August 2019 Product Review

If you’re looking for a birthday gift for a friend or yourself, check out three products for your bookcase or shop.

| August 2019

milk-cans 

A Celebration of Milk Cans

Before the use of milk cans, a common practice was for cows and asses to be driven through the streets. Customers would receive fresh milk directly from the cow. In London, milkmaids avoided the dangers to themselves and the contamination of their milk (from slops being thrown out at night from upper storied windows) by shouting “milkmaid below!” or “milko” or even “meow.”

And that is just the first interesting tidbit found in Milk Cans: A Celebration of their History, Use, and Design, by Ian Spellerberg. The author has gathered everything there is to know about milk cans, including their history and design; information on materials, volume and shape; patents; accessories; processing and maintenance – all in the first 12 pages!

 The book is lavishly illustrated with vintage illustrations and black-and-white and color photos. The reader quickly realizes how little he knows about milk cans – and how small the galaxy of information is, a rather surprising state of affairs given the once wide usage of the humble piece. For a book of this size, the amount of text is fairly small, but a wealth of images more than makes up for that.



Milk cans, churns and pails have been used for centuries, which is perhaps the reason that they are some of the most photographed of all farm collectibles. Spellerberg launches a fond exploration of that tradition, showcasing milk can-themed postage stamps, discussing milk can art, miniatures, games and more.

Milk Cans: A Celebration of their History, Use, and Design, by Ian Spellerberg, 2018, published by Astragal Press, an imprint of Globe-Pequot. Soft cover, 262 pages, black-and-white and full color photos and vintage illustrations.



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