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National Historic Cheesemaking Center: Helvetia Milk Company
Photo supplied by the National Historic Cheesemaking Center
The Helvetia Milk Company of New Glarus began operations condensing milk Nov. 1, 1910 with the milk from 15 area farms. After six years of operation, it began making cans for all eight Wisconsin plants, producing 450,000 cans a day. In 1923, the plant was renamed Pet Milk Company. Employees were fingerprinted in 1942 because of the defense department contracts they were processing. In 1945, 36,774,033 pounds of milk were delivered to the factory, with most shipped by rail for use by the armed forces. The plant closed in February 1962 after 51 years of operation. The Milwaukee Road reported a loss of $213,803 in revenues in the first full year after Pet Milk closed. Questions, comments or any further information may be directed to Mary Ann Hanna at 608-325-4324 or email at