Milk Bottle Go Withs
These devices were all designed to remove the cream from a regular bottle of milk. They were known as cream extractors, cream siphons or cream removers. These all work by siphoning the cream out of the milk bottle through a glass or metal tube.
The first two in the top row were made by Merit Manufacturing of Cleveland, Ohio. The first is an earlier aluminum version called the Magic Cream Separator and the second is glass and was called the Magic Cream Remover Siphon. They list a December 3, 1935 patent that was issued to Theodore Simpson of Cleveland, Ohio. These tubes were constricted at the base to form a very small hole so just enough milk would enter to start the siphoning action automatically. There was a larger hole in the center of the tube where the cream line would be that siphoned off the cream. The patent papers said that the tube was sized so that it would work in pint or quart milk bottles. For a quart milk bottle the goose neck hung from the bottle lip and for a pint bottle the bottom end of the tube would sit on the bottle base. The advantage of a glass tube over an aluminum one was that one could see if the inside of the glass tube was clean. In 1936 the wholesale price of these cream siphons was ten dollars for a gross. They were still sold in 1947 for $12.50 per gross.
The last device in the top row was called the Cre-moff Little Wonder Cream Extractor. It too had a large hole in the center of the aluminum tube near the cream line as well as a very tiny hole drilled in the bend at the lowest point on the tube. This one an extra bend in the tube so that the end of the tube was at the same height as the hole in the side of the tube. Thus cream could enter the tube at the end or through the hole in the side of the tube. It too was advertised as starting automatically and the price on the box was 25 cents. It was made by Scott Manufacturing Company of St. Paul, Minnesota and listed an April 25, 1933 patent date. We have been unable to locate this patent but thought it was interesting that the package stated, "WARNING: Infringements Vigorously Prosecuted". Could that have been a bluff?
The first siphon in the second row was called the Marvel Cream Siphon and it worked on the same principle as the first two. It also was aluminum and started and stopped automatically. This one was given away as a premium by Clover Crest Dairy Farm of Newtown, Pennsylvania. Golden State Company of California also offered these cream siphons to customers. The package listed the price as 50 cents. They were manufactured by National Dairy Service of Berkeley, California. A 1926 advertisement said they were sold by the Industrial Sales Service of Long Beach, California. The package listed a November 17, 1925 patent date. This patent was issued to Rensselaer Toll of Long Beach, California. Since Cream Top milk bottles were commonly only licensed to be used by one dairy in a given area, it was common for dairies in the same area using conventional milk bottles to give away these types of cream siphons as a way to compete and allow their customers to remove fresh cream from the milk.
The last two were called Cream Extractors and utilized glass tubes with rubber discs that sealed tightly in the neck of the milk bottle. As the rubber disc was pushed down in the neck of the milk bottle pressure was exerted on the cream forcing it up the tube and starting a siphon. The first of these was made by D-M Manufacturing Company of Detroit, Michigan and was called the Economy Cream Extractor. This company advertised these extractors in a 1926 Good Housekeeping magazine and listed the price at 25 cents. The ad also noted that a patent was applied for. William Ackerman of Detroit, Michigan was granted a patent on April 8, 1930 (filed on September 2, 1927) that showed a similar device. However in his patent he showed using 2 or 3 rubber discs on the glass tube unlike these siphons that use only one. Possibly that was determined to be unnecessary. In a 1931 advertisement directed at dairies, they promoted giving this device to customers as a way to compete against dairies that were using the Cream Top milk bottle. The promotional price in that ad was one dollar per dozen.
The second one was made by New Jersey Specialty Company of Trenton, New Jersey and was simply called a Cream Extractor. This one has a copyright date of 1939 and came with discs for Dacro or cap seat milk bottles. Note on these cream extractors the end of the tube was not constricted and the short end of the bend went in the milk bottle as opposed to the previous ones where the long end of the tube went in the bottle.
The first siphon on the left was called The Harson Separator. It worked on the same principle as the last two in the previous picture only instead of rubber discs that fit tight in the bottle's neck this one utilized a rubber cap (seen sticking out of the box) that fit over the milk bottle's lip. The short side of the glass tube was passed through the rubber lid and into the neck of the milk bottle. As the rubber lid was pushed on the bottle, pressure increased inside the bottle and the cream was pushed up into the glass tube to start the siphon. One improvement on this siphon was the lid incorporated a one way valve in the rubber. When the lid was pushed on it let no air pass so the pressure increased inside the bottle. However when the siphon was started it let air leak into the bottle so a vacuum was not created that would stop the siphon.
The Harson Separator was based on a patent granted to McWhite Harnsberger of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania on March 13, 1934. The patent also showed a wire that had a scrubbing device on it that ran through the glass tube. One problem with these siphons was that it was very difficult to clean the cream out of the tubes. This wire was supposed to remain in the tube all the time and could be scrubbed back and forth to clean the inside of the tube. We do not think this idea was ever put into production. The rubber cap on this separator is embossed Western Maryland Dairy and must have been used as a promotional item.
The two cream separators on the right were called the Skimit. The Skimit cream siphon in the middle was one of the first devices to siphon cream from a bottle of milk. It actually was designed by a doctor as a way to get rich milk for babies. Eventually it was sold as kitchen tool to get cream for coffee and whipping. This design was based on a patent issued to Dr. James Cournyer of Oskaloosa, Iowa on June 3, 1924. The patent was assigned to the Skimit Manufacturing Company, also in Oskaloosa, who manufactured the siphons. This was not Dr. Cournyer's first patent for a cream siphon. He was issued patents on August 21, 1917, October 8, 1918 and October 12, 1920 for preliminary designs for this cream siphon. They probably sold this version for a number of years before the final patent was issued since the patent was filed in 1921 but not granted till 1924. In fact these cream separators will be marked with the 1817, 1918 and 1920 patent dates and not the 1924 patent date.
Looking at the picture one sees that this siphon actually had a plunger on a wire that worked like a pump. However it only needed to be pumped once to start the siphon action. After it was started the siphon would continue on it own. These were advertised in a 1922 women's magazine at the price of 1 dollar. They were also offered in a nickeled version for 2 dollars. The early advertisements targeted mothers of infants and referred to the device as a sanitary siphon. Later the advertisements promoted it as a kitchen tool and it was referred to as a kitchen cream separator.
The cream separator on the far right was also invented by Dr. Cournyer. It was an improved version that started automatically and did away with the plunger. Also the depth that the separator sat in the milk bottle could be adjusted for the depth of the cream layer and the size of the milk bottle. Interestingly the patent for this cream separator was granted on May 20, 1924, two weeks before the patent for the earlier model was issued. The patent application for this separator was filed in 1923. For some reason the patent for the earlier version must have been delayed causing it's patent to be granted after the patent for the improved version. These were advertised for one dollar when they were first introduced. In February of 1925 they dropped the price to 65 cents. About this time the company changed location to Chicago, Illinois. They were still being advertised in 1939 and the price had dropped again to 50 cents.
Almost all cream separator devices used a siphon or a weak vacuum to remove the cream. As the cream went down the tube outside of the bottle it created a low pressure in the other end of the tube that was in the bottle. This caused more cream to enter the tube and the siphon was self sustaining. The problem was getting the siphon action started initially. In most siphon tube type cream separators this was done by plunging the tube into the milk forcing some cream up and over the bend in the tube and starting the siphon. In reality this wasn't as easy as it sounded and plunging the tube into the milk disturbed the separation of the cream and the milk, mixing some milk into the cream layer.
The cream siphon shown above was one way around this problem. It used high pressure to push the cream into the siphon tube and over the bend to start the siphon action. The tube passed through a cap that would seal the top of the milk bottle. There was also a squeeze bulb attached to the cap. One would pump the bulb forcing air in the space between the cap and the top of the cream. This pressure would push down on the cream forcing it into the tube and up, over the bend. Once the cream was over the top of the bend in the tube the siphon would continue on its own. The thin finger on the outside of the tube, pointing towards the bottle was an indicator so one would know where the end of the tube was when it was hidden in the white milk.
This cream remover was patented by Leslie Rawcliffe of Foxboro, Massachusetts on October 23, 1923. It was manufactured by The Rawcliffe Mfg. Company, Inc. of North Attleboro, Massachusetts. They sold for $1.50. An interesting idea but it was definitely bulky to use.
Lafornia Farm, quart, El Monte, California, Lockport Glass Company, pre-1919
The devices shown above were also used to remove the cream from a regular bottle of milk. The first two in the top row simply use a small cup to dip the cream off the top of the milk. The first dipper was introduced in a paper presented in November of 1899 by Dr. Henry Chapin of New York about infant feeding. Dr. Chapin suggested using the top milk and cream from a bottle of milk with the cream risen to the top to improve the nutrition of infants. This dipper became know as the Chapin Cream Dipper. One problem with it however was if it was dipped into a full bottle of milk, the cream would spill over the top of the bottle as the dipper was submerged. This required that the first few ounces of cream needed to be removed with a spoon before the dipper was used. The dipper was designed to hold just one ounce of cream and Dr. Chapin had specific recommendations as to how many dippers to remove from the bottle depending on what percentage of cream needed to be fed to the child. These first versions were made by the Cereo Company of Tappan, New York and sold for 15 cents for a tinned steel dipper or 25 cents for an aluminum dipper like the one shown here.
The second dipper shown above was modified to solve this problem. The second one of these is stamped with a January 2, 1912 patent date. The idea behind this one is the cone bottom of the cup separates from the cylinder section of the cup. The bottom of the cone was opened when you pushed the device in the cream. This would displace less cream and result in less cream being spilled over the top of the milk bottle and less skim milk being mixed in the cream. When the device was fully submerged, you closed the cone tip against the cylinder and lifted a full scoop of cream out of the milk bottle. The cup again held just one ounce. This patent was granted to Lott Mansfield of Hingham, Massachusetts. The device was now advertised as the Chapin Modified Cream Dipper and was sold by The Chapin Modified Cream Dipper Company of Boston, Massachusetts. They were marketed to doctors in hopes they would recommend them to mothers to use in preparing modified milk for their children. The advertised price was 50 cents. The Walker-Gordon Company used these cream separators as a marketing tool.
The third device in the top row was called the Economy Cream Saver and was sold by Economy Sales of Gaylord, Michigan. The price of 25 cents was molded in the rubber disc. It worked on the same principle as the Cream Top milk bottle. On the Cream Top milk bottle the hole between the cream bulb and the milk bottle body was smaller than the hole at the top of the bottle. That way the metal cream spoon could fit through the top of the bottle and still be big enough to seal the hole between the cream bulb and the milk bottle. With this cream saver the device is a rubber disc on a metal rod. The rubber could be folded to fit into the top of the milk bottle and then when it unfolded inside the bottle it was big enough to seal against the neck of the bottle and allow the cream to be poured off without letting the milk pass. Basically it allowed a normal milk bottle to act like a Cream Top milk bottle. The rubber disc is marked patented but there is no patent date or patent number. We think the patent that goes with this device was issued to Allan McDougall of Gaylord, Michigan on May 25, 1937. We have seen patents as early as 1910 for this style of folding cream separator. This date would have been well before the introduction of any cream separating milk bottles. One problem with this device was that it was very difficult to see the white disc when it was submerged in the white milk.
The two products in the bottom row were aluminum and used vacuum to remove the cream from the milk bottle. The first one of these was called the Elgin Cream Remover and it had a May 1, 1923 patent date. This patent was issued to William Lange of Elgin, Illinois. In the patent papers he claimed that this device could also act as an eggbeater. It was manufactured by the Elgin Butter Tub Company of Elgin, Illinois. The second one was called the Eureka Cream Lifter and was sold by the Eureka Products Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The idea behind these last two cream removers is the same as when you put your finger over the end of a straw and lift some of the liquid out of a glass.
There were many items produced to cover milk bottles during storage or to form a pouring spout on the milk bottle. Milk bottle lips were often hard to pour from and prone to drips and spills.
The first milk bottle on the top left has a green glass cover that came with Frigidaire refrigerators. It is embossed FRIGIDAIRE MILK BOTTLE COVER and was designed to just sit on top of the milk bottle. Many of these probably broke when they fell off the bottle
The milk bottle on the top right has a plastic pouring spout from Crown Jersey Dairy that snapped on to the lip of the milk bottle. These were often given to customers as promotional items.
The milk bottle on the bottom left has a metal pouring spout that snapped onto the bottle lip and was called the Stapure Milk Pouring Cap. It was manufactured by the Isla Manufacturing Company of Boston, Massachusetts and was patented on December 18, 1828. This patent was issued to Lazar Traub of Brookline, Massachusetts and he assigned his patent to his company, Traub Company Incorporated. This pouring spout was nicely plated, had a tight fitting cover on the spout and used a rubber gasket between the spout and the bottle lip to keep it from leaking. These were sold for 35 cents.
The milk bottle on the lower right has a pouring spout with a cover called the Help-mate. It has patent dates of June 22, 1915 and October 12, 1915. Both of these patents were granted to Otto Spahr of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the features described in the patent was what appears to be a lead counterweight to help open and close the flap. It probably would not pass standards today.
These milk bottles contain order wheels. Milkmen left these with their customers and they would put them in the empty milk bottles left on the porch. The flags that were rotated up told the milkman what products and how much to leave for the next delivery. The first order wheel on the left is from Borden's and is marked with a patent number from June 17, 1941. This patent was granted to Fred Cronenwett of San Francisco, California and assigned to the H. S. Crocker Company, Inc. also of San Francisco. On this order wheel the product as well as the amount were on the tab. There was a tab for one quart of milk and a separate tab for two quarts and so on.
The second order wheel on the right was labeled as a Semaphore and was given away by the Toyon Creamery of Palo Alto, California. It was a little different in that the tabs were only marked with the product and not an amount. The center half circle had the amounts marked around its edge. The tabs were placed above the amounts that one wanted to purchase. This reduced the number of tabs needed on the order wheel since each product only needed one tab. It is labeled with the same patent date as the first order wheel.
Milk bottles left to right:
Russell's Jersey Dairy, quart, Knight's Landing, California, Hazel-Atlas, date unknown
Spring Grove Creamery, quart, Willits, California, Owens-Illinois, 1946
Shown here are two milk bottle cappers. These were used by dairymen to quickly insert the milk cap into the milk bottles. Pushing down inserted the cap in the milk bottle and loaded the next cap. One advantage of milk bottle cappers was that the milk cap was never touched by human hands. The capper on the left was sold in the 1935-36 Montgomery Ward catalog for $9.75. In this same Montgomery Ward catalog quart milk bottles sold for $3.95 for six dozen and milk bottle caps sold for 39 cents for a thousand. The best price on milk bottle caps however was in the 1915 Sears, Roebuck and Company catalog. They offered a 110 pound barrel with 50,000 milk bottle caps for 7 dollars.
The milk bottle capper on the right was sold by the Milwaukee Dairy Supply Manufacturing Company. This capper was covered by a patent granted to Gustav Strandt of Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 16, 1920.
Displayed in the above picture are different types of milk bottle cap removers. These were often referred to as cap picks or cap lifters. They were usually given away by dairies and creameries to their customers. They usually have the dairy name or advertising embossed on the metal. The first row of cap lifters are all for use with disc style milk caps that fit into a cap seat. These are all designed to puncture the cap and lift it out.
The first cap pick is stamped with a November 26, 1912 patent date. This was a design patent issued to Thomas Harding of Newark, New Jersey and assigned to J. L. Sommer Manufacturing, also of New Jersey. These cap picks could also be used to remove crown tops off of soda and beer bottles. In 1939 they cost a dairy $25.00 per 1000 picks and that included their name on both sides of the handle. This one advertised S & H Green Stamps.
The second cap pick was advertised as the Sommers Cap Lifter (most likely the same Sommers as the patent mentioned above). We have seen an advertisement from 1913 listing a price of one cent when bought in quantities of one thousand. That price even included the dairies name stamped on the pick! By 1939 the price was $15.00 per 1000 picks. We believe that this style of cap pick predates the previous one. It is stamped PAT. APD. although we have never been able to locate this patent. The cap pick shown here was from the Thatcher Manufacturing Company of Elmira, New York.
The third cap lifter is made of stamped metal and is not as common. A 1913 advertisement referred to it as The Dainty Cap Lifter. At that time it was sold wholesale by the J. G. Cherry Company and was priced at 20 dollars per 1000 picks. Another 1913 ad listed the Illinois Glass Company and the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company as distributors. A 1939 catalog had it priced at $18.00 per 1000 picks with the dairies name stamped on the pick. The suggested retail price was 10 cents. They were manufactured by Windsor Stephens Company of Waltham, Massachusetts. The one pictured here advertised Keith's Milk and Cream. Early Dainty Cap Lifters are stamped with a November, 26, 1901 patent date. This patent was issued to Samuel Entrekin of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The next cap remover, shown with its original box was probably sold rather than given away. It is a spring-loaded device and it seems that its goal was to make cap removal a one handed job. A metal bridge would brace against both sides of the bottle lip while the pick went in the cap. The box claims the there would be no spilled milk or injured hands. It also showed that the device could be used to replace the milk cap although it would have a hole punched in it. It was called the Duzit Milk Cap Remover and was made by The Duzit Products Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. It is stamped PAT. PEND'G but again we have not been able to locate the patent.
The last two cap picks in the top row advertise Pet and Sego irradiated milk. They have wood handles with a metal point and were made to puncture metal evaporated or condensed milk cans. The Pet Milk Company purchased Sego Milk Products Company in 1928 although they still sold under the Sego brand name. There was a Sego condensed milk plant located in Galt, California that opened in 1917.
The cap removers on the bottom row were used with Dacro style caps that fit over the top of the milk bottle lip. The first one was from Blewett Dairy of Lodi, California. The second one also is stamped with a November 26, 1912 patent date just like the first pick in the top row. The same patent must have covered both picks. This cap pick advertised Arden Dairy's certified milk. Certified dairies, like Arden, often used Dacro caps to protect the pouring lip of the milk bottle.
Like any business there was a risk when dairies sold their products up front and received payment at the end of the month. Nothing probably frustrated a milkman more than to deliver milk all month to an apartment and then go to collect his money at the end of the month and find that the tenant had moved out. To solve this problem dairies sold tokens or coupons to customers to get their payment in advance. The customer would then leave the token or coupon in the empty bottles on the porch and the milkman would know what to leave the next day and it would already be paid for. The tokens and coupons also created some loyalty to the dairy since a milkman from a competing dairy could not come in and steal the account since the customer had money tied up in the original dairy. They also reduced the amount of cash that a milkman had to carry with him making theft less of an issue.
At the top of the photo above is a coupon book. These came in two styles. The one pictured here as removable tickets that have values of 1, 3, 5 or 10 cents. The customer just tore out the value of tickets that were needed to pay for the next days milk and left them in the empty milk bottle. These coupon books also came with the tickets marked for different products such as a quart of milk, a pint of milk or a pint of cream. Often these books or coupons were sold at a slight discount compared to if a person was paying cash. The two coupons at the lower left are for a cup of cream, rather than a monetary value. A retired milkman told us he recommended using coupons with a monetary value. That way if the price of milk had to be raised the change was immediate. If a dairy used coupons good for a quantity of milk the price change would not be effective till all the coupons sold at the old price were turned in. He also said that since milkmen carried other products besides milk, like butter, juice and even eggs, the housewife was more likely to buy these extra products if she could use the monetary coupons. If the dairy used coupons that were only for quantities of milk then she would have to use cash for the extra products and would be less likely to make an extra purchase.
Other dairies used metal tokens similar to regular coins. Tokens were also known as checks. These were made of brass, aluminum, steel, nickel-silver or later plastic. They were often stamped in various shapes to allow the milkman to recognize the token by its shape in the dark morning hours rather than have to read the embossing on the token. Common shapes were round, square, oval, hexagon, octagon, scalloped and cloverleaf. Other dairies used tokens with different shaped cut outs in the center to make the tokens even more distinct, like the four tokens in the lower right which are from Fuller Rancho Dairy in Corona, California. Tokens were stamped with a volume of product or a monetary value similar to the coupons discussed above. The tokens shown above all are stamped with a volume of product, like a quart of milk or a half pint of cream. These too were left in the bottom of the empty milk bottle. Some tokens were triangular in shape and too wide to fall to the bottom of the milk bottle. They were designed to sit in the mouth of the milk bottle rather than falling to the bottom of the empty bottle. This saved the milkman from having to fish the token out of the spoiled milk at the bottom of the empty bottle.
Another use of tokens was as a deposit for the bottle. Tokens for this purpose will be embossed with something like "Good for 3 cents when returned with empty bottle". These were commonly used by stores and markets to identify who paid a bottle deposit. When the purchaser bought a bottle of milk from a store they commonly paid a 3 or 5 cent deposit on the milk bottle. They would receive the token to prove they had paid the deposit. When they returned an empty milk bottle with a token they got their deposit back. Generally customers that got their milk from a route delivery man did not pay a deposit on their milk bottles. This meant that a dishonest person could return a milk bottle they had delivered to their home to the local market and receive a deposit that they never paid for. By giving out tokens with every milk bottle purchase from a store this was prevented. It also prevented people from returning bottles from other sources or stealing them to get the deposit.
One other solution to this problem was for the milk in stores to be sold in bottles different from those used for home delivery. It was quite common for milk bottles sold in stores to be pyroglazed STORE BOTTLE. This indicated that the bottle was purchased from a store and entitled to a return deposit. Some dairies even changed the color of the pyroglazing on home and store milk bottles (picture).
Tokens were relatively cheap for dairies to buy. In quantities of 1000, a custom token would cost around 2 cents in 1939 and could be used over and over.
Off page milk bottles left to right:
Creamer's Dairy, quart, Madera California, Owens-Illinois, 1936
Creamer's Dairy, quart, Madera California, Owens-Illinois, 1946
Clovis Quality Dairy, quart, Clovis, California, Liberty Glass Company, 1944
Clovis Quality Dairy, quart, Clovis, California, Liberty Glass Company, 1944
These are milk bottle collars. They were designed to be bent into a ring and put over the mouth of a milk bottle so they rested on the bottle's shoulder (picture). Dairies used them for many purposes. The could just be used for good will, especially around Christmas time, to wish their customers Merry Christmas. Or they could be used to promote other products from the dairy. Milk bottle collars were also popular with charities to promote membership or civic functions. The top collar above promoted joining the Red Cross and probably dates to the period of WWII. The bottom collar was from 1943 and promoted purchasing Christmas Seals to stop tuberculosis as well as War Stamps and Bonds to support the efforts in WWII.
One of the first patents for these milk bottle collars was issued to Joseph Wasser of St. Louis, Missouri on November 3, 1931. He assigned his patent to the Pevely Dairy Company of St. Louis although at some point Neher-Whitehead & Company of St. Louis must have gotten use of the patents as these collars were made by this company and referenced the same patents. Wasser was also issued patents on August 22, 1933 and April 23, 1935 for improvements in his display devices as he called them. Dairies and charities liked the collars because they were very cheap and could be changed easily. The collars cost 6 dollars for orders of 1000 collars or as little as $2.95 per 1000 collars in orders of 50,000.
Off page milk bottles left to right:
Vived Farm Dairy, quart, Madera, California, Owens-Illinois, 1941
Lang Dairy, quart, Robles Del Rio, California, Hazel-Atlas
Hollister Dairy, quart, Hollister, California, Liberty Glass Company, 1947
Here is another premium given away by dairies. This was called the Sure Grip Milk Bottle Holder and it was designed to be mounted on the wall of the porch so the milkman could hang the bottles in it. It also had a clip to hold milk coupons. It was just a piece of sheet metal bent and cut into shape with a quick paint job. The cost to the dairy would have been minimal. This one was given away by the Missouri Ice Cream & Milk Company of Marshall, Missouri. It did not offer any protection to the milk bottles like later insulated porch boxes but it did keep the neighborhood dogs and cats from licking the tops of the bottles.
Milk bottles left to right:
Hollister Dairy, quart, Hollister, California, Liberty Glass Co., 1947
Hollister Dairy, quart, Hollister, California, Owens-Illinois, 1945