Edmund LaCroix

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This little-known Frenchman with his obscure invention, the Middlings Purifier, was as important to the development of Minneapolis milling as any other single person. If there is any key single event in the Minneapolis milling revolution, it was the construction of a Middlings Purifier by Edmund LaCroix in the Washburn Mill in the winter of 1869-70, from memory of a device he had seen in France. Others would improve the device and get rich, like George T. Smith; others would tinker with the overall system, like William de la Barre; and others would make the new process more efficient. But it was that moment in 1870 when Minneapolis flour began to have a competitive edge on the market, leading to the construction of more and bigger mills and to the bonanza wheat boom of the 1870s and 1880s. The story is even more dramatic because LaCroix died penniless while many others got rich off the new process.
~David Stevens




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