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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: five things (10)

Five things about milk containers

Author
by Dr Andi
Publish date
25 May 2011
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Comments (9)

The other day when I went out for some milk, I passed by a shop window display and noticed some lovely ceramic jugs in the shape of cardboard milk cartons and a range of colourful silicon rubber versions of paper coffee cups. All these iconic containers in unexpected materials! It got me thinking about my milk and my milk carton I just purchased. Here are five things from Museum Victoria about milk containers...

1. In 1860s Europe, if you wanted milk, the only milk container was a cow or possibly a metal milk can. By the 1870s, Europe saw the emergence of large metal milk cans. I found some old milk cans in the MV collection but then I stumbled across this beautifully decorated milk can from our Immigration and Creative Practice Collection.

Milk can Milk Can, painted by Yoka Van Den Brink, 1993, using Hindeloopen craft techniques which date back to the 16th century port of Hindeloopen, in Friesland, North of Holland. (SH 931248)
Image: Taryn Ellis
Source: Museum Victoria
 

(I also just had to show you this intriguing image...)

Cream Separator International Harvester McCormick-Deering 3-S Cream Separator with Female Model, 1939. (MM 115002)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

2. Glass superseded metal. Some of you will remember the glass milk bottle. Invented in 1884, it meant milk could be stored for several days without spoilage because bottles could be sterilised, plus pasteurised milk (quickly heated and cooled) restricted bacterial contamination.

  two glass milk bottles Left: How cute is the Imperial half pint milk bottle from the Gilchrist Dairy, Fitzroy in use between 1930 and 1959? (HT 14148) Right: One imperial pint milk bottle painted white on the inside; we didn’t put the actual milk in the collection. (ST 038370).
Image: L: Cherie McKeich and Eloise Coccoli R: Unknown
Source: Museum Victoria
 

3. In 1915, John Van Wormer cried over split milk because it also involved broken glass (fair enough). He turned his frustration into an idea of a ‘paper bottle’ that had to be folded, glued and dipped in paraffin wax. He was granted the patent and ten years later he also had a machine to form, fill and seal the new ‘Pure-pak’ containers.

 

4. Plastic convenience superseded wax. In the 1940s the paraffin wax was replaced by polyethylene plastic. But the milk carton did not catch on until the 1960s when cartons included a new feature: the open-able spout.

 

Pura milk carton
A one litre carton of milk, branded Pura, manufactured by National Dairies Limited. Looks familiar? It only entered the MV collection in 2010. Just like the milk bottles it will be kept for future generations to marvel at. (HT 27262).
Image: Matilda Vaughan
Source: Museum Victoria
 

5. It's possible we've gone full circle. If John Von Wormer were alive he would chuckle at this funky domestic accessory. I don’t think he would use it as a milk jug for coffee, I reckon he’d use it as a vase.

Glass Half Pint Milk Carton - Milk Jug Glass Half Pint Milk Carton - Milk Jug
Source: Rockett St George
 

Five things about tennis

Author
by Dr Andi
Publish date
2 February 2011
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Comments (6)

The tennis is over for another year; some people are still looking for their long-lost remotes so they can change channel and others have made a mental note to reapply sunscreen with more regularity. I’m not actually a fan of the tennis (apologies - this is very un-Melburnian of me) but my inner curious cat or simple animal instinct not to go outside in the searing heat at lunchtime led me to hunt for tennis items in MV collections. So here are five things about tennis that will be useful to mention to your tennis friends as they recover from being dedicated spectators.

1. Before the 1970s tennis balls used to be white (not fluoro green). 

Apparently the fluorescent colour was introduced in 1972 after some research showed viewers could see the ball much better on television.

Tennis balls and bag Tennis balls and bag, circa 1950 or later (SH 880567)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 

2. Tennis balls were produced as merchandise in support of Melbourne's bid to host the 1996 Olympics.

In 1956 when Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games, tennis was not yet reinstated as an Olympic sport. Tennis was an Olympic event in the first modern Olympics in 1896 but then got dropped from the games after 1924. It returned as a medal event in 1988. (Trust me - you’ll need this info for your next trivia night.)

Tennis Ball - Olympics for Melbourne 1996 Tennis Ball - Olympics for Melbourne, 1996 (SH 910002)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

3. Scandals featuring tennis players are nothing new.

According to History and Technology Collections Online:

Tennis player Billie Jean King became the first high-profile US athlete to come out as a lesbian in 1981 when she revealed her relationship with Marilyn Barnett. The revelation cost her a fortune in endorsements. She said at the time that the long-term affair had been a 'mistake', angering lesbians and gays. She was supported by her husband in a financial claim mounted by Marilyn, but they later divorced, and Billie said that the term 'mistake' had referred to being unfaithful rather than to being a lesbian.

Hmmm, today it might have attracted endorsements from increased exposure in glossy gossip magazines.

Badge - We All Make Mistakes, Wimbledon Dance, 1981 Badge - We All Make Mistakes, Wimbledon Dance, 1981 (SH 920477)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

4. You might meet your future spouse at a tennis club.

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, West Hawthorn, had its own tennis club. At the opening in 1925, the Parish Priest sanctified the courts. It was said many members met their marriage partners at this club. After the 1970s non-Catholics were allowed to join.

The two courts were originally dirt and later asphalt and they clearly didn’t have 3a water restrictions back then. The club closed in 1988 and the sign ended up here at the museum.

Sign from St. Joseph's Tennis Club Painted masonite sign from St. Joseph's Tennis Club (SH 890354)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

I also found this delightful shot of tennis club players in Geelong Victoria circa 1935 (with ladies in their lovely blazers). I am baffled at the unbroken windows in such close proximity to a tennis court.

Street Church Tennis Club members Four men and two women of the Noble Street Church Tennis Club standing by the net. Geelong, Victoria, circa 1935 (MM 006631)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

5. Early tennis rackets were made of wood and catgut.

The ‘cat’ in catgut is short for cattle rather than cat of the feline variety. The tennis racket strings were once made from a cow's intestinal wall and they were stored clamped in a frame to stop the highly strung wooden rackets from warping.

Tennis Racquet and Press - Slazenger Tournament Model Tennis Racquet and Press - Slazenger Tournament Model (SH 891665)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Five things about pigs

Author
by Dr Andi
Publish date
18 November 2010
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Comments (0)

In a pet shop window I saw tubs of dried pig’s ears, in either smoked or natural flavours. ‘Poor piggies,’ I thought, but then remembered my love of BLTs and felt a bit hypocritical.

A fellow curious cat, Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma, wanted to find out what happens to a pig after slaughter, so she followed the journey of pig #05049 to an astounding 185 products. This is a real testament to chemistry and commerce. The list included the use of pig tissue for chemical weapons testing, bone ash for the production of train brakes and bone gelatine for placing explosives into bullet casings. The fatty acids from the bone fat ended up in shampoo to provide a pearly appearance, in crayons for hardness and in paint for gloss. The gelatine ended up in myriad dairy products and was also used to turn fruit juice, beer and wine into clear liquids.

Ever played a real tambourine – it was probably a pig’s bladder! Inspired by this research I followed a trail of pig parts (cultural, natural and smoked) in the museum. Here are five things about pigs.

1. ‘Pig’ was actually a type of clay used to make pots and it became a much loved ceramic pun. Remember owning a piggy bank as a kid?

Christmas 1970 Christmas circa 1970, from Australia's Biggest Family Album. (MM 110719)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

2. There were plenty of colourful predecessors to pig characters like Porky, Olivia and Peppa.

Precious Pigs lantern slide This lantern slide is from a set of 12 which depicts the children's story titled 'Precious Pigs'. (Francis Collection, MM 109847).
Source: Museum Victoria

3. It depends on time and place but pigs are also a symbol of good luck, fertility, gluttony, and uncleanness. When it comes to puddings, perhaps its symbolism depended on whether you found it the trinket, swallowed it or wore the pudding in the attempt to find one.

Christmas pudding charms, circa 1950. Christmas pudding charms, circa 1950. Such sterling silver pieces were put at random into the Christmas plum pudding. They were light-heartedly used to suggest the 'fortune' of the recipient for the next year. (HT 3131)
Source: Museum Victoria

4. We owe our health to many pigs. They have been a source of medicines like insulin, heart valves and skin for transplanting into humans.

Pig display, Human Mind and Body Human Mind & Body exhibition shot of case with pig from the (now deinstalled) Biotech and Beyond section. Genetically engineered 9 month old pig used in transplant trials and exhibited at Melbourne Museum in 2000.
Image: Ben Wrigley
Source: Museum Victoria

5. A cast iron pig would have started off as ‘pig iron’ which is raw iron extracted from iron ore that flowed into sand moulds that must have looked like little piglets, hence the name.

White pig iron
"White" pig iron manufactured by Bolckow, Vaughan & Co of Middlesbrough, Yorkshire and exhibitied at the 1888 Centennial Exhibition in Melbourne. (ST 019338)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 

I wonder if people who collect cute pig ornaments are vegetarian. Oink at me if you find something interesting about pigs.

Five things about pumpkins

Author
by Dr Andi
Publish date
29 October 2010
Comments
Comments (0)

I was initially surprised to see the American tradition of carved Halloween pumpkins at my local Australian supermarket. Then on second thought, I was not surprised at an American inspired commercial opportunity gaining yearly retail momentum.

The pumpkin carving was a tad amateurish; I suspect no one in the fresh food section had done one before. I wondered if I should give it a go, then I shuddered at the thought of accidentally impaling myself. I wonder how many pumpkin injuries are admitted to US hospitals.

There isn't much in Collections Online about Halloween - not surprising as Halloween is not a Victorian or Australian tradition. But when I searched the catalogues for ‘pumpkin’ - what joy! Here are the five best things I learnt about pumpkins.

1. Some pumpkins look more like zucchinis. The museum’s Economic Botany Collection includes wax fruits and specimens and preserves an amazing biodiversity of agricultural plants.

ST 017079, Cucurbit, White Pumpkin Model White Pumpkin model, made in India. Displayed at the Intercolonial Exhibition of 1875. (ST 017079)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

2. Pumpkins can grow to the size of small children.

MM 005670 A small boy with a giant pumpkin, circa 1925. From Australia's Biggest Family Album. (MM 5670)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

3. Native insects love the introduced pumpkin. A native Victorian insect had “forsaken” (their words) native vegetation for the introduced agricultural pumpkin (check out what they recommended you spray with - arsenate of lead, tar-impregnated water and sulphur!)

Display - Destructive Insect, Banded Pumpkin Beetle, Victoria, circa 1970 (HT 11387) Boxed botanical display of the Banded Pumpkin Beetle (Aulacophora hilaris). This was displayed at the old museum as part of a series about the destructive insects of Victoria and how to get rid of them. (HT 11387)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 4. There's something called 'pumpkin polish'.

Floor Polisher - wooden, circa 1955 Floor Polisher, circa 1955, from Larundel Mental Hospital in Bundoora. Used in conjunction with Pumpkin Polish, presumably a brand of floor polish. (SH 850040)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 5. You'll need one of these for your next pumpkin creation. Don't you love that it's called the 'Glamorizer'?!

Kitchen Magician Food Glamorizer (DOMESTIC LIFE), Object, Registered Kitchen Magician Food Glamorizer, circa 1963. The instructions tell you how to use this plastic tool for carrot curls, radish roses, lemon wheels and pumpkin faces. (SH 920993)
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

What do you know about the nature and culture of pumpkins?

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