Displays rare chums, ice cream freezers
Guernsey collectibles, including the famed Guernsey milk jugs, took center stage at the fourth annual All-Dairy Antiques and Collectibles Show held Sept. 22-26, 2001, at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.
Sixty-one exhibitors, a record number, converged on the complex from 11 states to show their collections at the five-day event, which was held in connection with and sponsored by the Ail-American Dairy Show. Attendance was estimated at several thousand over the five days.
The Guernsey display was created by 12 exhibitors from Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Among them was Dave Cochard, who exhibited the Reserve Grand Champion Guernsey at the cattle show. 'I was more excited about exhibiting in the collectibles show than I was with our cows in the show ring,' he said.
An exhibit by Rutter's Dairy, a family corporation in York, Pa., covered the early days of home delivery and featured their original horse-drawn wagon, used in the 1920s; a 1927 Chevy two-door sedan, which was Rutter's first motorized delivery vehicle, and a 1936 Thorne Model C-1 gas/electric delivery truck. According to Jay Crist, Rutter's historian, the Thorne was the only one ever made.
Sherry and Carl Abell of Medina, Ohio, brought their restored Elm Farm Dairy 1933 Twin Coach delivery truck. Sherry says they know of only six still in existence - and only two of those are drivable. Next year, they may have their 1931 Divco milk delivery truck ready to display as well, and Sherry says it is thought to be the only one of its kind.
Back home in Medina, the Abells operate Elm Farm Ice Cream and Dairy Museum, and a Victorian ice cream parlor called 'Once Upon a Sundae.' The museum and ice cream parlor are housed in an old dairy plant, where Carl worked for many years. The couple turned the former cooler into the parlor, complete with tin ceiling, a green-and-white Italian marble bar -and 100 different flavors of 'super premium' ice cream. 'Most of what we sell is 15 percent butterfat,' Sherry says.
At last September's Pennsylvania show, the Abells enjoyed being shoppers as well as exhibitors, and Sherry says their favorite finds were an antique wood cheese press and an antique barrel butter churn with a foot treadle. Both are now on display in their Medina museum.
Other exhibitors with items for sale reported excellent results; high-quality butter churns, advertising signs, milk bottles and various smaller 'go withs' all brought good prices.
Like the Abells, exhibitors Jim and Martha Roberts of Scio, N.Y., aim to educate with their display - the rolling 'Martha's Milk House,' a regular since the show's inception in 1998.
Martha says each year she and Jim attend six or more tractor and gas engine shows, along with the dairy show. They decided it would be interesting to create the milk house exhibit to add a new dimension to the tractor and engine events and to provide an exhibit of particular interest to the growing number of women who attend those shows. Their early-day display has proved so popular, she adds, that now they are especially invited to bring it to some events.