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.

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.