Discover Vintage America - DECEMBER 2014

A simple device to separate milk from cream

Q: I sure hope that you can help me with this industrial item that I found. I have no clue as to what it is or what it was used for. It says "International McCormick Deering" on the side. Any help you can give me on identification, use and price would be greatly appreciated.

A: You have a cream separator, which would have been used on a farm to separate the cream from the milk. International Harvester was a large tractor manufacturer who merged with McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and the Deering Harvester Company in the early 1900s.

You have a McCormick Deering model S-3 in Dubonnet Red, the color name that hit the market in the 1940s. This was the smallest of the separators sold by the company at the time with a capacity of 750 pounds of milk per hour.

The cream rises to the top and the milk goes down into a milk can near the bottom of the separator.

Your machine is hand cranked but there was also an electric model. These were really state of the art for the time and another bonus is that the milk was in contact with only stainless steel throughout the process.

Today's cream separators have not changed much from this design.

As for resale value, if in working condition
you could sell it for $150-$200


Note: All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawnshop prices are about half or less of resale value.

Michelle Staley is a Lenexa, KS-based dealer and researcher with 35 years of experience in the antique trade. Send questions with photos to Michelle to Please keep queries to one question; questions without photos of the item may not be answered. Michelle is also available for consulting and extensive research work beyond this column. If you would like an appraisal on an antique or collectible please go to for a one on
one appraisal