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RyanAK
Engine Wiper

USA
302 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2020 :  10:13:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My other threads sorta take a stream of consciousness, meandering path as we chat about various early railroad and industry topics... so I thought I'd start a few threads to explore various early industries that can be incorporated in our modeling. Though my own interest is in small, operationally and historically interesting layout designs, these all could be included in a larger early-era layout. I'll just be working through these as one-industry layouts or standalone modules.

This topic will serve for discussion on milk and milk-based products. Creameries, dairies, ice houses, milk cars, cheese, butter, casein, cream... Prototype information and photos are especially appreciated... as well as thoughts on how to model this industry in an accurate and prototypical way.

R

Dutchman
Administrator

USA
32336 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2020 :  11:05:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ryan,

The best reference that I have in my collection on Creameries from the turn of twentieth century is this one: https://www.arizonahobbies.com/Creameries-of-Upstate-New-York-At-the-Turn-of-the-Century_p_95.html

Plenty of great photos.

Another great book (but pricey) is Bob Mohowski's The New York, Ontario & Western Railway and the Dairy Industry in Central New York State: Milk Cans, Mixed Trains, and Motor Cars

http://www.garrigueshouse.com/196/

You might be able to find this one thru your local Library's 'inter-library lending' program




Bruce
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Dutchman
Administrator

USA
32336 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2020 :  11:19:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
An interesting article on a turn-of-the-century creamery in Newton, NJ.

https://www.njherald.com/lifestyle/20180204/sussex-county-lost-feb-4-century-milk-company-creamery-in-newton

And another small creamery in Sussex County, NJ

https://www.njherald.com/lifestyle/20160717/a-look-back-july-17-fulboams-creamery-and-railroad-station----monroe


Bruce
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jbvb
Fireman

USA
6358 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2020 :  07:44:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The B&MRRHS quarterly (mostly) magazine 'B&M Bulletin' has run quite a few articles on milk movements, mostly post-1930 from Maine, NH and VT to Boston-area creameries. Bob's Photo has published a series of milk equipment books, mostly Boston milk-shed and New York City milk-shed operations after 1930. A web search would probably find when the milk market was first regulated and when that ended, but at least from the 1930s through the 1960s, dairy farmers in a given area could only sell milk in one 'milk shed'. Boston's extended into far northern NY along the Rutland line to Ogdensburg. The regulation mattered a good deal in the Northeast; I'm not sure how it applied elsewhere.

The milk industry went through a lot of changes in the 20th century. My farm was a viable business in 1919 with 6 milkers, a small silo for feed, a chicken house and a butter/milk/eggs route in the adjoining port towns of Amesbury and Newburyport, MA. By 1927, my grandfather decided to 'get out' rather than 'get big'. I know there was another crisis in the 1950s when regulators required concrete floors in milk rooms (I've seen the long term result of pouring one over an existing wood floor). Then more contraction and shifting of business to bigger operations in the 1970s and 1980s. That climaxed in the 'whole herd buyout' scheme of the late 1980s, which left hundreds of New England and NY farms essentially abandoned. A fair number of outlying places stayed that way, and are now falling down.
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Bernd
Fireman

USA
3545 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2020 :  08:02:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A couple of years ago I got a set of 5 books on the milk industry in and around New York state. Below are the front and back covers of these books.





















Bernd

WWG1WGA

Edited by - Bernd on 02/10/2020 08:06:04 AM
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jbvb
Fireman

USA
6358 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2020 :  08:12:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Bernd, your 'Railway Milk Cars" books are the series from Bob's (Liljestrand) Photos I mentioned above.
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Mark B
Engine Wiper

USA
238 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2020 :  08:32:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mark B's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The January 2020 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman has an article about Page Milk of Merrill WI. It collected milk from local farmers and processed it into condensed milk which was in turn shipped to Chicago and other mid west distribution points. During WWII it's products were also sent to England and our armed forces for their use. It had about 30 of it's own reefers. Page also had 1 plant in Kansas and 1 in Michigan. By 1972 they were gone and the Merrill plant has since been demolished.

Mark B.
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RyanAK
Engine Wiper

USA
302 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2020 :  08:58:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Fascinating stuff, guys. In my area of central PA, milk was an important industry. Almost every station, including flags had at the very least a milk platform. There were milk collection houses, creameries. There are several mentions of casein being shipped for use in paint, but I haven't been able to find much information beyond that it took place.

Here are a few photos I find fascinating. The milk car started out on the Eagles Mere, then went to the White Deer & Loganton (where it was even used as an excursion car...) and finally to the Tuscarora Valley. Well traveled!

No photos on the EM, but here's one each for WD&L and TVRR.





Here's a Shapeways print available that I believe is based off of this car. There were drawings available in a Gazette... I'll have to check which issue. Someone here (probably Brian) put me on to the drawing since it isn't in the index or table of contents as anything other than a narrow gauge milk car. Anyway... the model has some potential.




Milk can be incorporated into any layout to add operations, and you don't need to build a creamery. Just some milk cans at the depot makes your consist a milk run. Load them in the combine, or use this as an excuse to build a cool open platform milk car. Additional work for a train with very little in the way of space. Even if you want a creamery, they don't need to be the large structures typically available as kits. I posted these on another thread, but they should be here, too.





And even large shipments of milk products can be modeled at the team track. The creamery doesn't need to be rail-served to provide an interesting storyline for your layout. Here's butter going east from Minnesota.



Mmmmm. Butter.

R

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Michael Hohn
Fireman

USA
6117 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2020 :  10:12:08 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Creameries make interesting models because many are somewhat modest in size yet can have complex roof lines.

At least one railroad, the Erie, rostered “butter cars”. They had the same dimensions as their boxcars so I don’t know if they were ventilated or what structurally distinguished them from ordinary boxcars. The one photo I’ve seen is dark and blurred.

Mike
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deemery
Fireman

USA
8259 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2020 :  11:09:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Years ago, I bashed a milk car from an MDC reefer, an MDC 'shorty' passenger car, and a NESL round roof.


I figure I can run this on either a freight or a passenger train.

dave

Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)
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brian budeit
New Hire

USA
34 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2020 :  5:09:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very nice looking car Dave. The EM/WD&L/TVRR milk car is also on my long list of rolling stock projects.
Couple of things to point out about the two milk car pictures. One, you can see on the WD&L the car is #100. Look close at the TVRR picture. The car still carries #100. Not sure if this car came after the ICC report, but its not on it. Also, look at the car ahead of milk car 100 on the TVRR. Thats an RPO car also loaded with milk cans, see them through the door. This car carried #99, and also isn't on the ICC report, although it was on the line well before 1917.
The TVRR had a large Breyers creamery in Port Royal, so milk traffic was a steady cargo for the line, and direct narrow gauge service to the creamery, no transfering of the milk cans.

brian b
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Bernd
Fireman

USA
3545 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2020 :  08:43:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jbvb

Bernd, your 'Railway Milk Cars" books are the series from Bob's (Liljestrand) Photos I mentioned above.



That's what I get for not fully reading a post. [:-banghead] [:-banghead]

Bernd

WWG1WGA
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RyanAK
Engine Wiper

USA
302 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2020 :  11:09:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It truly is amazing what you can learn if you stick with a subject. A lot of it comes down to knowing the right words to punch into the Google box... it took me several hours over the course of a week or so to hit on the right combination. Here's what I've discovered.

The early milk industry faced two challenges: 1) Bulk transportation of a liquid produced by small, scattered farms; and 2) spoilage. The railroads were a prime factor in solving these issues, but not the only one.

So... for some fascinating reading, the first Google box phrasing to try is 'early milk transportation' or 'history of milk transportation'.

For our Early Rail forum, here are some key points:

Milk had to move from these small, scattered dairy operations to a central location. Farmers would transport milk in milk cans via wagon to a collection point. The smallest of these points would be a simple platform along a rail line where the early morning 'Milk Run' would pause to load milk cans on the train. If a farmer was close enough to station but not to a milk-related industry, cans would be dropped at the depot for transport by train. Empty milk cans would be returned to either the depot or platform on a later train.

The next stop would be one of several small types of milk-industry collection points. This is what I've always just referred to as a 'creamery', but turns out things are a little more complicated. There were actually a number of small industries that I used to call a creamery. Now I'm just a tiny bit more educated.

The simplest of these structures would simply be a milk collection point. Try googling "milk collection house". This is where local farmers would deliver milk daily and it would be weighed and compounded with other deliveries for shipment. Cans go in one end, milk is poured into the weigh tank, cans are cleaned and returned out the other end. Weighed milk goes into 'creamery'- or dairy-owned cans for transport by rail. These collection houses were near, but not always on, a rail line. Sometimes the cans were loaded at the depot, freight house, or team track. Depended on the volume. This raw milk needed to be transported quickly and/or receive some basic refrigeration via icing because is was prone to spoilage.

The next step up the ladder for these small operations would be an actual creamery. This building operated as the collection house with local deliveries, weighing, and can return to the farmer. But the creamery adds a step and separates the cream from the milk, then shipping cans of cream and 'skimmed' milk. Cream is more resistant to spoilage than whole milk. Check the use-by date on your half-and-half compared to your 2%. Still needed to move quickly and/or receive ice.

Googling 'creamery' or 'early creamery' was pretty frustrating because the term 'creamery' has become generic and ambiguous compared to the historic meaning. This may explain why all rail-served milk industries are referred to as 'creameries' by modelers, regardless of their actual function. Hell... even in contemporary times the term was ambiguous. In Werley, WI different sources refer to the same structure variably as a creamery and cheese plant.

Anyway...

Here's where things really get neat. The next step up the small milk-industry hierarchy were the cheese factories. And they were everywhere. Prevalent, pervasive, endemic, whatever... In a valley with a bit of dairy production, there may be a cheese plant every 3-4 miles. Cheese-making was a quick (9-12 hours) and low-tech method for getting raw milk into a preserved form. It also traded the relatively complicated shipping of a liquid for shipping solid blocks of cheese. Buttermilk would also often be shipped in cans, the whey stayed local. Usually seen as a byproduct with little value, the whey was often fed to hogs or spread on fields as fertilizer. If you see a prototype photo of a cheese factory with an exterior tank, you know whey is being used. No tank... whey is most likely being dumped in a local waterway. Google 'early cheese factory'. This is fascinating stuff, and I'd bet the majority of what we call creameries are actually cheese factories. The photos I posted above and called creameries are, in fact, cheese factories in Upstate New York.

Butter... almost identical set up as the cheese factory but, you know... for butter. Butter was another preserved, salable milk product that helped solve the spoilage and transportation challenges. Google 'early butter factory'. Just know that a LOT of the image results you will get are of Australian and New Zealand prototypes. Our friends certainly are proud of their butter history.

Here's the thing... all of these different industries look and function essentially the same. Unless you have contemporary knowledge to go with the prototype photo, it may be unclear just what is going on inside. These are neat, small, local industries with daily traffic. From a modeling standpoint, pretty much any small-to-medium-sized rural building could be a cheese factory... or a creamery... or a milk collection house. Just have two doors for milk can delivery and return. And just call it a 'creamery'. :)

Tillamook Cheese Factory, Oregon


Armstrong Cheese Factory, British Columbia, Canada


Lueloff Cheese Factory, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin


Middleville Cheese Factory, Ontario, Canada


Cheese Factory, Brasie Corners, New York


Gilson Cheese Factory, Ontario, Canada


Butter Factory, Queensland, Australia



Edited by - RyanAK on 02/20/2020 11:48:47 AM
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Michael Hohn
Fireman

USA
6117 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2020 :  3:48:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Lots of interesting information. I think I like the NYS one best because of the variety of rooflines, tank, portico and details.

Mike
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robert goslin
Fireman

Australia
2271 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2020 :  8:11:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ryan, more wonderful old photo's you're posting.
I see Kalmbach / Model Railroader have a special issue at the moment on Milk trains.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/12815




Regards
Rob Goslin

A Warped Barrel is a Fool's Frustration - Maxwell Smart.
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RyanAK
Engine Wiper

USA
302 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2020 :  9:28:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting! (They stole my idea...! Grrrr...!!)
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