Dairying 1920-1940

After including Emil’s auction in my August 2 post, I noticed an e-mail from Sid and Irene with related information, specifically about the dairy operation. 

Sid remembers that Pinetree milking machines had replaced hand milking before he was born in 1923. These machines were powered by a 32-volt Delco system with 12 batteries near the barn. In the mid-thirties, the Rural Electric Association (REA) brought electricity to farms and Emil was aboard, although all buildings had to be re-wired for the stronger voltage.

Pinetree milking machines by Babson Brothers were a great advance in the dairy business, especially with pulsators patented in 1921 that are usable to this very day. In 1916 the Pinetree milk bucket sat on the floor, with long rubber tubing leading to the cow udder. In the twenties, Surge introduced a revolutionary bucket suspended under the cow and it used the Pinetree pulsator. In 1930 the Pinetree name was dropped and the buckets were labeled “The Surge Milker – Babson Bros Co Chicago.” This labeling would last for the next 70 years. 

Do you remember the “Twin Cow” post – the cow that earned her name by giving birth to four sets of twins? Sid said that special cow was part of a trade to get a cream separator, perhaps the one on the auction bill, a “McDeering no. 4 cream separator.” (I’m guessing McDeering is short for McCormick-Deering.) This photo of a 1928 model may be similar to Emil’s purchase.

Sid indicated Emil’s dairy herd included mixed breeds, like the Ayrshire-Guernsey in the photo, until the late thirties. At that time, Garven was farming on the Fitch Coulee place and he began a switch to Holsteins, the breed he favored after working for Osfdahls in French Creek.

Apparently cream was separated from the milk in the stone house where water was pumped for the cooling process. The cans of cream were picked by a local hauler about twice a week, says Sid. This same cream was used by Gina in her cheese-making – and she required about 10 cans, he says. This cream separator was used until, I suppose, the market needs changed.

A change took place to the sale of whole milk (probably from the Holstein herd) which was picked up every day for the Pigeon Creamery to make cheese and butter. When the war came, the milk was put into a dryer for dried milk for the war. This was about 1940, the same time that Gina’s cheesemaking ended.

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