Drink up!

Throughout the 1930s, milk consumption in the United States increased, peaking at an average of 744 glasses per person in 1941. By then, nutritionists—and increasingly prolific producers—had been promoting milk as the “perfect” food, essential for kids and adults, for more than three decades. 

A child drinking milk out of the bottle, 1930s

A child drinking milk out of the bottle, 1930s

© H. Armstrong Roberts/CORBIS 

“A Bottle of Milk is a Bottle of Health”

–Slogan on milk bottles, 1930s

Milk bottle, 1930s

Milk bottle, 1930s

Milk bottle, 1930s

Milk bottle, 1930s

Milk bottle, 1930s

Milk bottle, 1930s

Testing for tuberculosis, 1930s

Testing for tuberculosis, 1930s

 

Changes implemented beginning in 1900, ranging from testing cows for tuberculosis to sterilizing bottling lines, made milk safer—as did home refrigerators that kept milk cold more consistently than iceboxes. By 1940, 64% of U.S. households had an electric refrigerator.

WPA poster, 1940

WPA poster, 1940

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Dyke's Dairy, 1930s

Dyke's Dairy, 1930s