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Got Milking Machines? Essay

1561 words - 6 pages

Being a dairy farmer requires perseverance, a positive attitude, determination, and ambition. In the mid-1800’s, many found milking cows to be very laborious and time consuming lacking a way to make the milking process more productive and efficient. While many strived to find an easier, more effective way to milk cows, one New Jersey farm woman by the name of Anna Baldwin, was the first to succeed in doing so, causing life in the dairy industry to advance and change dramatically.
Milking by hand involved lots of manual labor, and it took a lot of time. Milk was not very clean since dirt could easily fall into the bucket that was directly underneath the cow’s udder during the milking process (B. Zimmerman). Accidents also happened if a cow was very stubborn and wild. Because there was so much time involved in milking just a few cows, many dairy farmers had just a number of cows as part of their herd. In 1878, Anna Baldwin became the first one to invent a milking device, a hope to try and replace hand milking (Spahr 550).
Patented in 1879, the Baldwin milking machine had potentially provided for a faster way of milking. It consisted of a large gutta-percha cup, fitting over the entire udder, and was connected to a hand pump (Vleck). Many were excited to discover that there was an actual milking machine invented. However, using the hand pump created only a small amount of vacuum causing a problem with extracting milk from the cow’s udder. Because it had various problems, the Baldwin milking machine became unsuccessful. Despite its imperfections, this innovation was the start of an evolution of milking machines.
The next innovation of the milking machine was created in the fall of 1918. Herbert McCornack of Pennsylvania invented the Surge Bucket Milker by first using a frying pan from his family kitchen as the base, and then later using a stainless steel bucket. It would attach to the cow’s udder while hung on a steel spring rod that was connected to a leather strap over the cow’s back (Hamby). With various changes made to it over the course of fifty years, the bucket milker had become very popular. Still, a great deal of manual labor was required. The milking units and equipment had to be transported from cow to cow, and the bucket of milk was carried, lifted, and tipped into a milk cooler (Agriculture and Consumer). In addition, “‘cows had a tendency to kick the buckets of milk onto the ground’” (Gaul) so watching the cows was essential. “‘Washing the milkers was [also] a very tedious job since the buckets were enclosed, so you couldn’t get at the milk residue very easily. We would wash them everyday’” (B. Zimmerman). Also, because there was really no way to see if a cow was done milking, “‘you [had to] pinch the bottom of the inflation to see if milk was still coming through’” (Gaul). There was still room for improvement.
By the 1950’s and 1960’s, pipeline-milking systems were introduced with some bucket milkers still in use, and a...

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