Collecting Antique Cream Separators

Antique dairy collectibles a logical choice for Pennsylvania farm family

| October 1998

One way or another, it started with DeLaval.

At least partly, it’s because Terry and Shirley Womer use DeLaval milking equipment. And partly it’s because DeLaval has been around since the 1800s and was the first manufacturer of cream separators.

“There’s a lot of advertising out there,” says Shirley Womer, as her eyes sweep across some of the extensive collection of antique dairy equipment and DeLaval advertising memorabilia in her farm home near Paxtonville, Pa.

“We got into farm signs, anything to do with DeLaval, and it just escalated ... veterinary things, collectibles. We call ourselves pack rats.”

A cream separator did exactly what the name implies – separated the cream from the rest of the milk. The cream was sold for a variety of purposes, including table use, sauces and dressings, baking, whipped cream, and ice cream, as well as churning butter.

The machines fell out of vogue when farmers started getting refrigeration.

Cream separators came in different sizes, but basically in two varieties: the gravity-flow machines, and those that worked by centrifugal force.