Letter in Hinman Milking Machine Trade Catalog, Thomas Taggert to J.P. Meyers (1917), Hinman Milking Machine Co., Oneida, NY, [1921?], p. 34, Trade cats Ag Imp H593h, 14 x 18 cm., Research Library Special Collections Trade Catalogs: Agricultural Implements, N0650.1999
Companies that made agricultural equipment often stressed how efficient their machines were. This photograph from a trade catalog demonstrates that by using the company’s milking machine, one woman can do the work of three milkers.
During the nineteenth century, the woman of the household was usually responsible for making cheese and butter. She would set milk out in pans to separate the cream from the milk. The thick cream would rise to the top of the pan, and she would skim it off. The cream was used to make butter.
Milk was a very important resource for a farmer in the nineteenth century. With little meat available, dairy products such as butter and cheese were the best way for people to get protein in their diets. Cows had to be milked twice a day. During the mid-nineteenth century, milking was done entirely by hand. Farmers sat on a stool and milked into a bucket.
Nineteenth century farmers often received information about new technology and equipment from printed broadsides. Broadsides were posters created for a specific purpose such as advertising, announcements, or information. This broadside advertises the American Cow Milker, a milking machine from that time period.
Making cheese involved several steps. First, milk was separated into liquid whey and chunky curds. The whey was drained off to leave the curds. A cheese press squeezed out the last bit of liquid, and the blocks of cheese were rubbed with lard or butter to keep out air while the cheese aged.
The milk produced at Fenimore Farm had one of three destinations. Some was bottled and sold locally and regionally, while other milk was bottled and shipped by rail to The Dakota, an upscale apartment building in Manhattan that Edward Severin Clark owned. The rest of the milk was sold in bulk to larger dairy producers.