The World’s Greatest Glass Milk Bottles Collection

Stanley Gilliland’s Glass Milk Bottle Collection

Talk about a love for everything dairy, especially refillable glass milk bottles, we thought we at Stanpac had that market covered. Boy were we wrong. We found someone who loves glass milk bottles so much he captured history in one. I really hope it was one of ours!

His name is Stanley Gilliland. He collected hundreds of glass milk bottles throughout his life. Stanley was a food microbiologist at Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center and sadly passed away by losing his battle with cancer in January 2010 at age 69.

Mr. Gilliland loved Oklahoma’s history as much as he loved milk bottles and dairy. His love for Oklahoma and dairy became this collection of glass milk bottles that are on display in the lobby of the Food & Ag Products Center on the OSU campus.

His son Steve, is pretty proud of his dad, as he should be. He spoke with and told them how he thought his dad got into refillable glass milk bottles and dairy.

stanley gilliland's glass milk bottle collection

“Dad loved Oklahoma history and he loved the dairy industry and it came together in this collection,” son Steve Gilliland said. “I imagine he was probably in an antique store or something one day and he saw a milk bottle and he thought, ‘Hey, I’d like to have that.’ And then it probably just grew from there.”

Stanley’s entire collection grew overtime to include not only milk bottles but also milk bottle caps, small cream bottles and other memorabilia connected with the dairy industry.


How Stanley Amassed The Collection

As his son Steve said, Stanley would regularly check out Oklahoma’s flea markets and antique stores. He carried around notes telling him which glass milk bottles he had and which ones he wanted. He’d essentially shop for glass milk bottles that he wanted to own.

“Milk bottles from Oklahoma dairies were the focus of his collection,” Steve said. “We are thankful to OSU and Braum’s for recognizing Dad with this display, and proud that so many thought highly enough of Dad to remember him in this way.”

Stanley kept these bottles in cabinets in his home office. His son says that almost 50% of the glass milk bottles are from Oklahoma dairies.