When Did People Buy Milk Straight From The Cow?

Delivering fresh milk was a problem in the days before refrigeration.

In small towns and cities around the world, a farmer often delivered milk to his customers in the freshest way he knew. He brought the cow with him.

The customer bought what he or she needed. The cow delivered the milk right into the customer’s own pail. The farmer then went to the next house down the road to make another delivery, his cow walking beside him.

As cities became larger, such deliveries became impossible. Cows had to be kept in the city in a building called a dairy. Anyone who wanted a pail of fresh milk had to visit the dairy to buy it.

In very large cities, like New York or London, some people mounted large milk cans on a wagon and wheeled milk to parts of the city where there was no dairy. They would wait for customers to come and buy their milk.

Unfortunately, milk bought from such wagons was not always fresh, because there was no ice to keep it cold.