Cream Separators and Dairy Collectibles Group Annual Meeting

Collectors of milking machines and butter churns come together to celebrate dairy items

| August 1999

  • Johnny Shultz with part of his extensive collection of DeLaval items
    Johnny Shultz with part of his extensive collection of DeLaval items. Treasures in his collection include window transfers dating to the 1890s, and four early wall calendars in mint condition. Among the four: a rare "Indian" calendar that was given to creamery executives. "They're pretty hard to find," he said.
  • Jerry and Barb Surbrook mix work and pleasure: they run a dairy operation, and collect almost everything related to the dairy
    Jerry and Barb Surbrook mix work and pleasure: they run a dairy operation, and collect almost everything related to the dairy – but specialize in Dazey butter churns.
  • A vintage device used to cut butter into cubes.
    A vintage device used to cut butter into cubes.
  • Butch and Dea Allen, St. Joseph, Mo., have a great collection of butter churns and related items
    Butch and Dea Allen, St. Joseph, Mo., have a great collection of butter churns and related items. Shown at left is a Coles milkshake maker. The piece dates to the turn of the century. At right: a fountain drink mixer made by the Minneapolis Brass and Iron Manufacturing Co., and patented in March 1890. The unit clamps onto the edge of a counter or table, and the glasses tumble in a circle, like a miniature Ferris wheel.
  • Kent Gordon made the trek to the annual meeting from eastern Texas. He has an extensive collection of cream separators.
    Kent Gordon made the trek to the annual meeting from eastern Texas. He has an extensive collection of cream separators.

  • Johnny Shultz with part of his extensive collection of DeLaval items
  • Jerry and Barb Surbrook mix work and pleasure: they run a dairy operation, and collect almost everything related to the dairy
  • A vintage device used to cut butter into cubes.
  • Butch and Dea Allen, St. Joseph, Mo., have a great collection of butter churns and related items
  • Kent Gordon made the trek to the annual meeting from eastern Texas. He has an extensive collection of cream separators.

When the Cream Separators and Dairy Collectibles group met recently for their annual meeting, the only thing missing was the ice cream. Otherwise, the 100 or so collectors who gathered at the National Agricultural Center at Bonner Springs, Kan., had the entire dairy scene covered: cream separators, milking machines, butter churns and a barn full of memorabilia were on display. 

That reflects an ever-increasing interest, said collector Kent Gordon, Palestine, Texas.

"The number of dairy collectors keeps getting bigger all the time," he said.

Technology, though, is changing the hunt, said Johnny Shultz, Platte City, Mo. Johnny and Larry Gibbons, Independence, Mo., helped organize the Bonner Springs gathering.



"I think you can still find a lot of really nice items," Johnny said. "There's still a lot out there, although separators are getting a little tougher to find. But the internet is making this stuff easier to find. There's always 40 dairy items for sale on Ebay. And when the rare items are on, everybody's bidding."

Johnny started collecting before electronic auctions got underway, and remembers fondly the days of trooping through antique stores and writing to book dealers. Hunting for antiques on the Internet is more time efficient, he said, but less entertaining.



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