Cream separators utilized centrifugal force to separate the cream from milk
Vintage cream separators on display along with related collectibles: cream and milk cans, oil cans and racks used when cleaning separators, a particularly tedious chore.
The use of a pretty face has a long and successful history in the field of commercial art. Here, the image of a sweet country girl is used to market cream separators.
In an effort to compete with foreign imports, some American manufacturers emphasized their domestic origins, going so far as to name the brand the United States cream separator.
So simple a child can use it: Ease of operation was a familiar (if not always accurate) claim made by cream separator manufacturers.
This cut-away illustration shows how centrifugal force causes skim milk to pass outward through the spaces between the discs in thin sheets, while cream is passed upward along the inner ends of the discs. Each is then collected separately and dispensed through the appropriate spouts.
Built by Anker-Holth Mfg. Co., Port Huron, Mich., this self-balancing bowl cream separator was available in five sizes “adapted to any sized herd — from two to 100 cows.”
Most companies offered several sizes of cream separators. Tabletop models were a popular alternative to the full-size unit, as shown in this ad from a publication in Australia.
Prior to development of the Alpha disc separator, which used a series of discs to continuously separate cream and skim milk, whole milk was either whirled in containers or spun in a hollow cylinder from which skim milk could be drawn off from the outside circumference.