A New Age for Home Delivery Rekindles Memories of Deliveries Decades Ago

A New Age for Home Delivery Rekindles Memories of Deliveries Decades Ago

Journeys into River Edge

These days, and especially now in the age of COVID, home delivery of foods is a common sight around town. Peapod and Fresh Direct trucks can be seen making deliveries at all hours as many avoid crowds at supermarkets.

This boom of 2020 is actually a renaissance. As the posting below notes home delivery had a previous heyday . The time was 1950’s-mid-1960’s. It was an era many still fondly recall as a time when doctors still made house calls.

Though the posting below speaks to New York,1950-89, it was the presence of a Dugan’s truck that prompted my posting about food trucks making home deliveries in River Edge.

For those of you that may not remember, Dugan’s Brothers was a bakery with large plants in Queens, Newark and Paterson. What distinguished Dugan’s was their use of trucks (milk delivery type trucks in the 1950’s – see the picture below). The Dugan man, as he was called, delivered to your home bread, cakes, pastries and potato chips among other bakery items (good chocolate covered donuts). He would come by once or twice a week. He knew your name and your Mom’s name. He was a friendly face at your door - there replete in his Dugan’s uniform.

Dugan’s went out of business in 1967, a victim of grocery stores and the cost of home delivery.

Another regular delivery at our house was the Sealtest man. Sealtest Dairy was a division of National Dairy Products Corporation (predecessor to Kraft Foods, Inc.) of Delaware.). Sealtest had milk and ice cream plants across the midwestern and northeastern part of the United States, including New York.

Described as a milk man he also delivered eggs, sour cream and cottage cheese (not sure if butter too). But unlike the Dugan’s man, we did not know him personally because his delivery often came early in the morning before it was light out. We were fast asleep.

Both the Dugan’s and Sealtest men had toy trucks available for sale. And with me they had an easy sale. I was obsessed with these things - a 1960’s version of the Hess toy truck. In fact, I still have the Dugan’s truck this many decades later.

Finally, a home delivery of sorts was my favorite of all – the Good Humor Man. Technically he did not come to our home. He rang his bell and out we came. The White Good Humor truck brought ice cream and joy to this young boy’s stomach and spirit. And, unlike today we did not need an online tracker to figure out if the ice cream truck was in the neighborhood.. We knew just when he was coming. He was reliable like clockwork to turn up at the same time every summer evening. In turn, we were reliable and loyal too – pouring out into the street like clockwork as soon as we heard those ringing bells. They were bells we could not wait to hear. Our parents were not as thrilled. To them they would have preferred a less reliable delivery person.

Does anyone remember any of this ? Do you have any recollections of your own ?

They’re back to making home delivery of food again now. Though the names are different it appears to be another instance of something old that’s new again.

From Facebook (New York 1950-1989)


You may remember the trucks that came around and made life easier. Deliveries from the milk man. The bread man. Seltzer and soda truck that also sold Fox's Ubet. The knife sharpening guy that came around, and did a great job. Fruit and vegetable guy. Shoe repair pick up (Leave a sign in the window so they know you need a pick up.) Dry cleaning pick up. Diaper service.

Not to mention the RIDE TRUCKS!

And all the rest we have talked about. The ice cream trucks, Chow Chow Cup.

Except for a few holdouts, nearly all of these kinds of trucks and services are no longer around. It's kind of sad, but fun to remember!

(All photos are of trucks in the NY Metro area. The one that's hard to see, bottom row left, is a knife sharpening truck in Brooklyn in 1952.)

A New Age for Home Delivery Rekindles Memories of Deliveries Decades Ago