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First Glass Milk Bottles

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It was on this date in 1879 that milk was sold in glass bottles for the first time. Before that milk was poured into whatever jugs, pails or other containers that the customers had. The whole process wasn’t very sanitary so some dairies began offering milk in glass fruit jars.

A Connecticut dairy – Echo Farms was the first to introduce glass bottles in their deliveries. Other dairies were slow to follow because of the cost and the fear of breakage.

It finally caught on. And by the early 20th century many cities made it law that milk could only be sold in glass bottles.

Glass milk bottles typically were used and returned less than 25 times before they either broke, were lost or used for something other than milk. So with the expense of returning them to the bottling plant, washing and sterilizing them, dairies began looking for an easier and cheaper method.

Wax-coated containers became the choice. They came in all kinds of shapes; cylinders, cones, pyramids, even in the shape of glass bottles. By the 1950’s they began using the familiar square cartons with the pull out spout. Recently many of those cartons are being replaced by plastic bottles.

There are very few dairies that sell milk in glass bottles anymore but there are some even around this area. One of them is on Ward Road in Sanborn and they still even provide home delivery service.


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