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Lane, Clarence Bronson Jr.

Published onJul 30, 2021
Lane, Clarence Bronson Jr.

(August 20, 1907 — November 1, 1975)

Quick Facts

Dairy bacteriologist; Teaching Fellow, Dairy Industry; Resident Assistant, Dairy Industry and Dairy Industry Section, Agriculture Experiment Station, Iowa State College; co-developer of the first successful process for manufacturing blue-veined cheese in the United States. 

Clarence Bronson Lane Jr. was born on August 20, 1907 in Washington, D.C., a son of Clarence Bronson Lane Sr. and Nellie LaRue Lefferts Lane.  His father was a nationally known dairy bacteriologist and assistant chief of the Dairy Division of the U.S. Bureau of Animal Husbandry in the early 1900s.  Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Philadelphia where he grew up.  Nothing is known of his high school or college education, but he owned and operated a dairy store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1930.  He had married Frances S. Houston by that time and they had two children, Winifred and Clarence Lane. 

Lane came to Iowa State in 1931 as a graduate student in the Dairy Industry Department to study dairy bacteriology under Dr. Bernard W. Hammer as major professor.  He was also hired as Teaching Fellow in that department.  He became a Resident Assistant in Dairy Industry in 1934 at the time he finished his doctoral program and received his PhD. His master's thesis is entitled The Effect of Various Exposures at 61.10 C. (142 F.) on the Numbers of Bacteria in Milk and on the Growth Characteristics of Those That Survive.  His doctoral thesis is entitled  The Effect of Certain Bacteria on the Ripening of Cheddar Cheese Made From Pasteurized Milk.  It was a study of the ripening process of cheddar cheese using different strains of bacteria.  His conclusions were that adding Lactobacillus Casei to pasteurized milk hastened the ripening and improved the flavor of cheddar cheese while adding Aerobacter Oxytocum had a deleterious effect.  Also, adding Serratio Liquefaciens produced a pronounced cheddar flavor while adding Streptococcus Paracitrovorus produced a more buttery flavor.

After obtaining his PhD, Dr. Lane continued in his position as Resident Assistant in Dairy Industry while also continuing to work with Dr. Hammer.  In 1935, they published Bacteriology of Cheese; Effect of Lactobacillus Casei on the Nitrogenous Decomposition and Flavor Development in Cheddar Cheese Made From Pasteurized Milk, which was published as Research Bulletin No. 190 by the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station.  They eventually patented their work in 1943 (U.S. Patent No. 2,322,148.)   They also co-authored other publications on cheddar cheese including Relationship of Fat Hydrolysis to the Ripening of Cheddar Cheese (Bulletin No. 291) and Effect of Pasteurizing the Milk on the Nitrogenous Decomposition in Cheddar Cheese (No. 183) which were also published in the Research Bulletin.  In addition, along with H.J. Zahrndt, they published Calcium and Phosphorus Contents of Various Cheeses, Including Relationship to Bacterial Action in the Manufacturing Procedures (Bulletin No. 325.)

Dr. Lane and Dr. Hammer are perhaps best known for developing a method of making the first successful blue-veined cheese in the United States.  They were trying to duplicate the texture and flavor of Roquefort that was made in Europe using ewe's milk, but their method used cow's milk instead.  It was a huge success and eventually became the standard formula in the United States for the manufacture of blue cheese of which the most famous in Iowa is Maytag Blue Cheese.  They published their findings Some Factors Affecting the Ripening of Blue (Roquefort Type) Cheese (No. 237) in the Research Bulletin.  Dr. Lane and Dr. Hammer received U.S. Patent No. 2,132,077 in 1938 for this method of making blue cheese.  In an interview in 1941 for a federal publication, Dr. Lane stated that the problem that he and Dr. Hammer had to overcome  in order for their product to compete successfully against foreign imports was the high quality of imported blue cheese, concluding that, “...quality is the primary consideration; cost the second.” 

In 1939, while continuing his work as Resident Assistant in the Dairy Industry Department, he also became Resident Assistant in the Dairy Industry Section of the Agriculture Experiment Station.  He worked both positions for the next two years and then left Iowa State in 1941. 

The reasons why he left Iowa State at that time are unknown, and where he continued his career is also unknown.  He had registered for the World War II draft in October, 1940 but apparently did not serve in the armed forces.  It is known that he was living in Walton, New York in the 1950s, that he eventually moved to Longwood, Florida, and that he died there on November 1, 1975.  He was interred in Glen Haven Memorial Park and Mausoleum in Winter Park, Florida. 

Selected Sources:

There is no central repository of papers from Dr. Clarence B. Lane.  His master's thesis is at C O 1932 Lane, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.  His doctoral dissertation is at CO 1934 Lane (Thesis), also in Special Collections.

Hard copy editions of Iowa State Student and Faculty Directories from 1931 to 1941 in Special Collections were used to determine Lane's job positions and when he worked at Iowa State.  

His major publications with Dr. Bernard W. Hammer, which are No. 183, 190, 237, 291, and 325 in the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station Research Bulletin, are in both the Parks General Collection and in Special Collections.  These can also be found online  in the Iowa State University Digital Repository at  at

All other sources were found online including his 1941 interview, in Val C. Sherman, “Meeting NEW Demands for Cheese, “News for Farmer Cooperatives, Volume 8, Number 7, October, 1941, pp. 14-15 and his patents with Dr. Hammer at Google Patents. 

Family information plus information from U. S. Censuses of 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940, the armed forces draft notice, and the social security death index were found at 

Interment information was found at  




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