The Antique Cream Separator Gallery

A website devoted to antique cream separators.


  •  Contents
  • 1. Identifying the parts of a cream separator
  • 2. How to operate a cream separator
  • 3. Powder coated cream separator


1. Identifying the parts of a cream separator

Added July, 12th, 2010

Written by Admin

This article will describe how to identify the parts of a cream separator. First, we will look at a Montgomery Ward cream separator, a tabletop model.

 Starting from the top of the machine, there is first the on/off switch. This is set in a hole in the bottom of the supply can, and when the milk is ready to be separated, it is turned into the 'on' position.

Next there is the supply can, which holds the milk. Contrary to popular belief, it is not called the bowl. On this model of separator, the supply can sets directly above the bowl. On others, however, the supply can is offset from the regulating cover, and it has a spout instead of an on/off switch.

The regulating cover, which houses the float. The float is not pictured here. It is typically a round elliptical shape, but in the case of this separator, it is rather flat, with a depression in the middle.

 The cream spout, which the cream comes out of, and the skim spout, which the skim milk exits.

The bowl chamber, which the bowl sets in, on the spindle.

The bowl, which it the heart of the separator.





Here we have a closeup of the bowl.

Going clockwise, we first have the bowl hood, which covers all of the inside bowl components. Then the distributor, which, as the name suggests, distributes the milk around the inside of the bowl, and the bowl nut, which fastens on top of the bowl body to hold the hood in place. Then the skimming discs, of which the number varies, depending on the capacity. (NOTE: some cream separators do not have skimming discs, which likely means it is very old, since this skimming disc, called the Alpha Disc, was only protected until 1903.) Next the top disk, which fits on top of the skimming discs.

To assemble, place the distributor on the tube of the body. (NOTE: some separators have the distributor built in.) Next, place the skimming discs on the distributor. Place the top disc on, then the hood and then screw the nut on.

NOTE: When placing hood on the body, be sure to line up the dot of metal on the bottom of the hood with the slot on the body.

Other things to note....

Your separator should have a wrench to turn the nut with, and also a disc washer (see first photo). To wash the discs, insert the washer through the hole/s in the skimming discs, and flip bowl upside down, dumping the discs onto the washer.


2. How to operate a cream separator

 Added July, 13th, 2010

Written by Admin

Most manuals will tell you how to operate the cream separator. However, if for some reason you are waiting for your manual to come in the mail, here is an article on how to operate a Montgomery Ward cream separator. It is generally a good idea to wait, however, because each separator can have it's own cranking speed, and if you crank it at the wrong speed, it won't separate right. Good separators have bells, so that you can tell when it is up to speed, but cheaper ones don't have a bell. All this cream separator has is a cylindrical object attached to the handle, which falls up and down as the handle is cranked.


 A photo of the inside of the bowl chamber. The pointy object is the spindle, which the bowl sits on. Screws can be removed, and the spindle can be taken out, for repair or inspection. Your manual will tell you how to do this, pertaining to your particular separator.


 The bowl, with skimming discs and distributor in place.

 Hood shown being placed on the body.



Completed bowl.

This picture shows the bottom of the bowl. You need to line the slot in the hole, up with the slot on the spindle.


 Bowl shown, sitting on spindle.

Cream spout and skim spout on the separator. Cream spout is on top.

 Regulating cover and float on spouts.

 Supply can on. Now, after ascertaining that there is good oil in it, you can crank it. A wobbling bowl, is, in my experiences, caused by a kinked o-ring or the bowl not sitting on the spindle correctly. If the bowl is rubbing against the sides of the spouts, the spindle may need to be lowered or raised. Check your manual under "Bowl adjustment" or some such. It will tell you where the bowl should set.


I hope you find these article helpful, if you do, let us know! If not, also let us know so that we may improve the content offered here. If you have something you think would make a good article, please contact us.


3. Powder Coated Cream Separators

Added March, 8th, 2011

Written by Admin


I recently had one of my rusty cream separators powder coated. There are several disadvantages and advantages to this, but the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages. The advantages are:

A. The milk is no longer in contact with rust, or the metal underneath the tinning/chrome.

B. The separator will last much longer, due to the fact that the rust is first removed from the tinware with a sandblaster, and then the bare metal is covered with the powder, preventing any more rust from forming. 

C. It looks much nicer than rusty, pocked and chipped old tinware. In fact, the looks are quite comparable to that of chrome (stainless steel).



   As you can see, sections were not powder coated. That is because, if they were, the parts would not fit back together. They fit snug enough as it is. The float could not be coated due to the fact that it can not have holes poked in it. I am consideing making a miniature tripod for it.

This separator was coated with an FDA approved powder coating for continuous food contact.