An Accidental Hobby
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In the days before homogenization, Cream-Top bottles featured a rounded neck to trap the cream. Sometimes they molded the neck to the image of baby face or a policeman's face with a police man's hat and they called them 'cop the cream'. The more modern 'pyro-glaze' are most popular. Dairies could order any colorful picture or their name and slogan without it washing off.
To display their bottles, many collectors order white styrofoam beads that enhance the appearance just like milk did. Some collectors specialize in pyro-glazed creamers (the kind in which restaurants used to serve cream).
In addition, all the collectors snap up the 'go-with' such as cork-insulated boxes to set on the porch to keep the milk from freezing or souring. Every collector seems to be looking for a separator or churn or butter molds. I stumbled on a wooden butter worker to separate the buttermilk from the solid butter. Signs of all kinds are great addition to a collection, including those advertising premiums that milk companies used give out, such as pot holders or ice cream scoops with their names on them. (The lever action ice cream scoops they didn't give out.) The old 'Gilchrist' are the most famous and dependable scoops.
The national Milk Bottle Collectors organization meets in Hershey, Pa., each June and publishes the newsletter The Milk Route.
For more information, write The Milk Route, 4 Ox Bow Rd., Westport, CT 06880.
Photos are from the collection of Larry Berndt. Visit his website at: www.anselfire.com/mi/bottle/
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