Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, February 21, 2021, Pg. 3
Occasionally in this column I’ll feature an Albion milk bottle. One by-gone era in Albion history is that of the numerous dairies in town that used to produce and/or bottle milk, and deliver it to the steps of area homes. This practice was quite common through the 1950s. After that, dairies closed as health department regulations became more stringent, and supermarkets were opened that carried milk. Albion’s last dairies closed in the early 1960s.
Each dairy usually had their own glass milk bottles in pint or quart sizes, with their name embossed in the glass itself. This would make sure that the bottle was returned to the proper dairy. With people switching dairies and "keeping" bottles of their former dairy, it could be expensive for dairy owners to order new bottles. A scheme was initiated whereby the milk dealers would pitch in together and order "universal" bottles with the name of Albion on them, good for any dairy in town.
The first of these universal bottles were issued in 1941 during World War II, in half-pint, pint, and quart sizes. From our Historical Notebook this week we illustrate the quart size bottle, which we have colored for a better illustration. This, as well as other Albion bottles, are listed on page 65 of "The Milk Bottle Book of Michigan" by Bill Edmondson.
The front text states, "ONE QUART LIQUID," and in a circle is stated: "ALBION MILK DEALERS 5˘ STORE BOTTLE" REGISTERED. On the opposite side of the bottle at the very bottom is the text "SEALED 1-11-14," which is an error for January 11, 1941, not 1914 which is way too early for this type of bottle in Albion. This is confirmed on the bottom of the bottle which has the circular text embossed along the edge that states: "ALBION MILK DEALERS, ALBION, MICH," and the numeral "41" for "1941" under the word "MILK." It was customary for bottle makers to emboss the last two digits of the current year someplace on or near the bottom of milk bottles. How many of our readers still have Albion milk bottles?
ALBION MILK DEALERS 5˘ STORE BOTTLE quart size
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic