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The milky way



Published: Thu, August 1, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



By NANCY TULLIS

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

LISBON -- With temperatures in the 90s and a bright sun over the Columbiana County Fair, anywhere in the shade is a good place to be.

One of those shady spots is the fair's agriculture history building, where visitors Wednesday found Art Rudebock showing off his display of antique milk bottles.

He said he doesn't know how many he has in his collection, but a handful of them are on display, along with various types of milk bottle caps and samples of the carriers used by milkmen.

Rudebock displays one bottle from each of the 50 states and some from other countries, including Canada and Peru.

One, from Thomasville Dairies in Thomasville, Ga., has a picture of what is likely a veteran of the Confederacy holding a glass of milk, and the slogan "You're never too old to enjoy a glass of milk."

Another, from a California dairy, proclaims, "Conserve water. Drink milk."

Local bottles

Among the bottles on display are some from local dairies, such as the Fox Dairy in East Palestine, the Old Reliable Dairy in Salem and the Lippencott Dairy of East Rochester.

Rudebock said Lippencott Dairy frequently changed slogans on their bottles. "They come to you but not to stay, return our bottles every day" was a reminder for milk customers to return empty bottles to the milkman.

He said another Lippencott Dairy bottle, with the slogan "If it's first class it'll be in glass," likely circulated as dairies were beginning to switch to the paper carton.

One of the bottles is from Firestone Dairy that was in operation when the late tire baron Harvey S. Firestone owned a working farm in Fairfield Township.

Rudebock said Firestone bottles are tough to find, but those in his collection have a far greater sentimental value.

Now 83, Rudebock lives in Salem Township with Eunice, his bride of 62 years, in the same house Rudebock's parents bought when he was 2.

Rudebock shows fair visitors the various milk bottles and caps in his collection and demonstrates with a water-filled bottle how special bottles were made to allow the cream to separate from the milk.

The original sink from his farmhouse is on display at the fair, and Rudebock points out the worn, stained corner of the sink where the water bucket always was placed.

He then explains how his parents met at Firestone Farms.

Parents' story

His father, Arthur, was originally from New Jersey and attended Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va. His father wanted to learn farming, and so went to Firestone Farms with a college roommate.

While both were working there, Arthur met a Salem Township girl, Lena Arter, who was a Firestone Farms housekeeper. Arthur stayed in Salem Township, and he and Lena married on Christmas Eve 1917.

Besides the sink from his home and the milk bottles, Art Rudebock also proudly shows fair visitors the horse-drawn mail wagon his father used on his rural route through the Leetonia area.

Rudebock said electricity was added to the farmhouse in 1927, and an electric water pump was installed.

He recalls milking six cows by hand and working with a team of horses pulling a 12-inch walking plow.

Rudebock married Eunice on May 3, 1940. The couple have two children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

When he retired from farming in 1980, he was milking 50 cows twice a day and using tractors with 16-inch plows.

When asked why he gave up farming when he did, Rudebock replied simply, "It was time to quit."

tullis@vindy.com




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