Thursday, August 13, 2009

Milk Delivery, 1909

In 1953, James H. Creedon of Middleborough described the delivery of milk in town nearly half a century earlier:

Milkmen's activities as of 1909 are of interest, compared with their delivery practices today. Many milkmen are around in mid-morning and early afternoon peddling their wares now. In 1909 and before, they had started deliveries at 2 A. M., so everyone would have their milk for breakfast, and then the milkmen would gather uptown at about 8 and enjoy their breakfast, or would it be dinner, after a 2 A. M. start. At these gatherings they talked things over, and with long nights and short days approaching, they decided it might be sensible to cut the 2 A. M. start, so they could live like real men, as one expressed it.

One of the objections to the 2 A. M. start was that they were the first on the roads, which they had to break out, in the case of snow, and also wear a track down to each of the houses, as no one was up to shovel a path.

They decided on an afternoon delivery during the winter, to allow a chance for roads and walks to be broken out, thereby giving them a long morning sleep. It was started experimentally for the winter, but a modified delivery plan of morning service followed the next spring. Most local milkmen now make a reasonably early morning delivery, but 2 A. M. is over, perhaps forever.

Ironically at the time Creedon was writing, the home delivery of milk itself had just about two decades remaining. The practice was discontinued in Middleborough in the early 1970s, and with it went the occupation of milkman.

Brockton Daily Enterprise, August 13, 1953


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