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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Farm-Fresh: 1925

Farm-Fresh: 1925

Washington, D.C., circa 1925. "Chestnut Farms Dairy." The business end of milk production. National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.

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This definitely brngs back memories. My parents milked Holsteins on a farm in Kansas for 40 years. These do indeed look like Guernseys (although an Ayrshire or two might have sneaked in.) Although there is obviously electric light, I see no evidence of mechanical milking (vadcuum lines, spigots, etc.) It was a steady source of income but terribly confined--you had to be there twice a day come hell or high water.

State of the art dairy

Those immaculate walls and metal covered ceiling are damned impressive for 1925, bare concrete or rock and open rafters covered with a yearly layer of whitewash were the usual standard well into the '70s here in Wisconsin.

Those clean gutters probably weren't washed, somebody shoveled them into a dumping gondola that ran down the metal track in the center. Barn Cleaners with a continuous circuit of paddle chain running in the gutters were a very popular upgrade a few years later.

Automatic milkers were definitely available at the time, I'd expect vacuum spigots at each stanchion but don't see any, I'd be fascinated to see how milking was handled, maybe they had an early implementation of the modern milking parlor.


The customers who bought the milk from that herd must have had some delicious homemade ice cream, turned with a hand crank, strawberry shortcakes with whipped cream, lovely, freshly baked bread slathered with fresh butter, etc., etc.

Clean Cows = Clean Milk

This looks like it was taken after the first set or two of cows had already been milked. The center aisle may appear dirty, but the ceiling and wall reflections show that this is actually a very clean-kept dairy parlor.

The channels in the floor have no residue from previous milkings, showing that they wash them out thoroughly each time.
These look like Guernseys.

Safe for Babies

Each glass Chestnut Farms milk bottle was embossed at with the slogan "Safe for Babies" to help assure the public that the mild was pasturized and safe to drink. Evidently this was a serious concern back then.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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