This is a collection of vintage cottage cheese containers for the Waterloo Milk Company, based in Waterloo, Illinois, circa 1950’s. The Waterloo Milk Company created many different advertising and packaging pieces for their business. Cardboard containers such as these for cottage cheese are considered some of the most rare dairy collectibles. Most of those paper items were thrown away after the product was used making them difficult to find and are sought after by collectors.
The company’s most popular advertising collectibles are their milk bottles because there were at least 38 different kinds in various shapes, sizes and colors. The milk bottle styles often changed because people returned them to the dairy to be reused and they got broken or cracked with repeated use. Lithographic signs, tins signs and stock certificates from the company are also difficult to find and considered valuable. Other antique advertising memorabilia include metal dairy crates, milk cans and kitchen utensils.
The Waterloo Milk Company started in 1897 and was originally known as the Fountain Farmer’s Creamery Company. The company changed their name in 1908 to the M & O Milk Company because the dairy was only located a few yards from the Mobile & Ohio Railroad tracks. However, when the company started condensing milk in 1918 the name changed to the Waterloo Condensed Milk Company. Finally, in 1925 the business changed their name to The Waterloo Milk Company, Inc. after it incorporated. The dairy manufactured whole white milk, chocolate milk, whipping cream, orange juice, grape juice, ice cream, sherbet, cottage cheese and butter. The company was very prosperous for many years. In 1955, it was one of the largest businesses in Waterloo with sales over one million dollars per year. The company went out of business in 1969 when the competition from larger regional brands started to significantly take their market share.