September of this year turned out to be a very satisfying month in terms of additions to my milk bottle collection. Prior to the Blue Mountain Show in Calgary, the pickings had been slim at the few auctions we attended and shops we visited. At the Strathcona Antique Mall in July I had picked up an older E.C.D. half pint and an older E.C.D. pint. These are embossed bottles but with no manufacturers marks on the bottoms. About 1917 manufacturers started marking their wares with marks embossed on the bottom of the bottles. All the other E.C.D. bottles I have so far have factory marks on them. Also the same mall dealer had for sale an “S.P.M. Co. Ltd.” embossed quart. This bottle is from the Saskatoon Pure Milk Co. and fits nicely with the pint and half pint I already have. At a new shop near Penhold, I obtained a Camrose Creamery half pint in Red ACL. The bottle has the following nursery rhyme on its reverse: “Once I met a little girl whose skin was fine as silk. For every day beside her plate there was a glass of milk.” The Camrose Creamery shared the market in Camrose with Ness Dairy.
A Calgary dealer at Blue Mountain had a Carson Hygienic Dairy Co. Ltd. half pint bowling pin bottle for me. It is in excellent shape and its embossed label is a more elaborate style than the pint and half pint bowling pin shape bottles I have now from the Carson Dairy in Winnipeg. It is interesting to see these label varieties in such early bottles, made in a short period of time. Several B.C. dealers at the show had bottles that I added to the collection. One was a Kootenay Valley Co-op Dairy quart in green ACL with the “My boss treats me fine” rhyme. This is the ninth different rhyme I have on Kootenay bottles. Norm Robidoux advised that he knows of 18, so I have a ways to go yet.
A Hills Dairy (Saskatoon) pint in green ACL with the “Always drink PEP” slogan was available. I bought it to go with the red ACL version in the collection now.
Other acquisitions included a Creamland half pint. Creamland was the trade name used by Hays Crescent Dairy Ltd. of Vancouver. Crescent expanded with the amalgamation of three other dairies in 1945. There was also a Sask. Co-op Creamery pint, brown ACL, with the “Help Preserve Your Health” slogan. Collecting bottles for this large Sask. Dairy operation is a challenge. There are numerous slogans to watch for; I have 15 different ones so far. Some bottles came in blue ACL, while most are found with brown ACL. There are also several varieties of the embossed label bottles.
I added Glendon Dairy pint and an Olive Farm quart. A Vancouver dealer sold me a Crystal Dairy Ltd. (Vancouver) half pint Sour Cream jar. This is the first one of this size I have in my collection. The pint size is more common. A dealer from Aldergrove sold me a Crescent pint that was out of the ordinary. (Crescent Pure Milk Co, Winnipeg) It is ribbed, as many of the Crescent bottles are, but on this one, the lines loop around at the bottom to form scallops. None of my other dozen Crescent ribbed bottles are like this. Also none of my other dozen or so ribbed bottles are like this. Neat to see this rarer variety.
On a quick Saskatchewan excursion we stopped at Kenaston. A dealer there had a “P. & C. Milk Co. Calgary” (Producers & Consumers) embossed quart of a type I didn’t have. This one is older, without a manufacturers mark. A collector needs to watch for varieties of these; with and without rings at the neck, and with and without an embossed circle around the embossed label.
I find that a diligent browse through the Regina Antique Mall is usually very rewarding. The first finds were two embossed bottles from “Dominion Dairy and Produce Co. Ltd., Regina, Sask.” The pint was made by Thatcher Manufacturing in the U.S. indicating a very early local Regina bottle. The half pint has no manufacturers mark. Both of these are the early shorter stubby varieties. The Dominion Dairy and Produce Co. also operated independently for six years. It was incorporated in 1912 and sold to Sask. Co-op Creameries in 1918. Other embossed bottles were a Model Dairy Calgary half pint; a Regina City Dairy Ltd. half pint. These last two are varieties of similar bottles I already had. Regina City Dairy Ltd. was formed by J.J. McLean in 1932 after the Regina Dairy Pool had dissolved.
A new dairy for me was the pint bottle with the label “Property of Model Dairy Regina.” There are several Model and Modern dairies, so the collector needs to look these over carefully. Also absorbed into the collection were a Hills Dairy (Saskatoon) quart and a half pint. These are embossed varieties further to the several I already have. Hills Dairy was operated by the Hill Brothers and first appears in the Henderson’s Directories in 1923. The Dairy was sold to the Dairy Pool (i.e. Saskatoon Dairy Pool) in 1946.
The prize piece I was delighted to get in Regina was a pint embossed “cottage cheese” jar for the Crescent Pure Milk Co., Winnipeg. this is the first embossed variety of these I have seen. It is a very early item, made by Liberty Glass in the U.S.
As you know, I don’t collect cream cans. But as September drew to a close, I did obtain a Jasper Dairy two gallon cream can in good shape at an Edmonton flea market. This is the only one of these I’ve seen and it is great to add it to my non-collection.
Oh yes, one last item. At the Blue Mountain Show I got some Laurentia Milk Company items from a Calgary area dealer. One is a shipping crate from the Red Deer branch shipped to a Hillcrest merchant. Since the crate was found at Hillcrest, it obviously was not returned promptly, as the lettering on the crate requests. I also obtained two Laurentia bottles with paper labels from their Olds plant. One label is almost complete and one is a partial (the more usual case). The Laurentia dairies promoted an early pasteurized and UHT milk process which was short lived. One of the bottles has the original crimped-on metal lid (similar to a beer bottle cap). Laurentia with their four plants in Alberta and one at Battleford (very briefly) is an interesting sub-chapter in Alberta’s Dairy history.