General Question

Tropical_Willie's avatar

This question came to mind with the Meter reader question. What services were "at your door", like milk delivery?

Asked by Tropical_Willie (28250points) May 24th, 2021
24 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

We had a bread truck from Helms Bakery, the dry cleaner Tony, milk delivery, Good Humor truck, meter readers for both water & natural gas, once a year navel oranges and Penny the Pony for pictures of us kids sitting on Penny.

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kritiper's avatar

My mother remembered when the ice man would deliver ice twice a day. Probably only needed ice once per day in the winter.
The coal man would deliver coal for the furnace. And it wasn’t anthracite!
I’ve heard that when milk was delivered by horse cart, it was better than a truck because the horse would just keep going down the street while the milkman went from door to door.

filmfann's avatar

Williams Dairy brought milk. Of course we still have mail delivery, which Dejoy may put an end to.

Zaku's avatar

I’ve had milk delivery before, though not by horse and cart… there are still places that do.

Doctor visits used to be much more common.

There’s a local company that delivers meat…

elbanditoroso's avatar

Diaper delivery/pickup when the kids were small. (Cloth diapers, came back soft and sanitized.)

rebbel's avatar

Chimney sweepers.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Newspapers. I can remember when newspapers littered the city. It was common to see newspapers everywhere. Sheets of newspapers blew through the streets like tumbleweeds. They were without question the leading source of litter in American cities. Everyone read the paper. People on buses or waiting in diners or doctor’s offices, courtrooms, anywhere had their faces buried in newspapers the way they now do their phones.

flutherother's avatar

Coal, milk, meat, newspapers and an agent called weekly for insurance payments. There were also vans that came round selling ice cream, groceries etc. I also vaguely remember men coming round offering to sharpen kitchen knives and a foreign man selling onions door to door from his bicycle.

LuckyGuy's avatar

We still get the newspaper delivered every morning. Actual paper!
Occasionally an ice cream truck will drive down the road.

As a kid we had:
the previously mentioned meter men for water, gas and electricity.
Newspaper boys. (I did that for a while)
The knife sharpener truck – the truck had a distinctive ring to it.
There was someone who collected rags.
the ice cream truck – who also sold illegal fireworks! “Cherry bombs 12 for a dollar!”

JLeslie's avatar

Ice cream truck.

Newspaper. I don’t get the daily local paper where I live, but most households here do, it is like going back in time 40 years. I do get a once a month community paper.

Pizza delivery.

Meter readers.

Dry cleaner pick-up and delivery.

Trick or Treat.

Yellowdog's avatar

We had two Merry-Mobile ice cream / popsicle vendors.

They drove trucks that looked like kiosks.

We would byy popsicles from the first one to come, then pelt them en masse at the second one to come about an hour later.

Dutchess_III's avatar


stanleybmanly's avatar

In the Winters you had to grab those bottles from that milk box before they froze. The milkman had to arrive before 8 or we would be late for school. There was a note taped to the lid of the box specifying no later than 8AM delivery in case Mr. Peterson was off.

smudges's avatar

Vacuum cleaner and cleaning supplies, encyclopedias, knives and kitchen what-nots, newspapers. Back in the 50’s, I think it was, if you bought a whole set of encyclopedias you got a solid wood bookcase to keep them in. I have one in the original condition – there’s one shelf (two levels), and it’s about 3’Hx4’Wx1’D and is stained a pretty color.

SnipSnip's avatar

We got milk and any and all dairy products delivered. We had coffee and potato chips delivered. We had the dry cleaning picked up, cleaned, and delivered. The “insurance man” delivered the bill in person, as did the paper boy.

LuckyGuy's avatar

We still have the milk box around someplace. No doubt, it is a classic.

When we were kids my brother and I put a firecraker inside and it almost flipped the top open. Fun!
So…. we tried one of the cherry bombs that were for sale. The box blew apart.
We hid the pieces so our parents would not know what happened. The milkman gave us another one to replace the “missing” box.
(The bits of the old box are buried in the backyard of the house under construction next to the Desmonds.)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

My neighbor across the street, when I was growing up, had a little door you could open while standing on the side of their driveway. On the other side in the house the door was in the kitchen and was between the kitchen table and the refrigerator on the wall just off the floor.

Strauss's avatar

I also had a paper route. We had deliveries of coal, bread, milk (and other dairy, such as butter). The egg lady came by once a week. We also had regular visits from the Fuller Brush man.

JLeslie's avatar

It occurs to me that COVID made what’s old new again. Many people switched to getting everything delivered to their door.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

This list goes back a few generations, perhaps mid-20th century and before:

Dry cleaning and linen laundry (both pickup and delivery)
Department store purchases
Bakery items
Diaper service (both pickup and delivery)

These services didn’t use common carriers. Local merchants had their own vehicles and staff for making deliveries.

I have a newspaper delivered every morning. I also have a compost service that collects my full bucket every week and leaves an empty, clean bucket (this one’s very 21st century).

Yellowdog's avatar

^^^ Our local cloth diaper service was called Pugh’s.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ When I was a baby, my mother had to wash my diapers. What a nasty and tedious job that must have been. My brother is 8 years younger than I am; by then, cloth diaper services had been created. That was such a joy for Mom…having a filthy bucket collected each week, with a big stack of clean diapers arriving like magic.

Yellowdog's avatar

Well, I used to have a lot of fun / disgust/ fascinated obsession with the dirty diaper pail—that’s probably why I’m so warped today.

Strauss's avatar

I also remember door-to-door salesmen (women were extremely rare in that field at the time). Vacuum cleaners, cookware, encyclopedia sets and more were sold door-to-door. Mr. Haney (from Green Acres and Petticoat Junction) was a great parody of that type of merchant.

The traveling vendor is also the subject of quite a few folk songs.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah. As a woman I would not apply for a position that required me to go into people’s homes. No no no no no.

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