Once upon a time, the milkman was a common feature in both rural and urban communities. Before the days of easy refrigeration, milk was delivered to homes daily, since as a foodstuff it was quick to spoil.
Prior to the development of milk bottles, milkmen carried churns or milk cans on wagons and filled customer’s jugs by dipping or pouring a measured amount. Following refrigeration and pasteurization milk deliveries continued, but by then, in recyclable milk bottles, which the milkman picked up for reuse.
With improved packaging and the ubiquity of grocery and convenience stores, delivered milk is now a specialty market commonly dropped once a week and typically includes other products such as eggs, cream, cheese, butter, and yogurt. In King County, Smith Brothers Farms, a family-operated dairy has been delivering fresh milk products since 1920.
They deliver to over 45,000 homes each week. In this photo, likely dating from 1906-1908, an older man with horse and buggy was delivering bottled milk in the Wilkeson-Carbonado area of east Pierce County.
This post card image, from the collection of John H. Morris, was provided by his friend Dave Cox. The back of the post card contained the following message: “Mrs. Robt. Rose, Wilkeson, Wash. We are all well, hope you are also. Every one is here. – Mary Larson * Postmarked: South Prairie, Wash, Aug. 22, 1924.”