Double Feature Show: Dairy Collectibles and Hay Equipment

Dairy collectors and hay equipment fans join forces at joint show.

| October 2007

  • DennisNickerson.jpg
    Dennis Nickerson with what he believes to be a one-quart Dandy churn. He recalls a similar model used in his home when he was a boy.
  • cornspear.jpg
    A corn spear from the collection of Jay Hankee, Viroqua, Wis. The spear (at the end of a long wooden handle) was used when the farmer was headed home from the field with a wagon load of corn. “When the load shifted and an ear or two fell off, the guy on the wagon could use the spear to pick up the lost ears without getting off the wagon,” Jay says. “This is from the days when an ear of corn meant something.”
  • KeithOltrogge.jpg
    Part of Keith Oltrogge’s collection of separator oil cans. These are from Massey-Harris in Canada.
  • snowshoe.jpg
    A snowshoe for a horse, from the collection of Jay Hankee. “They probably just used them on the horse’s front feet,” he says.
  • Muckshoes-1.jpg
    Muck shoes, used on horses’hooves in muckland. These date to the late 1800s, and were displayed by New York collector Ron Bennett.
  • Muckshoes.jpg
    A salesman’s sample cow stanchion from the collection of Charlie Hahn, Neosho, Wis. Charlie also displayed a rare 2-gallon Red Wing lye crock. “When I see something odd,” he says, “if it’s in good condition, I’ll buy it.”
  • Perfectionmilker.jpg
    Keith Oltrogge with his display. At lower left, a Perfection milking machine sold by Massey-Harris Ferguson Ltd., Toronto, Canada. Top right: a rare Massey table-top separator.
  • Perfectionmilker-2.jpg
    A cream separator made by the Melotté company in Belgium from the collection of the late David Stralow. “He milked for 40 years and he collected everything related to the dairy,” says his wife, Linda, Sterling, Ill. “Butter churns, cream separators, milking machines, pails, stools, milk and cream cans, milker pumps, cream pails and kickers.”
  • Perfectionmilker-1.jpg
    Detail of the Perfection milker sold through Massey-Harris Canada.
  • DavidEvans.jpg
    David Evans with a few pieces from his collection of dairy items. At the back of the table are insulating sleeves used to keep bottled milk at the right temperature after delivery. At lower left, containers to hold cans of sweetened condensed milk, once a table staple. At lower right, an early fiber milk bottle. Such containers were produced as early as 1912. The metal box with the stork image (far right) is an ice cream mold.
  • Haycarriers.jpg
    Hay carriers displayed at the hay tool show.
  • DavidEvanstable.jpg
    Items on David Evans’ table display included a device designed to prevent cows from kicking while being milked (left) and a Conant Tail-Still (right), designed, as the manufacturer concisely notes, “to keep the cow’s tail still” while milking.
  • Bridlebits.jpg
    Antique bridle bits from the collection of Jay Hankee.
  • SteveWeeber.jpg
    Steve Weeber, who hosted the combined dairy/hay tool show near Iowa City, Iowa, has an extensive collection of hay carriers and related pieces. Many are displayed in this building, which provided a quiet place for collectors to visit and compare notes during the show in June.

  • DennisNickerson.jpg
  • cornspear.jpg
  • KeithOltrogge.jpg
  • snowshoe.jpg
  • Muckshoes-1.jpg
  • Muckshoes.jpg
  • Perfectionmilker.jpg
  • Perfectionmilker-2.jpg
  • Perfectionmilker-1.jpg
  • DavidEvans.jpg
  • Haycarriers.jpg
  • DavidEvanstable.jpg
  • Bridlebits.jpg
  • SteveWeeber.jpg

Take a bunch of dairy collectibles, throw in vintage hay equipment and related pieces, encourage the kind of cross-pollination collectors specialize in and what do you get? A remarkable assortment of antique farm tools and equipment.

That's exactly what transpired in early June near Iowa City, Iowa, when the 21st annual national convention of the North American Dairy Foundation was held in conjunction with the second annual Hay Tool Swap Meet and Show (for more on hay tools, see Farm Collector, August 2006). While the two groups have no plans to merge, the dual event was a reflection of undeniable realities.

"Our group is not growing," admits Dr. Paul Dettloff, editor of the dairy foundation's quarterly member publication, the Cream Separator & Dairy Newsletter. "But collectors are collectors. Some of the dairy collectors have hay items, and the hay tool collectors are showing interest in dairy things. There's a little-known gene called 'packrat' and we've got it!"

The hay tool collectors group, just two years old, has no formal means of blanket communication other than mailings. Like good neighbors, the dairy collectors offered space in their publication. Today, the newsletter goes to about 140 dairy collectors and about 40 hay tool collectors, and contains information of interest to each group. "I think the dairy collectors have welcomed the hay people," Paul says. "There's a kind of camaraderie. It's been kind of spontaneous. They help us and we help them."



The hay tool collectors group is loosely structured. As yet, the group has little interest in official trappings like bylaws, minutes or officers. But you can't argue with success: The group's mailing list is at 225 and growing; about 100 members attended the dual show.

About 25 members attended the groups annual meeting in June. "They're almost like a family," Paul says. "They come from all over the country." The group puts a priority on preserving dairy antiques … and on fun. "We usually have a display, swap meet and auction," Paul says. "We've had conventions where we separated milk and made butter. We've run Babcock testers at conventions."



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