LEBANON COUNTY PA DAIRY HISTORY
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Wengert's Dairy Wengert's Dairy was started in 1931 when S.K. Wengert and H H. Mumma began to bottle milk on the Harry Horst farm on what is now Swiss Premium Dairy on Walnut Street west of lebanon Pa. Harry Horst was S.K. Wengert's father in law. The first White Clover milk bottle has both Wengert and Mumma's name. In 1932 the partnership dissolved. All White Clover Dairies bottles then carried S.K. Wengert's name. To see Wengert milk bottles thru the years look down on this history page. The Dairy purchased many smaller dairies and grew to the point of a new plant being built in 1941. Sons Harlan , John and Clifford took over operations and ran dairy until it was purchased by Dean Foods in 1999. Thanks goes to John Wengert for much of the information below. John B. is currently plant manager at Wengert's Swiss Premium Dairy and is the grandson of S.K. Wengert.
Wengert's Dairy in the late 50's ??
Founder S.K. Wengert with His IH pickup truck
Milkman Howard Hiestand delivering Wengert's milk door to door.
Bottling gallons of milk at Wengert's Dairy in the early 80's
This advertisement is for milk bottles and cost , around 1900.
Pictured above is a receipt from Myerstown Creamery dated 191--- (Teens). Milk bottles are marked with just S T YOST in the slug. Finding information such as the above receipt can verify where bottles with no location on the bottle are from.
1918 1920's thur 1930's 1939 1941 1946
Ferndale Dairy farm has been in operation as early as 1918 when started by Frank W. Fernzler. The first bottle pictured is the earliest F.W. Fernzler bottle known. Ferndale Farm was first named Fairview Farm for a very short time. The Ferndale Farms embossed bottles were used thur the 20's into the later 30's. Like many daries pyro bottles were brought into use until the farm stopped bottling milk in 1949. Ferndale Farm has shipped milk to Wengert's , now Swiss Premium Dairy ever since. Lebanon County has been drinking Ferndale Farm milk for 95 years. F.W. Fernzler's great grandson Frank now operates the family farm south of Lebanon Pa.
FERNDALE DAIRY FARM LEBANON PA
HISTORY OF WENGERT'S DAIRY MILK BOTTLES 1931 to 1936
The first Wengert bottle was from 1931 when SK Wengert and HH Mumma started the dairy (fig1). This partnership was short lived and by 1932 Wengert was the sole owner of the dairy. The next bottles were very similar with just SK Wengert's name on the bottle (fig2). The next bottle shows a change of design with a clover in the center and "GRADE A MILK" gone (fig3). The last embossed Wengert bottle of this era had no clover in the center and the Wengert name in the center and Lebanon where Wengert was on previous bottles. The span of these bottles was about 6 years. The Mumma and Wengert is the hardest to find of the group with the clover variation seeming the most common. All of these bottles are desirable to collectors. Pyroglazed bottles became popular around 1935 and most Wengert bottles from this time on were pyroglazed.
WENGERT'S BOTTLES 1935 to 1939
1. 1936 2. 1936 3. 1937 4. 1939
About 1936 Wengert changed his bottles to pyro labels. These bottles were much more attractive and unlike embossed bottles were easily read when full of milk. The first pyro bottle has "WHITE CLOVER DAIRIES" on one side and "S K WENGERT" on the other side. The Lebanon Location was absent on these bottles (Fig 1&2). The next bottle (fig 3) has the clovers back on the bottle and both Wengert and White Clover Dairies on the frontside of the bottle and Lebanon Pa also back on the bottle. The bottle in figure 4 shows a big change as the name is now Wengert's Dairy instead of White Clover. This is also the time that cream top bottles were introduced which became very popular and replaced this milk bottle design. The bottles in figure 3 and 4 had backside variations and some are pictured below. I believe that the fig 4 variation to be the hardest to find. But again all of these milk bottles are desirable to collectors. Pictured below are a few of the backsides to the bottles in fig 3 and 4
CREAM TOP BOTTLES 1938 - 1944
fig 1. 1938 - 1941 fig 2. 1938 - 1940 pint fig 3. 1942 -1944 fig 4. 1940 - 1945
In 1938 Wengert's Dairy started selling milk in cream top bottles. They became so popular that they completely replaced the previous bottle design. Fig 1 shows the first cream top bottle used. Fig 2 shows how the pints and half pints were a little different with no "It whips" on the cream ball. The pints and half pints were embossed from 1941 to 1950 as shown in fig 5. The embossed cream top bottles are much more common than the others because they were used for a longer time. Fig 4 shows an embossed drink bottle that the dairy used during this time. The Dairy's name at this time was "Wengert's Cream Top Dairy". Oddly enough this is only bottle that carried this name and was not a cream top or even a milk bottle. The bottle in fig 3 has graphics of the new dairy as it appeared in 1941. The pyro color was also changed from the original green color that the earlier pyro bottles had to orange. Like the pyroglazed bottles before the backsides had various scenes and a few are shown below.
CREAM TOP BOTTLES 1944 - 1950
In 1944 the round cream tops were discontinued and square cream top was introduced. I call this bottle an 8 sided bottle because the corners are an inch wide and flat making 8 sides. The first bottle is an embossed bottle shown in fig 1. The embossing is on the corner instead of on the sides. I believe this bottle was produced only in 1944. In 1945 the bottle in fig 2 brought back the pyroglazing in orange as shown. Later the store bottle was introduced. More stores were selling milk and these bottles had a 5 cent deposit to encourage the customers to return the bottles (fig3). Again only the cream top quarts were pyroglazed at this time and the pints and half pints continued to be round and embossed as in fig 4. Most of the quarts had pyro on one side but some had pyro on the backsides as shown below. The embossed quart from 1944 is not common but the pyro quarts are fairly common. The newest cream top I have seen is dated 1950. I believe this is the last year the cream top bottles were produced. In 1949 the company was already purchasing square standard milk bottles for homogenized milk. Most likely shortly after 1950 the cream top bottles were no longer used.
fig. 1 fig. 2 fig. 3 fig. 4
WENGERT BOTTLES 1949 - 1980
The bottles pictured above started the era of homogenized milk for Wengert's dairy. These transition bottles were made only in 1949. Fig 1 shows the pint size bottle in regular and store version. The bottle in fig.2 is very interesting in that it has cream top advertising on a longneck bottle. As said before these were made 1 year and are collectible. The longneck quart seems to be the hardest to find. Around this time the dairy was bottling homogenized milk in these bottles and still using cream top bottles for unhomogenized milk. I believe in 1951 all milk was homogenized and the era of cream top bottle was over.
In 1951 a new square bottle was introduced into production. The glass was thinner and the cap size went from 56mm which it had been since 1931 to a smaller 48mm. These bottles were in use for about 15 years and are common. Also the 1/2 gallon bottle came into use in the 50's. There were some design changes through the years. The biggest being the buying of Lenkerbrook and Graybills Dairies by Wengert's dairy. At this time the Company name was changed to County Fresh Milk and county fresh became a common label for milk at all these dairies. These bottles were embossed. Most of the bottles after 1950 are very common but still are collected by many bottle collectors. Below are pictures of these bottles through these years. The first bottles to disappear were the half pints in 1960's. In the early 80's glass half gallons were the last bottles discontinued at the dairy in favor of paper cartons.
Wengert bottle fronts 1951 to 1963 four sided qt 1954
Some of the many different bottle backsides from the 1950's
Wengert half gallons from the 50's on left and 60's on right Farm show Qt bottle 1964
Wengert's pint bottles 1960's half pint 1960's County Fresh bottle
1950's store quart 1950's store half pint
Juice decanters from the 1950's &60's. Both are very common
The picture above is a horse and delivery wagon from Locust Grove Dairy in Jonestown Pa. H.L. Bross was the owner. Milk was delivered and dipped out of cans into customers containers. No bottles are known to exsist. Below is a picture of a delivery van from Twin Spring Dairy also in Jonestown Pa. Elmer Waltermeyer was the owner. The truck is a Dodge. Note the jersey cow busting through the door. Around 1930.