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1939 International Milk Truck.

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ajaytay

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Art Aytay Jr.
There was a great article in yesterdays Pioneer Press on a guy that picked up a 1939 International milk truck. A family member from the Arkukary Grocery store, which was based in Duluth, bought the truck in the 1990's and used it in parades.

A Moorhead antique collector, who now owns it said that it has a 250 hp engine, with a one ton suspension. He said it's a D-15 and were made in two models... A 'M' for milk truck and a 'B' for bakery. This one is the M model. He said that International built the truck body, chassis and suspension and that International farmed the rest out to an "outfitter" who completed the galvanized metal interior.

During the early '60's, on a break from college to earn more tuition money, I was a milkman for the Cleveland, Ohio based Meyer Dairy..... it was one of the most grueling jobs I ever had. Wake up at 3:00 AM, drive to work and load my truck up, ice the load, which was then covered with a canvas tarp. Meyer dairy was just starting to add 'reefer' trucks to their business, but all the new guys used the ice trucks. My M,W,F route was a city delivery to the upscale Shaker Ht's area, while the T, Th, Sat route was in a rural area.

The truck had the sloping hood and you stood up to drive.... A pull out, swivel seat to rest on, but the steering column angle was such that you had to drive standing! There was a metal button on the floor that was the accelerator pedal.... the learning curve was pretty steep on operation driving and stopping.

It was a brutal job, as to make more money you had to push other new products such as Meyers cottage cheese, orange juice, and a new Swedish product.... Yogurt. Milk was all in glass bottles, so breakage was on the milkman's 'Dime'. The guys that had the reefer trucks would load up when they got back to the plant and just plug their truck in. In the morning it was loaded and ready to roll.... No ice and they didn't have to worry about speed in their delivery, as the trucks kept the contents cold as long as the truck ran.

I don't remember the manufacturer of the trucks, but they NEVER broke down. Dual wheels on the back of all the trucks and a powerful engine to pull the load. When empty, that truck would fly. On a good day, I would be home by noon to go to a part time job until 6 PM when I would get off to sleep until the alarm went off at 3 AM again. Making teaching high school for 44 years, a cake walk! :)

Hope this is posted in the correct Forum area.
 

glippert

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Olivia, MN
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Greg Lippert
That's a great story. I'd love to see a pic of the truck - or better still, a pic of you standing in the driver's seat! Did you wear the quintessential milkman uniform, complete with the big round flat top hat? (In the Air Force, we called them bus driver hats.) That job must have, indeed, been brutal, if it makes teaching high school for 44 years seem like a cake walk! Thanks for sharing the story. And thanks for your years of service to students!
 

kphill

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Grove City, Pa.
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Kevin Hill
My father was one of the last door to door milkmen in the late 60s.. I was 10 years old and in the summertime when school was out rode on the truck with him.. I learned how to drive on the country route by driving down the road allowing my dad to service multiple houses at once and saved alot of time.. He had one of the new refer trucks but the backup was a 1948 DIVCO that was unrefridgerated.. It also had standup controls and can remember driving it once and I could barely see over the dash.. We had to restock the truck and refuel it at the dairy and plug it in so it would be ready for the next day..
 

ajaytay

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Art Aytay Jr.
Greg.... i was a new hire at Meyer Dairy and they didn't have uniforms for the newly hired, as they didn't know how long you'd last! I stayed a little over a year and had enough money for another year of college. No pictures, sadly.

Kevin and Kraig...... that name, Divco, looked so familiar that when I looked at Kraig's link, and saw what I used to drive, I looked up Divco Milk Trucks, and there it was.

If you learned to drive on that Divco, you'd be able to drive ANYTHING!

People think that being a milk man is just a delivery service, but if you just 'delivered' bottles of milk to the insulated boxes sitting on the front porch, your paycheck would be slim. You had to hustle the new products. Cottage cheese, with pineapple, packed in a reusable aluminum, 12 oz. tumbler, butter, cheese chip dips..... those items made your paycheck fatter!

Meyer Dairy had a premium milk that they sold only in quart bottles, it was
4 1/2% butter fat. A premium milk at a premium price. That milk was so-o good.

I would run into the Spang bakery delivery guy on my even day route and would trade him a quart of the milk for a 6 pack box of their Spang glazed donuts. That ice cold milk and those raised, glazed donuts.... PRICELESS!

Those were much simpler times and now people can get literally everything delivered to their door.... Amazon...The NEW Milkman!

Thanks for triggering my brain cells.
 

kmcconaughey

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Kraig McConaughey
Art, you're making me thirsty and a little hungry! When I used to help my cousins bale hay, sometimes between wagons we would tap some ICE cold milk out of the bulk tank. Good WHOLE milk with ALL the cream. It was kept so cold that if the paddles weren't kept on the milk would ice up (as well as separate out the cream) nothing could satisfy a thirst like that milk! :drool:
 

kphill

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Grove City, Pa.
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Kevin Hill
Yes, on the out of town route, we would meet up with the Nickel's Bakery truck and trade milk for baked goods and go to a scenic spot on the route and take a break and have a great lunch..those were great days..
 

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