hardships of his first period in the United States, but it wasn't. Once more all manner of odd jobs had to be resorted to for a living. In addition, he tutored other Cornell students in French and German.

After receiving this degree Hunziker spent a year at Cornell as assistant, in charge of dairy bacteriology, his first actual step on the road to his life's work. But his love for practical dairy work wouldn't let him stay in the laboratory. This time it was an ambition to translate science into actual dairy manufacture. So he soon found himself in a. new condensed milk plant, at Ellicottville, New York, where he first worked in the field among farmers and later at all of the positions in the plant. Eventually he was asked to equip and take care of a laboratory for the company-an opportunity for which he was ready and which he used in full measure. There Hunziker, in the scientific laboratory work of solving practical dairy manufacturing problems, took possession of the domain that has ever after been his own. Also there, he became an American citizen and, to top it all, was married to Florence Bell Burne, of Ellicottville, a marriage of devotion and happiness, shared in by six children, three sons and three daughters.

The days at Ellicottville were the start, of Hunziker's leader- ship in the dairy manufacturing science. In 1905 he accepted a position in the dairy department at Purdue University, no doubt with the thought that it might offer an opportunity for further dairy research work. And so it turned out. After two years' work as instructor Hunziker was made chief of the dairy department and soon brought recognition to the university and to himself as a result of his research work, especially in the fields of butter manufacture and of condensed and powdered milk. 
These fields, especially that of buttermaking, were just then emerging from the rule of guess, of notions and hobbies, into real industries. Buttermaking was well on its way from the farm to the factory, and was pushing westward all the time. The hand separator was opening up the cornbelt for the dairy cows as an anchor to windward for the one-crop farmer. The rising tide of cream and more cream created problems for the creameries. They strived manfully and with some .success for efficiency in turning out a grade of butter that would bring the producer the highest possible price, but the why of many of their difficulties was unknown, and that was reflected in the farmer's cream check.
Considerable study and research work had already been given to some of these problems by science, but it was a very young- science, and the research and experimental work had been sporadic and not at all correlated, nor had it always been thorough. And so the creamery industry grew up almost over night to become of tremendous economic importance to agriculture, without much scientific foundation for its guidance.

The leadership gradually attained by Hunziker in the field of dairy manufacture was due to his complete thoroughness. The man whose boyhood preferred the simple work of the farm to the culture of a refined home; who, as a young emigrant, put in grueling hours of work on a dairy farm; who worked overtime day after day to get an education, and who came of rugged and conscientious stock, could not, help but be thorough in scientific research and experimental work. That was characteristic of his work at Purdue and stamped some fifty publications on various dairy manufacturing subjects that were issued from there as a result of his leadership in research at that, institution. 

Professor Hunziker is a modest, man and his work covers so many phases of dairy manufacture which, to the layman, appear small and insignificant, that it is difficult to relate his achievements to the world that has no special knowledge of modern manufacturing methods of butter or condensed or powdered milk. There are no Hunziker systems, no Hunziker standards, no Hunziker equipment-all his contributions to the progress of dairy manufacture and, therefore, to the welfare of the farmer, have been given out freely for anybody to use in his own way. He early became a leading member of the American Dairy Science Association, and on its committees has done most important work in insuring the accuracy of the glassware used in the Babcock test and in setting up standard methods of using the Babcock test, matters that directly concern every cream producer and have a great, bearing on the. Efficiency of the creamery. As a member of the Association he has been a great help in guiding the instruction and research in dairy manufacturing problems in the colleges and universities of America.
Another characteristic of Hunziker's work, besides its thoroughness, is its practicability. The results of his scientific research and studies are readily made use of by the manufacturer. No doubt this is due to his early experience in farm and factorywork. No doubt that also had much to do with his leaving Purdue-even though reluctantly-to take charge, in 1917, of the manufacturing department of the Blue Valley Creamery Company and establish its research laboratories.

It is fortunate for the, dairy industry that this outstanding research specialist is in the employ of an institution that has permitted him to continue investigational work and allowed the results, of his work to go to the dairy industry without restrictions. His being in direct charge of all manufacture in the company's 22 creameries and two milk plants, gives him unusual opportunities in connection with his research work.
Among the most outstanding results of Hunziker's work since 1917 are the discovery of the causes of fishiness, hallowness, and mottles in butter and means of prevention; establishment of systematic and neutralization of sour cream; methods of eliminating objectionable flavors in butter; methods of insuring keeping quality in salted and unsalted butter, and research work on the effect of metal on milk and milk products. The latter work is leading to the improvement of dairy and creamery equipment and utensils. The result of this and much other research work, when used by the dairy manufacturer, improves factory efficiency and the quality of the finished product and, therefore has a great bearing on the returns to the dairy farmer.

Hunziker is known turnout the world as the author of "The Butter Industry" and "Condensed Milk and Milk Powder." "The Butter Industry," first published in 1920, was revised in 1927 and is widely used as a. text in this country and as a reference book in other countries. "Condensed Milk and Milk Powder" was first, published in 1914, revised in 1918, again in 1920, and the fourth edition was published in 1926. Professor Hunziker is adviser for condensed milk companies in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Japan. In 1927, under the auspices of the dairy organizations of Australia and New Zealand, he spent four months in those countries investigating and advising with dairy manufacturers, receiving universal recognition from the entire dairy industry of those far-off countries for his work on their behalf.
Professor Hunziker was awarded a. diploma by the Italian government for Scientific Publications at the International Exposition at Milan, and several times he has been an official delegate and speaker at meetings of the World's Dairy Congress in various countries. Of all the official recognition that, has come to him lie treasures most, highly the Distinguished Service medal presented to him by the Swiss Dairy Federation at the time of his visit to his native Switzerland in 1928. This medal is for "distinguished service to the dairy industry as a whole" and is the fourth of its kind to be awarded since 1886.

In spite of the many honors that have come to him, Hunziker has remained a. modest man most tolerant of all who seek advice from him, and the requests come from all over the world. He gives help unselfishly on any dairy problem. It is fortunate that his selection as one of the Ten Master Minds of Dairying has come at a time when he can appreciate the honor which may in turn encourage him to even greater accomplishments for the industry. For that may well be expected of Hunziker, now in his fullest manhood-a good son of his native Switzerland, proud of his American citizenship by choice, and a world leader in dairying.

Here again is a dose relationship between subject and author. J. B. Fitch is a former student of Professor Hunziker's at Purdue University. Professor Fitch is now head of the Dairy Department at Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan. He is a past president of the American Dairy Science Association and was a delegate to the World's Dairy Congress at London in 1928. He is recognized as one of the lending dairy cattle judges of the country. His close association with Professor Hunziker put him in splendid position to write this life history.

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