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Author Topic: How can I clean this old milk jug?  (Read 1566 times)
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Acamar
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« on: June 13, 2010, 05:55:56 PM »

Howdy, everyone!

As I mentioned in the "newbies" area, my husband I are inheriting a bunch of antique and vintage pieces from his father, who died recently.   All our "new" finds come from rural southwest Georgia, and were used on the family farm for generations.

This milk jug(?) I found in my FIL's storage unit.  Unfortunately, the black paint is flaking very badly -- it falls off if you simply brush your fingertips across it.  In the picture, all those black dots on the ground are pieces of paint.

Considering its age, I worry it's lead-based paint.

We would like to use this as an umbrella stand inside our home, but worry about the paint because of our dogs.  Is it advisable to clean this piece?  What can I use to remove the paint, without damaging its value (assuming it has much value!)?  Should I repaint it afterwards, or leave it bare?

Thanks for any advice!

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sapphire
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2010, 06:02:54 PM »

Can't help you with the paint issue......but I know there are others that can. Wink

Just curious...is there another handle and slot (bottom) on the opposite side?
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Acamar
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2010, 06:13:06 PM »

Yes, there is another handle, but not another slot.  I haven't explored the slot much, but it appears to have a nozzle or nipple there.
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sapphire
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2010, 06:21:05 PM »

The reason I asked was it looked 'different' from a typical milk can.....this coming from someone who's never been near a cow or
a milk can.  I ran across this similar one on ebay.....but no luck with info.

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200377764433&ru=http%3A%2F%2Fshop.ebay.ca%3A80%2F%3F_from%3DR40%26_trksid%3Dp3984.m570.l1313%26_nkw%3D200377764433%26_sacat%3DSee-All-Categories%26_fvi%3D1&_rdc=1#ht_2520wt_1139

Likely someone else here has more farm experience  Cheesy
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waywardangler
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2010, 07:47:47 PM »

Due to its' size, it looks like a cream can to me.  The paint is not original and can be removed without hurting the value.  You could use a high pressure washer, if you have one, and that should remove most if not all the flaking paint.  A 'safe' stripper could also be used.  I would leave it bare and not repaint it.  It would have been bare originally.  Value in my area of the Midwest runs $10-20 for decorative purposes.  I am not familiar with the slot but it looks like it would fit on a cream separator.
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fancypants
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2010, 09:41:04 PM »

Welcome to the forum , Acamar .

I'd go along with waywards' idea of pressure-washing , to clean your item .

I'd use some soap & steelwool too .

I'd guess that this was a 'working unit' in the dairy 'field' , so I'll say that you might find some wear to it's original finish , under the paint .
Usually , cannisters of this type were scrubbed with big ole scrub-brushes .

Since you'd like to use this item for umbrellas , perhaps coating it with something like an acrylic-based polyurethane clear finish would work well .... after all , if it will be sitting on your floor , the rusty surfaces may eventually damage the finish on wood/carpet/flooring sitting below it (light-colored umbrellas too) .

These little guys can be also used for some folk-art/deco painting , if you get the hankerin' to do some .

That's my 2 cents .

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KC
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2010, 01:59:52 AM »

Agree that it was from a working farm.  Larger openings at the top made smaller operating farms have easier access to skimming the cream.

Having been raised in the country and around working dairies...saw that these babies were used...well used.  Pressure washing shouldn't hurt it (as long as you don't hit it full blast or strong enough to cause etching).
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cogar
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2010, 06:43:34 AM »

The slot at the bottom looks like a "hand hold" for lifting and dumping the contents.

Don't worry about damaging it unless you plan on beating on it with a hammer. They were made tough for shipment by truck and by railroad railcar.

http://dairyantiques.com/Other_Dairy_Antiques.html
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Acamar
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2010, 09:12:35 AM »

Thanks everyone!  Great information! 
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docsnewgirl
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2010, 09:25:44 PM »

Or could the slot on the bottom fit a conveyor belt going into the creamery for dumping. I seem to remember somethig in that order from childhood but been way tooooooo long aga.
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regularjoe2
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2010, 11:28:51 PM »

All 4 handholds on this item can be used to handle the container , from above and below , with manual or mechanized means .

Nice universal-type container design .
Yes folks , it slices , it dices , and it does it all in one can !

I'd give a good guess that the nozzle , inside of one of the lower handholds , is for a pressurized water fitting (for sanitizing purposes) .

I wouldn't hesitate to use a little elbow grease when scrubbin' up your item , as cogar sorta 'mentioned' .
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cogar
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2010, 07:52:16 AM »

OOPs, I missed that post about the "slot" having a nozzle or nipple in it.

Now I have to assume the "slot" was to countersink the nipple to keep from getting it bent or broken off.

Now I learned something new today, to wit:

Quote
Grade A Stainless Steel Milk Can.  5 gal (20 qt. capacity). Originally used by Commercial Food Services and the Armed Forces for dispensing milk.  These cans are equipped with a dispensing nipple at the bottom where a tube can be attached for dispensinghttp://www.portablemilkers.com/catalog/item/1780818/5055952.htm
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Acamar
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2010, 02:02:40 PM »

Great info!  Thanks!  In fact, when you turn up the bottom, you see clean stainless steel.  The rest of the thing is a rust bucket! -- where the paint isn't peeling off, that is (because it's already gone).
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cogar
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2010, 07:03:21 AM »

Acamar, if yours is a "rust bucket" then it is not stainless steel.
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Chinese Antique Furniture
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2010, 09:14:49 AM »

If you do clean it up, would you be willing to send us a pic?  Now that we've seen the "before" I for one, would love to see the "after."
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