Milk Cans

Milk cans roll through the processing line in 1952 at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. (Photo credit: Tacoma Public Library, Richards Studio Collection, D67477-28)

In 1952, cans of milk were photographed moving through the modern Tillamook Cheese Factory, beginning the process of converting milk to cheese. The number on each can indicated the owner. By 1960, Tillamook Grade A dairy farmers were eyeing the bulk tanks coming into use in the Willamette Valley. The tanks were easy to use and sanitary, and a tanker truck emptied them and hauled the milk to the factory. Still, it would be a break from tradition, and it would require a tanker and trucker at a time when not enough Grade A farms had installed the expensive tank and built its storage building. During a Grade A Shippers Association board discussion, one member suggested, “Use the tank for a cooler and then can off the milk for hauling purposes. This could be done until enough shippers were converted for a tanker run to be feasible.” (Feb. 8, 1960, GASA minutes) In 1968, the state’s new requirement for standardized storage temperatures meant every farmer had to convert to bulk tanks.

(Photo credit: Richards Studio, Tacoma Public Library, D67477-28)