1965 Divco Milk Truck

In the early Twenties George Bacon conceived a unique idea for a multi-stop delivery vehicle intended for route deliveries of perishables: milk, butter and eggs. Supermarkets and refrigerators were then still in their early history. Route deliveries had been a part of the American urban scene for years. The "butter and egg man" was a fixture and local dairies left their cream-topped bottles of milk on almost every doorstep. Bacon's first design was electric but its restricted range and limited load capacity doomed it. He redesigned his concept for gasoline power and established the Detroit Industrial Vehicle Company, DIVCO. With little change over the years DIVCOs were the backbone of an urban distribution scheme which spread across America and survived the Depression after being absorbed by its engine supplier, Continental. Speed and efficiency were abetted by the DIVCO's multiple driving positions. A 1937 re-design introduced the snub-nosed profile that would characterize DIVCO's into the Sixties, making them a fixture of America's communities and a symbol of the milk man who brought treats to households and saved homemakers hours of shopping. This 1965 DIVCO has been fastidiously restored in the livery of Cloverhill Farms Dairy in delicious cream and green. Its cargo area is filled with antique crates filled with glass milk bottles (filled with non-spoiling but evocative white Styrofoam beads), orange juice containers, egg containers and butter, an assemblage which the restorer said cost him over $4,000. It has been thoroughly restored to very high standards of appearance and runs and drives well. A low, flat floor lets the operator move swiftly from the left-hand driving position to the right-hand door to facilitate deliveries. An active club supports the history, preservation and presentation of these important but now largely overlooked symbols of an American economy which has now disappeared. On display, in a parade or highlighted among a panoply of more common commercial vehicles, this is a milestone in America's history of vehicles and commerce.

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