Today in History: April 8th


Did you know? On 08 April 1879, Milk was sold in glass bottles for the first time in the United States.

Until that time, people bought milk as a bulk item, with the seller dispensing milk out of a keg or bucket into jugs, pails or other containers the customers brought. That practice left a lot to be desired on the cleanliness front. Some dairies tried offering milk in fruit jars, perhaps because customers had started bringing the resealable containers to them to be filled. This was then seen as a necessary improvement in hygiene and convenience.

Echo Farms Dairy introduced the first purpose-made milk bottles in New York City, delivering the milk from Litchfield, Connecticut. Other dealers initially feared the expense of breakage, and some customers didn’t like the drugstore look of the containers.

But the new method of delivery eventually caught on. By the first decade of the 20th century, some cities were legally requiring that milk be delivered in glass bottles.

Early bottles had many designs, including models with stoppers on wire loops, like the bottles still used today by some European and specialty breweries. Many had the name of the dairy embossed on the glass.

Because milk has a short shelf life, consumers used the contents quickly and returned them when they went to the market or when fresh milk was delivered to their doors by milkmen.

The typical milk bottle made 22.5 round trips in the early 1900s before getting broken, lost or diverted by consumers to other purposes.

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Compiled by: Sellwane Khakhau