Gail was a true entrepreneur. In 1829, he relocated to Texas to farm and raise animals. He was one of the state’s initial immigrants and is credited with creating the first topographical map of Texas as well as laying out Galveston and Houston. Meanwhile, he planned to start a newspaper. In October 1835, he and his brother Thomas, with partner Joseph Baker, launched the Texas Register and Telegraph in San Felipe.
Gail quit the newspaper company in 1837, surrendering his ownership interest. He was a collector at Galveston’s port and then an agent for the Galveston City Company, selling land in the area. Meanwhile, he had several product ideas. He allegedly began creating in about 1840.
Not giving up on innovation
Gail worked on a “terraqueous machine,” a vehicle that could move on water and land. He also worked on numerous refrigeration equipment. Most of them failed, but he kept trying. He was particularly interested in improving food conservation and preservation, as well as generating concentrated food items. The “meat biscuit,” produced with wheat and dried meat, was his main focus in 1849. He went to New York to be closer to distributors. Despite their use, the biscuits were deemed unpalatable by customers, and so failed.
Gail’s perseverance paid off in 1853. He tried to patent a vacuum-evaporation method for milk. He got UK and US patents and started a dairy in Connecticut. During the Civil War, demand for condensed milk increased dramatically, ensuring Gail’s success. He added factories in Connecticut, New York, and Illinois. He devised procedures for condensing different fruit fluids, beef extract, and coffee.
After the war, Gail went to Texas and created the town of Borden in Colorado County. He also built a copperware manufacturer and sawmill. Borden Milk Company would later become the Borden Family of Companies, which included Borden Foods Corp. and Borden Chemicals Inc. Gail himself passed away on January 11, 1874, in Borden, Texas.