Cheese Boxes and Clothespin Dolls


Connie Moore 

Two odd items on the garage sale table caught my attention. A small wooden box, writing evident on the sides, it was never the less dusty, greasy and pressed with the grime that only comes from long-time storage.

Using a toothbrush to clean it, we found it was an old Pauly & Pauly cheese box. Taking it apart, we found two large boxes and a smaller one inside. At 25 cents, it was a real find, for the name Pauly & Pauly was used only up 'til 1929 at which time it changed to Pauly Cheese Company.

Nicholas Pauly was a renowned wagon maker in the last quarter of the 19th century. His wife, Lucy, started making cheese in her kitchen about 1878. She was the first woman cheesemaker in Wisconsin. Nicholas saw the potential. Together with their four sons, they built the cheesemaking industry, by 1915 selling 10 million pounds of cheese a year. By 1955 they operated more than 30 factories.

A stack of cheese contained about 10 boxes of squares. Cheese was shaped into twins, squares, daisies, double daisies, horns, midgets and block and barrel. After being paraffined, the cheese was placed in a wooden box, which was lined with a scaleboard to keep the paraffin from being scratched off. Our boxes had held Yellow American or Windsor cheese.

Further along the table was a plastic tub of clothespins. Not the modern plastic clips, these were smooth-from-use wooden pins or pegs. First patented model was in 1852. Civil War veterans used them to make dolls, selling them to support themselves. They often used pieces of their old uniforms or battle flags for the clothes.

12/20/2017 4:07:19 PM

Thanks for the note, Nebraska Dave, here in Ohio we've always been cheese eaters. History of local women making cheeses goes back a hundred years. Cottage cheese pie is the old time equivalent to cheese cake. Have a safe and peaceful winter.

12/19/2017 4:58:36 PM

Connie, I enjoy the history posts that show up in your GRIT blogging. I don't much about cheese or the history of cheese making. Nebraska is all about corn, beans, and small grain. We had a few milk cows when I was a kid and made butter but no cheese. I don't recollect eating much cheese when I was a kid. Even today cheese is not a big item in my things to eat. Well, unless it's on a pizza. Have a great antique shopping day. Nebraska Dave

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters