One word . . . ‘Plastics’

Hoover machinery aids America’s switch from glass to plastic milk bottles

December 22, 1966 (PD: 201412)

Plastic Milk Bottles

A Hoover employee removes freshly-produced plastic milk containers from a Hoover Uniloy blow molding machine, circa 1966

An article in the trade journal Food and Drug Packaging (dated December 22, 1966) discussed the transition from glass to plastic bottles for packaging milk.  In 1962, three dairies in the United States began test marketing plastic milk bottles.  By 1966, given favorable consumer response, nearly 700 diaries nationwide had switched from glass to plastic milk bottles.

Shatterproof, lightweight, and leak-proof – plastic bottles had several advantages over the traditional glass bottles.  During the mid-1960s, plastic milk bottles evolved from mere duplicates of glass bottles to a wide range of sizes with tight-fitting caps and more comfortable handles.  Various sizes of plastic milk bottles were being experimented with, including a six-quart unit that resembled a small beer keg.

The article mentioned that the Uniloy Division of Hoover Ball and Bearing Company (which was acquired by Johnson Controls in 1985 and renamed the Plastics Machinery Division) manufactured more than 70% of the blow molding systems in use by the dairy industry at that time.

Johnson Controls sold the Uniloy/Plastics Machinery Division in September 1998 to Cincinnati Milacron for approximately $210 million.