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A Column on Milk Bottle Collecting

Last Revised 03/22/2009

by Mike Reilly

    Now anyone who knows me knows that I'm not much of a bottle collector nor is my wife, Kris, much of a collector at all. She sometimes surprises me though.

    We attended a show together soon after I had joined the Club and while I was off looking at something, she was buying a couple of milk bottles from, I believe, Don & Karen McEvoy. She spotted two bottles from her hometown of Watertown and decided to have a keepsake. Her purchase consisted of a Mullen's Dairy, rect. QT., with "Guard Your Health - Drink More Milk" in a reddish pyro, and a Kusel Dairy Equipment Co. round half-pint with "House Of Quality" in black lettering. These were her first bottle acquisitions.

    I'm not sure when, but it was at an antique mall somewhere, she made her second purchases, or at least handed them to me to pay for. There was a round pint with "Enjoy Carnival's Golden Guernsey Dairy Products" in orange lettering from Algoma, Wis. and a Kowalski Guernsey Dairy round quart from Wausau with "Mother's Darling - Milk For Health" in orange pyro. Now for the reasons of purchase. I think she just liked the Carnival bottle, while the Kowaski comes from a town near where her mother grew up (in Bievent, Wi.) plus it was Polish like her mother as well. Though on the other hand she may have bought it because it said "Mother's Darling".

    The last bottle she bought was one I thought she got because she was thinking of me. We were at another antique shop and she shows me this round quart bottle with a green shamrock on it. Everyone know that Reilly is Irish, so I said thanks for finding an Irish bottle. But no, that wasn't the reason for buying it. The bottle from Hillside Dairy in Crivitz, Wis. with "For Health & Beauty Drink More Milk" in green lettering was bought because she has a cousin living there. Go figure!

    I did buy Kris one bottle when she wasn't around. She wanted a cream top, so when I was coming back from Indianapolis after a business trip, I found one. A round quart "Polk's Best/Indianapolis/Trade Mark" embossed on two shoulders. On the bottom was "Cream Top Pat. Mar 3rd '25 /1528480". No coloring on it but it was clean and a cream top. Please don't boo me for buying a non-Wisconsin bottle, it was only $20. Hey, I also found out from the seller that cream spoons, with the curvy handles, weren't used to skim out the cream, but to act as a stopper to prevent the milk from spilling out as the bottle was tilted to pour off the cream. Now I'm smart too.

    So now Kris has six bottles in her collection. If anyone has a bottle from Bievent, I'll buy it from you for her. I won't tell you right now where her other relatives are from.

Collecting Milk Bottles

by Robert Kleinow

    Milk bottle collecting can be challenging and rewarding. Many people collect bottles that interest them in certain ways, such as; their city, county, state, national, embossed, pyro, cream tops, cream tops with faces, 1/4 pints, deposit bottles, creamers, cottage cheese, slug plates, tin top bottles, and sets of three.

    National bottles might include Thatcher's Borden ruby red bottles with soldered tin handles.

    Go-with items are very collectible and interesting. Items include; signs - tin - porcelain - paper bottle caps, bottle cap picks, cream top spoons, promotional items, often given to sales persons, such as pins and tie tacks. stirring spoons, glass caps, route cards, bottle carriers, juice bottles, magazine ads, and calendars.

My local favorites are;

Duplainville Dairy - Duplainville

Golem Geskie - Waukesha

Seitz - Waukesha

Ruby Farms - Brookfield

Kieckhefer's - Pewaukee

Quality - Mukwonago

Dewey Dairy - Mukwonago

Big Bend Dairy - Big Bend

Burr Oak (John E. Jones) - Waukesha

Gridley (Amber Quart) - Milwaukee

Fox Dairy (Brass Insert) - Waukesha

This author is looking for - Quality, Dewey, Big Bend & a brass insert from Fox Dairy. Robert Kleinow, W314 S8090 Whitmore Rd., Mukwonago, WI. 53149.


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