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Cream Separators Page 2

Vega Cream Separator

This is a Vega Model F6 table top cream separator.  It was made in Eskilstuna, Sweden but was sold by the T. Eaton Company of Canada.  Eaton's was a catalog sales firm similar to Sears or Wards in the United States.  Most bench top cream separators have the bowl right over the float and spouts.  The milk leaves the bowl through a valve in the bottom of the bowl.  This model Vega cream separator is similar to larger, floor model cream separators in that the bowl is offset and the milk leaves the bows through a valve in the side of the bowl. 

Notice the bell in the center of the gear.  This allowed the user to tell when the cream separator was being cranked at the right speed, usually 60 revolutions per minute.  Generally if the bell was ringing the cream separator needed to be cranked faster.  This speed was very important for the cream separator to operate at peak efficiency.  In 1913 Stewart-Warner Speedometer Corporation sold a speed indicator for cream separators at the price of 10 dollars.  It had a gauge that told exactly how fast the cream separator was being cranked and could be fitted to any brand of cream separator.  They cited a Purdue Experiment Station test that showed a farmer could loose $2.25 for each cow every month in lost cream due to operating their cream separator at the wrong speed.  Stewart-Warner speedometers were used on the original Ford Model T's and their gauges still are sold today.

The Baker & Hamilton Company of San Francisco imported Vega cream separators into the United States and sold them in California.  They put a decal with their name in the center of the gear cover.

New American Separator

The picture above shows a New American Separator made by the American Separator Company of Bainbridge, New York.  This was one of the early cream separator companies, having been formed in 1894.  The design for this model was patented on October 15, 1929 by Thomas Collins Jr.  He was an employee of American Separator Company and assigned the patent to the company.  This model cream separator must have been sold prior to the patent date however because the American Separator Company featured it in advertisements in a February 1928 Hoard's Dairyman and the March 1928 Successful Farming and Country Gentleman magazines.  They offered a 30 day trial, free freight, and one year to pay.  The 550 lb model was offered at $5.30 per month.  They were offered in seven sizes from 125 pounds/hour to 850 pounds/hour.  This one is a larger size but we can find no model number or capacity on the machine.  One feature they advertised was that the height of the cream tray was adjustable to fit different size cream cans.  The supply can was also made to swing out of the way so the spouts and discs could be removed for cleaning without having to remove the supply can.
This is a DeLaval New World Standard Series Number 14 floor model cream separator.  It was rated at 550 pounds of milk per hour and could separate 11 gallons of milk in 10 minutes.  This would have been enough capacity to separate the milk from up to 25 cows in an hour's time.  DeLaval was the most popular of the centrifugal cream separators.  This particular separator has a 1937 manufacture date stamped on the base of the bowl and on the frame of the separator.  Click here to see the locations of the serial number on DeLaval cream separators.

The DeLaval Separator Company originated in Sweden and started in the US in 1883.  The name of the company in Sweden was Aktiebolaget Separator Company or AB Separator Company.  In the United States the company was known as the DeLaval Separator Company and the factory was in Poughkeepsie, New York.  Carl Gustaf Patrik de Laval is credited with inventing the first continuously operating cream separator in 1878 for which he received a U. S. patent on October 4, 1881.  Prior to that he had patented his cream separator in Sweden (1878), England (1878), France (1879), Belgium (1879) and Italy (1879).  Many DeLaval cream separators will list an earlier September 25, 1877 patent on the patent plate.  This was a patent obtained by the AB Separator Company that was issued to two German inventors, Wilhelm Lefeldt and Carl Lentsch, for a centrifugal machine for creaming milk.  However the separator in that patent was not continuous.  It used centrifugal force to separate the cream from the milk but it had to be stopped to remove the cream.  The advantage of Gustaf de Laval's invention was that the milk did not have to be separated in batches but rather the milk could be continuously separated without stopping.  The other big improvement introduced by the AB Separator Company in 1890 was the 
Alpha-Disc bowl or the cones commonly found in cream separators.  Prior to 1890 a hollow bowl was used and it was much less efficient than the Alpha-Disc bowl.  The discs or cones separated the milk into thin sheets upon which the centrifugal force was exerted.  The Alpha-Disc was patented on July 22, 1890 by Baron Clemens Von Bechtolsheim of Stockholm, Sweden and assigned to the AB Separator Company.  Until the early 1900's when the patent protection ended, DeLaval was the only company that could legally use the Alpha-Disc design in the United States and it vigorously defended it's patents.

The first cream separators sold by the DeLaval Separator Company in the United States were large, power driven units suited for creameries rather than farm use.  In 1887 DeLaval introduced a hand powered cream separator in the United States.  In 1895 the company reported that 75,000 cream separators were in use around the world and it quickly grew from there.  By 1909 there were one million DeLaval cream separators in use, by 1922 there were 2.5 million and the number had jumped to four million by 1928 and 6.5 million by 1942.  Unfortunately many of these cream separators were recycled in the steel drives held during WWII. 

DeLaval would have been considered the "Cadillac" of cream separators.  They were the first and most common but also the most expensive.  In the large creamery sizes they pretty much had a monopoly but with farm size machines the competition was fierce.  In the popular press DeLaval was constantly battling competitors.  On of the fiercest ad wars was with The Sharples Company, which made tubular separators.  Tubular separators were easier to clean due to their design (but may not have separated the cream as close) and the supply tank was lower and easier to fill since they fed from the bottom.  One mistake many dairymen made was that since cone style separators like the DeLaval were so hard to clean they often skipped cleanings.  This was a serious problem as far as cream and butter quality and The Sharples Company exploited this in their advertisements.  Their advertisements were often very mean spirited and negative towards DeLaval.  DeLaval fought back in print but their ads tended to be more restrained and professional.  DeLaval also faced stiff competition from the mail order houses like Sears, Roebuck and Company and Montgomery Wards.  Many dairymen were enticed by the very low prices of these mail order separators.  In 1906 DeLaval suggested this contraption for those dairymen that bought a cheaper cream separator and regretted it (

DeLaval Junior Cream Separator

DeLaval also made bench model cream separators.  Pictured above is a DeLaval Junior cream separator.  The one pictured here was manufactured in 1950.  It is a size 2 which was rated at 225 pounds per hour and could separate 5 gallons of milk in 10 minutes.  It would have been the right size for a family with one or two cows.  The number 2 had the supply can directly over the bowl.  In 1942 the price for these small DeLaval Junior separators started at $27.25

The Junior also came in a size 3, 4 or 5 with ratings up to 500 pounds per hour.  The larger sizes had an offset supply can.  Click
here for a picture of Junior size 4 with an offset supply can.  It has a 1938 serial number stamped in the casting.  This model was rated at 400 pounds per hour.  A tall stand could be purchased to convert them into a floor model and they could be ordered with an electric motor instead of the crank.

here to go to the page with a churn manufactured by the DeLaval Company.

Sharples Tubular Cream Separator

The cream separator show above is a Sharples Tubular A.  It was manufactured by The Sharples Separator Company based in West Chester, Pennsylvania.  We have seen advertisements for this separator as early as 1910.  It was offered in 6 sizes from 225 to 900 pounds per hour.  The separator pictured here is one of the larger sizes.  The tubular style separator did not use discs or cones like the DeLaval cream separators.  The long length of the tube and the high speed of the bowl is what allowed the tubular design to separate the cream without cones or discs.  The tubular separator reached bowl speeds of up to 16,000 rpm where as a disc type cream separator would be closer to 10,000 rpm.  It was still very easy to crank though because the bowl was so light and had a small diameter. 

It was a much simpler system.  Its biggest advantage was that it had fewer parts and was much easier to clean.  They often advertised their separators as sit down units because they were so easy to crank.  The Sharples Separator Company often targeted the housewife in their advertisements since it was she who often got stuck with separating the milk and the chore of cleaning the cream separator.  Notice that the tube feeding the milk from the supply tank into the separator enters at the bottom.  This allowed the supply tank to be much lower on a tubular separator and made it easier to pour the milk cans into the separator.

The Sharples Separator Company was founded by Philip M. Sharples, known as P. M. Sharples.  Initially the company went by his name, P. M. Sharples.  Between 1883 and 1888 he had a business relationship manufacturing and selling DeLaval cream separators.  After a while this relationship soured and the two parties ended up battling each other in court.  At that time P. M. Sharples started to manufacture and sell cream separators of his own design.  Philip and his brother David were granted numerous patents as early as 1889 for cream separator designs.  An 1893 advertisement showed the company was selling the Sharples Russian Separator and the Sharples Belt Separator.  An 1895 ad featured the Little Giant Cream Separator.  The name of the company had also changed at this time to The Sharples Company which would later become The Sharples Separator Company.

The patent however that was the basis for the tubular cream separator was granted to Herbert McCornack of West Chester, Pennsylvania on June 8, 1897.  His patent showed improvements on some conventional disc type separator bowls but most importantly it also introduced the tubular separator bowl.  The tubular bowl consisted of a long tube with no discs.  It's simplicity and lack of complicated parts was the basis for the Sharples' cream separators from that time on.  McCornack assigned his patent to P. M. Sharples.  Herbert McCornack would later invent the popular Surge Bucket milker (click here to go to that page).  David Sharples, Philip's brother, was granted patents on November 5, 1901April 25, 1905 and two patents on January 29, 1907 that lead to the Tubular A cream separator pictured above.

P.M. Sharples never forgot his battles with the DeLaval Separator Company.  His advertisements were very aggressive towards his former business partner and the two companies often traded jabs in the dairy publications of the time.  The Sharples Company also often touted its large deliveries of cream separators.  They often boasted of large trains, with rail cars loaded with cream separators, called the Sharples Specials.  If the Sharples Separator Company was as big a competitor to the DeLaval Separator Company as their advertisements suggested one wonders why there are so many DeLaval cream separators around today and so few Sharples cream separators.

One factor effecting the survival of all brands of cream separators were the scrap steel drives of WWII.  Many cream separators that had been set aside on farms became a valuable commodity during WWII.  The dairy industry took an active role in collecting unused steel and recycling it into the war effort.  The massive size and weight of these cream separators resulted in their demise.

Thanks Tom for letting us show off your separator.
This is a Melotte S8 floor model cream separator.  It likely was made in the late 1930's to the early 1940's.  The Melotte was made in Belgium and imported by Babson Brothers of Chicago, Illinois.  This was the same company that sold the Surge milker.  It was unique in that the separating cones were suspended from above, by a single bearing, rather than below.  They advertised that the bowl was self-balancing and could never go out of balance.  This model was rated at 740 pounds (325 liters) of milk per hour.  This cream separator also has a bell on the center of the handle to aid in judging the correct speed to crank.  Early Melotte cream separators had the supply tank mounted very high.  Around 1928 Melotte came out with low models that had the tank mounted much lower and made it easier to pour in the milk. 

There was a great amount of competition between the numerous cream separator manufacturers.  In order to attract business Melotte offered a variety of incentives.  One 1928 advertisement offered a 30 day free trial, free return shipping if unsatisfied, up to a year to pay, up to four months with no payment, payments as low as $7.50 per month and a 15 year guarantee.

here to go to the page with the Surge milker also sold by Babson Brothers Company.
                 McCormick Deering Cream SeparatorMcCormick Deering Cream Separator
Pictured above are two cream separators from the International Harvester Company.  International Harvester Company was a large tractor and farm equipment manufacturer formed in 1902 from the merger of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and the Deering Harvester Company along with three smaller companies.  The company used the brand name of McCormick Deering on it tractors and farm equipment.  They were a major manufacturer of cream separators in the United States.

The cream separator on the left was the first cream separator that was introduced by the company in August of 1905 and was called the Dairymaid Cream Harvester.  It was chain driven rather than gear driven.  The first machines ran an open chain and then later a chain guard was added.  We are sure that the chain must have caught some fingers.  It came in four sizes; 350, 450, 650 and 850 pounds of milk/hour.  Soon after, in June of 1906, the company started selling a Bluebell Cream Harvester in the same sizes that was gear driven rather than chain driven.  In 1911 a model called the Lily Cream Separator was added to the line.  It came in the same four sizes as the Dairymaid and the Bluebell and was gear driven.

The cream separator on the right was introduced in 1913 and was called the Primrose Cream Separator.  It originally came in the same four sizes as the Dairymaid, Bluebell and Lilly and was also gear driven, eliminating the chain drive.  The pail shelves were cast in the form of the IHC logo.  In the early 1920's an 1100 pound/hour separator was added to the line.  The Primrose Cream Separator was sold at least through the end of the 1920's.  All of these early McCormick Deering cream separators were made at the company's factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

McCormick Deering Cream Separator

This is a newer McCormick Deering cream separator.  It is a model S-3 that first came out in 1939 was sold in the 1940's.  It was a very clean, modern looking cream separator.  In fact this separator was granted a design patent solely for its appearance.  The patent was issued on September 3, 1940 to Albert Scarratt of Kenilworth, Illinois and Raymond Loewy of New York, New York and William Harstick of Richmond, Indiana.  These men assigned their patent to the International Harvester Company.  This cream separator had a capacity of 750 pounds of milk per hour.  International Harvester also sold an S-2 (500 lbs/hr), an S-4 (1000 lbs/hr) and an S-5 (1250 lbs/hr) in this series.  These separators were sold with either a hand drive like the one in the picture, an electric motor drive or a power drive to be driven by a belt off an tractor or external motor.  All the surfaces that the milk came in contact with were made of stainless steel.

The very first S cream separators that McCormick Deering manufactured were painted a cream color, however in 1940 the decision was made to change the color to Dubonnet Red like the one pictured above.  McCormick Deering manufactured these cream separators at its factory in Richmond, Indiana.