This 1948 photo portrays the DeLaval site in its Poughkeepsie location on the East bank of the Hudson River.
The Poughkeepsie Riverfront Property was formerly the location of the DeLaval Separator Company. In the late 19th century, Dr. Gustaf de Laval, a Swedish engineer, invented the first centrifugal machine to efficiently separate cream from milk, lowering the risk of milk going bad after sitting for too long. Around 1891, the DeLaval plant was relocated to a 20-acre plot of land on the East Hudson River. On this plot of land, the DeLaval company established a 10-acre multi-building complex for its operations, with most of its tools being made on-site. In the 1920s, the company expanded to produce more than 80,000 cream separators annually.
Throughout the 20th century, the DeLaval plant was one of the largest employers in Poughkeepsie. In the late 1930s, the company’s innovative equipment was also used by other businesses in Poughkeepsie; for example, the Nelson House Hotel adopted DeLaval devices to stir martinis and Manhattans in its taproom.
During World War II, the DeLaval company was able to create oil separating machines to help fulfill the U.S. Navy’s need for lubricating oil. It wasn’t until 1964 that the company expanded to an 80-acre riverfront site, known today as the vacant Southern waterfront property. In 1990, the DeLaval plant shut down and a year later its parent company, Alfa Laval, was bought by the successful food company, Tetra Pack. In the present day, the vacant riverfront property where the DeLaval plant was located is the last remaining vacant city-owned land on the Poughkeepsie waterfront.
Today, DeLaval is the worldwide leader in milking equipment and solutions for dairy farmers, which make sustainable food production possible, ensuring milk quality and animal health. DeLaval solutions are used by millions of dairy farmers around the globe every day. DeLaval currently has 4,500 employees and operates in more than 100 markets.