A Short History on Milk Bottles

Milk has been carried and stored in glass containers for centuries. Most collectors are only concerned with Milk Bottles, that are embossed or pyroglazed (painted) with names of dairies on them, which were used for home delivery of milk. The names were put on the bottles so they would find their way back to the dairy for reuse. The color, picture, dairy, and condition all contribute to the value of the bottle.

No one seems to know when the first Milk Bottle came into use The New York Dairy Company is credited with using the first factory produced milk bottles. The first patent for a Milk Container is the Lester Milk Jar, Jan 29, 1878. There are only five known examples of this jar in existence today. Other similar milk containers from this period are the Mackworh Pure Jersey Cream crockery type jar, the Manorfield Stock Farm, Manor, PA glass wide mouth jar, and the Tuthill’s Dairy Unionville, NY.

The first patent relating to Milk Bottles is dated Mar 23, 1880 and is for a glass milk bottle with a small glass lid with a tin clip. This is a very hard to find bottle. The next listed patent is for a Milk Bottle with a dome type tin cap and is dated Sep 24, 1884. This bottle has been found with cream line marks and is very valuable. The Original Thatcher is one of the most desirable Milk Bottles for collectors and the patent for the glass dome lid is April 27, 1886. There are several variations of this early Milk Bottle and many reproductions. During this time period many types of bottles were being used to hold and distribute milk in them. These include pop bottle type with wire clamp used by the Chicago Sterilized Milk Company, Sweet Clover, and others. Fruit Jars were also used, but only the Cohansey Glass Manufacturing plant mad them with Dairy names embossed on them.

The common sense Milk Bottle with the first cap seat was developed as a economical means for sealing a reusable Milk Bottle by Thatcher Manufacturing Company around 1900. Most bottles produced after this time have a cap seat in them.

For more information on Milk Bottle history and collecting visit a nearby Bottle Show and Sale, Library, links, or purchase books by John H. Tutton.