Too Long; Didn't ReadThe farm labourer, perched on a three-legged stool, his head leaning against the soft flank of a cow as he squirts the milk in snowy jets into the frothing pail, is, like the blacksmith's forge throwing out its fiery spark-shower, one of those sights which from childhood up exercise a mild fascination over the onlooker. Possibly he or she may be an interested person in more senses than one, if the contents of the pail are ultimately to provide a refreshing drink, for milk never looks so tempting as when it carries its natural froth.
Modern methods of dairying demand the most scrupulous cleanliness in all processes. Pails, pans, and "churns" should be scoured until their shining surfaces suggest that on them the tiniest microbe could not find a footing. Buildings must be well aired, scrubbed, and treated occasionally with disinfectants. Even then danger may lurk unseen, and the milk is therefore for certain purposes sterilised by heating it to a temperature approaching boiling-point and simultaneously agitating it mechanically to prevent the formation of a scum on the surface. It is then poured into sealed bottles which bid defiance to exterior noxious germs.
The human hand, even if washed frequently, is a difficult thing to keep scientifically clean. The milkman has to put his hand now on the cow's side, now on his stool; in short, he is constantly touching surfaces which cannot be guaranteed germless. He may, therefore, infect the teats, which in turn infect the milk. So that, for health's sake as well as to minimise the labour and expense of milking, various devices have been tried for mechanically extracting the fluid from the udder. Many of these have died quick deaths, on account of their practical imperfections. But one, at least, may be pronounced a success—the Lawrence-Kennedy cow-milker, which is worked by electricity, and supplies another proof of the adaptability of the "mysterious fluid" to the service of man.