Henry Roy owner of Roy's Dairy

1942 Henry Roy

Short History of Milk Delivery

It was once an vital connection between home and farm, the milkman has become a part of our folklore and Roy's Dairy was one of the most successful dairies in Rochester. In New Hampshire, milk delivery evolved during the 1800's from the farmer who had surplus milk. Immediately after milking the cows, he could deliver extra milk to customers nearby. As his milk-wagon went down the street, house wives came out with pitchers. Uncapping the milk can, the farmer would pour milk into each woman’s pitcher. The housewife would cover it with a damp cloth, and use the milk within 24 hours. Dairy products had to be delivered daily because few house wives had refrigeration. Milk that went bad could cause diseases like dysentery, tuberculosis and intestinal problems.

In 1878 glass milk bottles were introduced. Bottling the milk with sanitary conditions reduced the dirt and germs that was in milk. These milk bottles would be carried by the milkman in heavy wire carriers to doorways/ ice boxes / refrigerators. The milk man would return to his horse drawn wagon or ice truck with clinking empty bottles.

These days are gone as milk is now purchased at large supermarkets and convenient stores. Milk bottles have been replaced with plastic containers and a way of life has slipped by.

Roy's Dairy became a staple of Rochester life

Henry Roy started Roy's Dairy in the 1930's and ran the dairy until the 1990's. The company was located on Summer Street and at one point had 8 dairies delivering raw milk to the Summer Street location to be proccessed. In the 1930's he sold 36 quarts of milk a day and by the 1980's he was selling 4500 quarts of milk daily. In the early days the milk was kept cool with ice. Ice from Milton Three Ponds was stored in insulated barns and used by Roy in the Summer. During World War II gasoline was rationed so Henry Roy made area milk deliveries with a horse and buggy (see above picture from 1942). The horse was named Babe and during the Spring and Summer Henry would put rubber shoes on Babe and put on special shoes with studs for Winter time walking. My memories of Roy's dairy are the green delivery trucks driving all over Rochester and drinking milk from Roy's Dairy with your school lunch.

Henry Roy closed the business down in the mid 1990's and passed away shortly after that. He was an integral part of the History of Rochester.

milk truck

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