- For other meanings see Milkman (disambiguation).
A milkman is a person, traditionally male, who delivers milk in milk bottles or cartons. Milk deliveries frequently occur in the morning and it is not uncommon for milkmen to deliver products other than milk such as eggs, cream, cheese, butter, yogurt or soft drinks. The term "milkman" is used to refer to either a man or woman doing this work.
Originally, milk needed to be delivered to houses daily since poor refrigeration meant it would quickly spoil. The near-ubiquity of refrigerators in homes in the developed world has decreased the need for frequent milk delivery over the past half-century and made the trade shrink in many localities sometimes to just 3 days a week and disappear totally in others. Additionally, milk delivery incurs a small cost on the price of dairy products that is increasingly difficult to justify and leaves delivered milk in a position where it is prone to theft.
Historically, British, Irish, and other European milkmen have traveled in an electric vehicle called a milk float, except on rural rounds. In Australia the delivery vehicle was usually a small gas or diesel engined truck with a covered milk-tray. In hotter areas, this tray is usually insulated. Template:Fact
In popular culture
- An idealized milkman (friendly, dependable, clean-cut, wearing an immaculate white uniform) is a frequent symbol of bucolic suburban life. Just as often, the symbolism is inverted to turn the milkman into a menacing figure, hiding danger under a pleasant veneer.
- The frequent deliveries by milkmen to homes during the day has led to a high level of familiarity with many homemakers — often female — which has made the occupation a central figure in numerous milkman jokes.
- In the Uganda region an often used title for "king" is "Omukama", which means "superior milkman/milk bringer": a title that refers to a) the role of the leader as a feeder of the people and b) the historical tradition, that the ancient ruling class of some Ugandan kingdoms was of Hima-tribal stock (the Hima were cattle-holders).
- A short story in the horror anthology Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, called "Morning Deliveries (Milkman No. 1)", concerns a milkman who kills people by leaving "surprises" (poison, toxic gas, venomous spiders, etc.) in their milk cans.
- "Reid Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman" is a comicbook character created by David Boswell which first appeared in 1980.