Raise your glass for National Milk Day

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
National Milk Day is recognized on Jan. 11.

Raise your glass - of milk that is - to commemorate National Milk Day on Jan. 11. 

It marks the day milk started being delivered in sterilized glass bottles back in 1878. As the story goes, Alexander Campbell of the New York Dairy Company announced to the New York State Senate that his company was the first to make these deliveries, according to

But let's back up a bit in milk history. Here is a timeline of historical events around milk and its production, according to

1822-1895: French chemist and biologist Louis Pasteur invented pasteurization after his research showed that harmful microbes in milk and wine caused sickness. 

1883: The "milk war" broke out between dairy farmers and milk distribution companies in New York when the companies refused to pay farmers a higher price for their milk. "Spilling committees" blocked roads, seized shipments and dumped their own milk rather than sell it to the distributors, resulting in a "milk famine." 

A settlement was eventually reached, but disputes resurfaced over the years, most notably during the Great Depression. 

1884: Dr. Henry Thatcher patented one of the first glass milk bottles, inspired by seeing a milkman making deliveries from an open bucket where a child's filthy rag doll had accidentally fallen. Thatcher's "Common Sense Milk Jar," sealed with a waxed paper disc pressed into a groove inside the bottle's neck. 

1895: Commercial pasteurizing machines for milk came to the U.S. 

1899: Auguste Gaulin obtained a patent on his homogenizer.

1914: The first milk tank trucks were introduced for transporting milk. 

1917: Mandatory pasteurization of all milk except that from cows proven to be free of tuberculosis was either required or officially encouraged in many of the country's largest cities. 

1950s-1960s: Glass milk bottles were replaced by square paper cartons. The square shape allowed more milk to be carried and displayed than did glass bottles. 

These are only some of the highlights from milk's lengthy historical timeline. 

Happy National Milk Day!