Talk:Milk float

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Etymology[edit]

Why is it called a Milk Float? Anyone have any idea of the origin. --jmb 12:27, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Because of it's electric motors. They make the vehicle quiet which gives you the fealing of it floating over the road. Unisouth 13:06, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Real answer: Nobody really knows! See http://www.milkfloats.org.uk/faq.html 193.113.37.7 15:10, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Just told you the answer! Unisouth 15:04, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Only problem is that the term "float" was used for horse drawn milk floats before the battery powered electric versions. From the OED
  • milk float n. (chiefly Brit.) an open-sided vehicle (now usually electrically powered) for delivering milk.
  • 1887 Bury Times 3 Sept. 6/4 He noticed the defendant driving a *milk float towards him at a great speed.
  • 1935 N. COLLINS Three Friends viii. 143 A horse attached to a milk float wore a hat made of newspaper.
--jmb 17:48, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Realy? Then I don't know! Unisouth 10:16, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
Surely it's that the loading area is an open-sided platform, inviting a comparison to a parade float. That article says "The name is derived from the first floats, which were decorated barges that were towed along canals with ropes held by parade marchers on the shore." --KJBracey 07:03, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

The Concise Oxford Dictionary includes (amongst many others) the following definitions of float:

  • kind of low-bodied cart
  • platform on wheels with show used in processions

--PeterR 22:59, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

This edit includes the open sides in the lead. The origin is from Float (horse-drawn), which is referred to under Milk float#Alternatives. --Trevj (talk) 14:44, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
"this edit" as you so innocently describe it, is an uncited addition of your own, made only moments earlier.
There is no evidence that milk floats are specifically open-sided, or that floats in general were open sided. In fact they weren't - horse drawn floats (with large wheels, for the poor roads of the time) certainly didn't have open sides. The open side is a relatively modern innovation. The one horse-drawn vehicle that did have side access, and low wheels to permit this, was a dray, as used by brewers.
Floats, as described in Float (horse-drawn), have a low load platform. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:07, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Horse drawn milk floats generally carried one or more milk churns on a low platform which the milkman would use to fill customers' jugs. Reusable milk bottles only arrived in quantity in the 30s, and my mother can still remember buying milk from an old style churn in the 50s. --Ef80 (talk) 14:15, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Redirect request[edit]

I would like this article to be redirected from "Milk Floats". Sausagea1000 (talk) 13:52, 26 January 2017 (UTC)

Gradients[edit]

Presumably milk floats are unsuitable for use on steep roads. Is there any information available on how steep a road would be to prevent the use of milk floats? Many urban areas are quite hilly even in major cities.--Johnsoniensis (talk) 19:12, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Milk floats are used wherever milk needs to be delivered. Although the electric milk floats are low powered and slow, they do climb short hills quite well. For rural rounds they're usually built on normal van chassis (petrol or diesel), but with open sides and the float bodywork. Andy Dingley (talk) 20:53, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
Thank you.--Johnsoniensis (talk) 04:55, 4 February 2017 (UTC)