Extraordinary Stories

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

The "The Demise of the Milkman" Story

Foreword:  I wrote the story that is posted today a few days before an article in the local Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era appeared titled "Delivered Fresh."  The newspaper article tells the story of the return of Mr. Milkman.com in Lancaster County, PA.  A fellow by the name of Daniel Trump is the co-owner of the new business that delivers fresh dairy products to the front door of his customers.  Seems that the same thing is happening all over the country and is being accepted whole-heartedly by customers of the new businesses.  Hopefully they survive and will eventually create memories for an entire new generation of families.


Cream Top Dairy bottle with
the bulb on the top that held
the cream mom removed.
It was an ordinary day.  Carol needed a glass or ceramic bottle to place some flowers in for decorations when guests came to visit.  I looked all over for one that would work and finally looked above our microwave and there sat an old glass milk bottle!  One from the Cream Top Dairy in Lancaster, PA.  I'm not sure exactly where we ever got the bottle, but it brought back memories of times when milk was delivered to the door in glass bottles.  When I lived on North Queen Street my parents had a metal insulated milk box that sat on the front porch next to the door.  Certain days of the week the Cream Top man would stop by, pick up the empty bottles and deliver new bottles filled with milk.  Always thought it was neat to see mom scoop the cream off the top of the bottle and place it in the refrigerator to be used later for cooking or making whipped cream.  Used the rest for my brother and I to drink.  Then we started getting our milk in bottles that didn't have that little globe at the top that held the cream and my mom told me that the milk factory scooped that off themselves and sold the cream separately.  
A milk box similar to the one we had on our porch.
 I later found that homogen- ization was used to separate the milk from the cream at the factory.  Made it a lot easier on her.  Very seldom got to see the milkman, since he usually arrived before dawn.  Mom would usually leave a note in the milk box telling him what she needed that day.  Eventually the glass bottle was abandoned since many were getting either lost, broken or in my case, kept for a flower jar.  Often wondered when our milkman stopped making deliveries and we bought our milk at the grocery store.  
Photo taken by my grandson Caden during
our recent visit to the Turkey Hill Dairy
Experience in Columbia, PA. Show me
making milk deliveries around town.
 I searched online and found that the majority of glass milk bottles were developed in the late 1800s.  Then in early 1900s milk began to be packaged in wax containers of varying shapes and sizes.  In the 1940s the rectangular column designed bottle appeared.  It had a round pull-up cap on the top, was very lightweight and wasted very little space in the milk truck.  In the 1950s the square cartons with the gable top came along and you opened one end of the bottle for pouring.  It was during this time that I remember mom removing the metal milk box from the front porch so it was easier to use the rubber mat for racing our marbles.  Another local dairy, Turkey Hill, began in 1931 when farmer Armor Frey began selling bottled milk from his car.  His family had obtained the farm from Thomas and Richard Penn, sons of William Penn.  The deed to the farm refers to "turkey hill", since the Susquehannock Indians lived near the area and had found wild turkeys on the ridge nearby.  So, the family named the dairy the Turkey Hill Dairy.  Well, most of today's milk comes in plastic bottles which we buy at the grocery store.  Often wondered what it would be like to awaken in the morning and open the door to get a fresh bottle of milk to pour on my baked oatmeal or use to dunk my morning donut.  Boy would I love to give that a try!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

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