Thursday, April 8, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday - Got Milk?

North Platte Nebraska Canteen at the Union Pacific Railway Station

Yesterday in history: On April 8, 1879, milk was sold in glass bottles in the U.S.for the first time
Today in History: April 9, 1872, Samual R. Percy patented instant dried milk

This postcard is a photograph of one of many volunteer canteens set up at railroad stations across the US to serve milk, coffee sandwiches and snacks to servicemen as they traveled from base to base during WWII

The card, dated August 28, 1943, was sent by a young serviceman in the Navy. He was assigned to Co. 880, an Outgoing Unit and was traveling from somewhere in the east to Thorne, Nevada, in the Mojave Desert.

Ammunition Bunkers at Naval Ammunition Depot Hawthorne

Thorne - now called Hawthorne - was the site of Naval Ammunition Depot Hawthorne. The depot was the staging area for almost all bombs, rockets and ammunition used in the war effort.
I hope he enjoyed a nice bottle of cold milk and a conversation with some of the great volunteers who gave our soldiers snacks and smiles during their long journey. Glen refers to his transportation as a cattle car, which is not too far off. These wartime trains were gutted to the essentials to make room for a maximum number of soldiers and their equipment.

Vintage Milk Bottles

Prior to the end of WWII almost all milk was delivered directly to the home. Many houses came with a milk chute by the kitchen door.

The double doors in the chute allowed for delivery from the outside and an inside door to bring the milk in. It was a great storage area for butter during the winter.

Milk Chute - just below and to the right of the kitchen window.

Twin Pines Milk Truck - Detroit Michigan

After WWII electric refrigerators became a common appliance and housewives would purchase their milk at the store.

Close that door, Midge! Do you want to refrigerate the whole house?
Regular home delivery became a thing of the past, and creameries such as Twin Pines, a Detroit staple, closed their doors and became a thing of the past along with milk chutes which for security reasons were made inoperable. I've lived in several houses that had a milk chute, have you?

Worry Free Home Delivery!

Milky's Party Time starring Milky the Clown was also a Detroit staple. The 2 hour Saturday program offered cartoons, westerns, magic, games and prizes. The magic words, boys and girls? Twin Pines!

But back to our day in history: Dried milk was around in some form long before 1872. Marco Polo wrote about a paste used by the Mongolian Tartars (Tartar sauce?)and made of partially dried skim milk. Russia already had a patented form of usable powdered milk in the early 1830's. Powdered milk was, for a time, an economical way for the household to stretch their grocery budget. Now, however, the price is often nearly the same as whole milk, but the convenience and shelf life make this a good "disaster" stocking item.

Milk Delivery circa 1920

Glass bottles revolutionized home delivery. The reusable bottles were deemed sanitary and certainly easier to transport than the original method of carrying a large tank through the neighborhood and filling household pitchers and crocks. Before pasteurization, the cream in whole milk rose to the top of the bottle. It was skimmed off and saved for other uses -perhaps a hot cup of coffee.

Thank you for stopping by and here's wishing you the cream of the day! For more Postcard Friendship Friday Fun stop by and visit Beth at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy


viridian said...

Oh but there are dairies that still deliver! With the organic movement, and the local foods movement, I wonder if they will become more popular?
My brother used to work for Mapleline:

Bob of Holland said...

A great set of cards and interesting info. I sure love low-fat milk and it's a pity the glass bottles have been replaced by plastic ones (or cartons). Happy PFF.

papel1 said...

Well what caught my eye was that the postcard was sent from Hawthorne Calif, formally known as Thorne which was new to me. We go RVing a couple times every summer in Hawthorne and am see the bunkers all the time. There is still a base there run by a private company and demolition of sorts is in the mountains. There is even a navy seals base there, maybe they dive in Walker Lake. I could write more here but won't.

Debs said...

wonderful! i don't know how you manage to find these obscure anniversaries but please keep 'em coming! i really enjoyed this one...made me think of that old benny hill song "ernie - the fastest milkman in the west") -

Aimee said...

Love this post! Kinda reminds me of the volunteers that go to DFW airport to greet the soldiers today. I know they hand out snacks, but probably not milk. :)

Joy said...

Fascinating post, never seen a milk chute before, they used to just leave the bottles on the doorstep here. I miss the full cream version where you could pour the cream off the top. The rise of cheap supermarket milk has mostly put local milkmen out of business.

Postcardy said...

The North Platte canteen was amazing. There is a DVD about it that includes a reunion of some of the woman who worked there.

Irene said...

Wow, what a lot of information. Love your card. Happy PFF

Shaunna said...

So much I didn't know about milk! Thanks for sharing. :) Happy PFF

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

We still do have home deliveries in glass bottles in the UK though it's harder and harder for them to compete with supermarkets.

My grandmother in Ireland used to tell me of the days when the milk was poured into the customers' containers, and the milkman would usually add a tilly (from the Irish word tuilleadh for an added measure). It was a common thing in our house, to ask for a tilly, a little extra.