Uncovered Treasure – Hidden Milk Box

Kevin’s grandma moved to Florida a few years ago to be near her daughters.  She also hated Pittsburgh winters (so with you on that, Grandma!).  She took some of her furniture with her, gave a bunch of things to grand-kids, and donated piles of stuff to goodwill.  After all of the sorting, so much stuff still remained at the house.

Grandma has never liked antiques, and didn’t keep the kind of things that I’m always on the hunt for.  So I was totally surprised to find this old milk box in the garage.  I don’t know how it managed to survive garbage day for all of these years!  It must have been hidden behind some dirty, old garage stuff that she just chose to ignore.  :)

I’m not sure what Grandpap used the box for once milk was no longer delivered, but at some point he covered it with paint.  It was a dull gray, but I could see a tiny bit of the galvanized metal shining through.  There were also traces of red that shown through in places – evidence that the dairy’s name was painted on the front!

The box sat in my garage for nearly a year because I wasn’t sure how to get the gray paint off without removing the red paint with it, and without ruining the finish.

On a whim, I decided to try a simple paint scraper.  It took about 15 minutes, and all of the dull gray was gone. (WHY did I wait so long??)  I scraped a bit too enthusiastically in a couple places and scratched the front.  I haven’t tried steel wool on it yet, but I think that will smooth the scrapes.

Obviously, I didn’t figure out how to save the red paint from the lettering.   But what a sweet surprise that the name of the dairy is still visible!  At least a couple of tiny specks of red were safe from my scraper…

A dear friend gave me her mother’s old milk box a few years ago.  Even though she lived in the same small town as Grandma, they had different dairies deliver to their homes.  This box wasn’t protected by paint for years, and shows it’s age with an awesome patina.

And of course since I love symmetry, adding the second box on the hutch makes me pretty happy!

Don’t you looooove to find old treasures???




  1. That is a huge find and look at you getting all that paint off and making the discovery of the name underneath. It’s so cool, and even more so, the pair!

  2. Heidi Lubich says:

    Hi Brenda, just recently came across your blog and I love it along with your unique ideas and your decor style. Living almost an hour south of Pittsburgh I can appreiciate when you write about shopping at Gabes and finding good buys (grew up shopping at the original one in Uniontown). The mason jars in the window and the paper wagon have to be some of my favorite things! Where is your favorite antique store? Always enjoy fining new places to check out. Thank you and keep up the great work!

  3. Boy, Grandma’s little milk box had a lot of garage time! It is a great treasure, and the other one, too. Have you thought of going over the letters on the first one with paint and then distressing them a bit?

    When I was a little girl we had milk delivered to one of these little boxes on our porch. No, I’m not old (yet!!), we just lived out on the prairie in Illinois, not too close to any grocery stores so we had milk and juice delivered. I remember sitting on that box and how cold it got in the winter and hot in the summer. I somehow managed to save a milk bottle with the dairy name on it and I treasure it and the memories.


  4. Wow what a lucky find! I’m so happy you were able to see the outline of the old lettering once you removed the paint, gives it so much charm! And I think ithey look wonderful on your hutch! I have never seen a milk box before, I have an antique large milk jug (about 3′ tall) but never knew about the boxes, what a treasure!

  5. What a cool find! I love it when treasures turn up like that. I love that you can still see the dairy name- I wonder if that dairy is still in business?

  6. Love both of them! I have one too, right now it’s out on the back porch. I usually put a potted flower on top of it for spring and summer!

  7. looking good.

  8. Hello,

    I recently found one of these containers and to my surprise it was the same Dairy that delivered dairy products to my house as a little girl. I also have milk bottles of local dairies and one of them matches the metal milk box. I am thinking of turning the metal box into a bread container and leave the lid open and use it for a magnet board for memos.

  9. Jackie Kennedy says:

    Farmer’s Delight dairy delivered milk in the Kiski valley from a dairy farm in Parks township, Armstrong county near Leechburg,Pa. I remember the milkman and his truck bringing our milk.

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