Early 20th-Century Glass Milk Bottle

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Early 20th-Century Glass Milk Bottle

In the first half of the 20th century, milk was delivered directly to homes by dairy companies in glass bottles like this one-quart example. The customer would consume the milk, wash the bottle, and return it to the dairy for re-use. The level of decoration on this bottle is unusual for later milk bottles but relatively common on bottles of this age. The American eagle on this bottle is evocative of the name of the dairy business that used the bottle, the Union Dairy Company of Freeport, Illinois, in the United States. Founded in the earliest years of the 20th century, when the civil war that had preserved the Union was still within living memory, the Union Dairy served the small county seat of Freeport for over 75 years. The business finally closed in the 1980s after the town's economy declined and grocery-store sales of milk in cardboard and plastic containers changed people's expectations about milk delivery. The bottle itself was made by the Thatcher Manufacturing Company, most likely in the company's plant in Streator, Illinois.

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Streator, Illinois, USA


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