Local dairies left artifacts

By DANNY BRISENO dnl.briseno@gmail.com
Posted 11/25/19

Long gone are the days of the milkman making door-to-door rounds dropping off the freshest milk possible to patrons. Large cities had milk delivery but many will remember the small town milkman, …

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Local dairies left artifacts


Long gone are the days of the milkman making door-to-door rounds dropping off the freshest milk possible to patrons. Large cities had milk delivery but many will remember the small town milkman, also.

Edgar County was full of dairies that delivered milk to whomever placed an order. Many times the milk was on the doorstep by six in the morning. Milk delivery got its start long before Edgar County had dairies

Door-to-door milk delivery started in 1785 in rural Vermont, but the modern glass bottle that many remember being delivered to their doors was not patented until 1874. The milk delivery game changed yet again in the 1920s when advertising got involved. A form of sandblasting was used to etch the advertisements on the daily delivered bottles.

Edgar County’s list of dairies was once a vast directory from which one could select delivery. One of the earliest dairies in Edgar County dates back to 1898 and was called Irene Creamery. It was located at Irene and operated by Wilson Grover.

Since Irene Creamery, many dairies have come and gone in Edgar County. There was Cal Swain, Calvert, Saxton, Whitesell, Boyer, Equity, Meadow Gold, Graceland, Harland A. See, Chas. A Means, Huffman and the one most remember, Heischmidt.

Out of all these dairies only the Heischmidt Dairy facility is still standing. Although the dairy itself is long gone, the house and barn are still visible today on north Main Street. Many people worked for the Heischmidt Dairy. Many also remember Pete Heischmidt leaving the dairy through the alley to do his daily deliveries.

Other Paris residents, like Frank Givens, delivered milk for many years. Givens, however, was different as he started delivering milk at the age of 11. Eventually, the Heischmidt Dairy was bought out by the Heath Dairy of Robinson.

Milk was delivered in bottles ranging in size from a pint to a gallon. Throughout the years bottles have changed a lot. Generally, the older bottles were embossed with the name of the dairy, the proprietor and location. Some included words such as homogenized or pasteurized on the bottles as well.

As time rolled on, the bottles went from being embossed to a pyro glazed version.

As the pyro bottles became popular, so did advertising on them. Some dairies advertised other products they made, such as cottage cheese, as well as war bonds.

Over time, as the dairies in our county faded away, the popularity of collecting the bottles and cardboard caps has exploded in a gigantic way. Collectors are on the hunt everywhere for dairy bottles and not just ones from big name distributors. Many collectors actually look for the small town bottles because one, they are harder to find and two, they command a higher price.

There are also those guys who collect their home county items. Local citizens Don Wiseman, Doyle Entrican, Greg McHenry and Daniel Briseno are just a few locals looking for the local dairy bottles.

Collectors search high and low for bottles. They look everywhere from the local thrift stores to doing their own digs. Digs could include old dumps to the backyard of a local house. They don’t always turn up an amazing find, but more often than not they find a really nice piece. One never knows if the search will turn up the ever so hard to find Chas A. Means or the Huffman Dairy. However, one thing is for sure and that is the thrill of the hunt keeps the collectors outside.

Dairies have played a major role in the day-to-day life of local residents and people across the United States for many years. Unfortunately, the world’s mass producers shut down the local hometown dairies for good many years ago. Many residents considered it a sad day when door-to-door delivery stopped, but the memories live on through the collectors who are always on the lookout for that one elusive bottle or cardboard lid to add to their ever growing collections.