First in large milk drums

By | July 26, 2017

They delivered first in large milk drums, pictured below, carried on wagons drawn by horses. These were used up until the 1920s, though they were mostly phased out by 1910. Then farmers switched to smaller, five-gallon aluminum milk cans, transported by horse-drawn wagon.

Donald and Doll in 1930, drawing milk cans to the cheese factory in Philadelphia, NY. Courtesy of the Philadelphia Historical Society. Bottom: McDermott’s milk can receiving station, row of milk wagons dropping off their milk. Unloading on right, farmers pick up empty cans on left. Circa 1910. St.

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Lawrence County Historical AssociationThe five-gallon milk cans were used into the 1960s and even early ’70s, and many farmers still delivered their own milk, but by automobile and truck instead of wagon. Below are the milk cans in action in a Heuvelton milking parlor in the 1940s, and full milk cans being dropped off at the Russell cheese plant in the 1960s.

This period, from the 1920s into the 1960s, saw huge changes across the dairying industry, including a lot of technological innovation. Electricity brought refrigeration, allowing for storing milk for longer periods; machinery allowed farmers to keep larger herds and dairy farmers in the St. Lawrence Valley began supplying milk nationwide in fluid and processed forms.

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