Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tiny Doors!

Maybe because I've never been lucky enough to live in a house that was of an age (or in a location) for a milk door or milk chute, I've always had a fascination with those tiny little double doors that open into the kitchen or near the front door. Those little passages opened on the outside, for someone to put the milk/butter/cheese/love note in, and then a little door on the inside would open for one to retrieve said treasure.

Why did we stop doing that? Well, probably because--sadly--no one has milk delivered anymore (that's a whole 'nother post). But what we do today like crazy is order stuff online. Imagine if the postman or UPS guy or gal could pop our packages right into a safe, dry, secure little trapdoor instead of leaving a note for later delivery or leaving the package out in the rain/snow/sun/full view of mean people and/or dogs.

Sounds like a plan to me! If only I could go back in time and order one of these little beauties as seen in this "For Better Housekeeping" column in my August 1928 Better Homes & Gardens magazine:
Among the things that we do still do like have self-wringing mops, carpet sweepers, kitchen tongs, and step-to-open trash cans, is the little beauty called a "package receiver." (OK, we probably don't need to still do the ice-crushing set, admittedly!)

The little last part of the article, which I have not included here, notes: "Do you sometimes wait at home for packages to be delivered, or worry about the milk that is delivered early in the morning? This cast iron package receiver can be placed in any house, old or new, in a wall thickness of from 5 to 14 inches. The deliveryman places his packages in the compartment and closes the door, which locks automatically. At your convenience, you remove the deliveries from the inner door and then pull a chain which again unlocks the outside door for more deliveries." What's not to admire there?

Also, check out this Flickr pool of milk door pics. They're cute. They're handy. Why'd we stop doing that?


  1. I live in a house built in 1935 that has one of those little milk doors! Sadly, it was sealed up decades ago. Our house also still has the original coal chute door on the outside, also sealed up but still visible.

  2. Is there no way to unseal them? What a shame. Some older homes have the most amazing details and thoughtful workmanship.