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The Milkmobile: 1943

The Milkmobile: 1943

June 1943. Bryn Mawr, Pa. Our second visit with Mrs. Helen Joyce, "one of the many women who now work for the Supplee-Wills-Jones Milk Co." Piloting a little Walker electric delivery van. Photo by Jack Delano. View full size.


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My dairy could use some of these

When we moved out of the city in 1998, we were excited when we learned that our new community had a dairy that offered delivery, but we cancelled it after a few nights of their trucks loudly idling, roaring, and clanking outside house at 3 am, not to mention the huge spotlight trained on our bedroom window during the entire performance.

Door to door service

In Woodlyn, another Philadelphia suburb, my first house had the kitchen in the front of the house with a little door outside below the kitchen window and another door inside. One would open the door on the inside and put in the empty bottles and the milkman would put in the fresh milk and whatever else you had ordered. You had to be especially quick on summer days or the milk could spoil. The little passage was not especially energy efficient, but the home was built in a different time

The Philadelphia Main Line Never Changes

Entirely possible this very lady, in this exact truck, delivered milk to my house over in Haverford (the next postal district east on the Philadelphia Main Line) though that Haverford house would not become mine until 1968.
Sealtest milk (and cottage cheese, butter, etc)still exist. Our street looked exactly like this too, even down to the hedge fences. I suspect, if you knew which Bryn Mawr street this was, it would look exactly the same today.

Please rinse your empties

Yes, you could order all sorts of dairy products, as well as eggs, at least in Los Angeles you could. A fandeck of item cards was supplied, very similar to a paint sample deck -- you simply fanned out any items you wanted that day from the deck, and left it with your (rinsed, please!) empties at night.

I miss the Helms trucks more. Best chocolate and glazed donuts ever made!

Milk is still delivered!

Theoeva, we live just outside Washington, DC, in an old neighborhood that's now a historic district, and weekly milk deliveries are still part of the scene. The farm, which serves about 8,000 homes a week in this area, offers many locally made or grown products, including gourmet cheeses, meat, and even homemade dog treats. The homemade chocolate milk was my favorite.

We stopped using the service because we frankly couldn't consume the stuff fast enough. But the milk is provided in the old glass bottles in two different sizes. The firm provides an insulated metal bin that you put on the front porch in case you're away when it's delivery time.

At one time, they used an old-timey milk delivery truck (gas, not electric) but I don't know if they still use it.


Need to try and see if that lovely house behind her is still there, and, secondly, hasn't the USPS investigated the use of modern versions of these vehicles in major urban areas? Such devices might be just the ticket.

[The Postal Service is now it its third century of electric vehicle use. - Dave]

Thought they might have, wasn't sure. Thanks

I vaguely remember in the early '60s

that my mother could actually order cottage cheese, cream, butter, chocolate milk and sour cream. Am I right?

Coming back soon

The first in electric mobility.

Although the main concern with the milk floats may have been not to annoy the neighbourhood early in the morning with one of those noisy IC engines idling away down the road.

Anyway, meet the 1943 Tesla.

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