The TELLING-BELLE VERNON CO., the first dairy company in Cleveland to deliver milk in glass bottles, was created on 29 Jan. 1915 by the merger of the Telling Bros. Co. and the Belle Vernon Farms Dairy Co. Telling Bros. began as a 1-man milk route operated by Wm. E. Telling from 1891-93. In partnership with his brother, John C., he organized the Telling Bros. Ice Cream Co. in Dec. 1895 with a shop at 953 Willson Ave. (E. 55th St.). The firm was incorporated in 1905 and in 1913 Telling Bros. sold 4.2 million quarts of ice cream.

The Belle Vernon Farms Dairy Co. began as the Maple Grove Farm Dairy Co. ca. 1891. By 1895 JACOB A. BEIDLER had become company president and he reorganized it as the Belle Vernon Farms Dairy Co. in Feb. 1897. The company was located at 957 Willson Ave., next door to Telling Bros. for several years. By 1903 a merger with the Mapes milk company created the new Belle Vernon-Mapes Dairy Co., which supplied 25% of the milk sold in Cleveland. In 1915 the new Telling-Belle Vernon Co., headed by Wm. E. Telling, had general offices at 3821-3835 Cedar and a wholesale office at 706 Eagle St. The firm became a division of the Natl. Dairy Prods. Corp. in 1928 and began to market its milk from new quarters at 3740 Carnegie in 1935 using the Sealtest symbol to indicate that it met Natl. Dairy's quality specification. By 1946 the company had 70,000 customers, 1,400 workers, and milk-bottling plants in Cleveland, Ashtabula, and Painesville. Although Natl. Dairy split the firm into separate milk and ice cream companies between 1951-57, they were rejoined in 1957 as part of Natl. Dairy's Sealtest of Ohio Div., which in turn became the Sealtest Foods Div. of the Kraftco Corp. in 1969. Sealtest operated its Carnegie Ave. plant until 1980.

Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

View image in Digital Cleveland Starts Here®


Article Categories