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Milk in a Bottle for the First Time in 1879

Milk Delivery
Getty Images, photo by General Photographic Agency

It’s amazing to think that milk first appeared in glass bottles for the first time in the United States 1879 and was a big improvement in hygiene and convenience. Before milk came in a bottle, people would buy it as a bulk item usually from a keg or bucket and put it in any type of container they had. The new method of delivery caught on fast with some states requiring milk to be sold in a bottle by the first decade of the 20th century.

Echo Farms Dairy was the first to put milk in a bottle in New York City, but milk had a short shelf life, so milk was delivered to your door, people would consume it quickly and the bottles were picked up on the next delivery. Most bottles at that time would make twenty two and a half trips before being broken or lost. There were problems with glass milk containers though, the expense of delivery, washing and sterilizing the bottles and transporting fresh bottles of milk in the same truck as the used bottles. These problems led to the design of cardboard wax containers which finally caught-on in the 1940’s. Today, plastic bottles are king accounting for almost all retail milk sold.

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