Moo-Cow Creamers: They Were Everywhere in Northern Michigan!
What trip to northern Michigan didn't include spotting a Moo-Cow Creamer? These little plastic heifers were everywhere, in every town, in almost every upper Michigan restaurant.
The Moo-Cow Creamer was/is a container for your coffee cream with the head of a cow. Tip the container and the cream comes regurgitating out of the cow's mouth into your coffee.
The first Moo-Cow appeared in 1969 and apparently became a campy favorite of tourists. I remember seeing my first Moo-Cow Creamer in the old Pancake Chef restaurant in Mackinaw City......The waitress brought my coffee and I proceeded to put in the cream. “Hey, look! The cow just spewed cream into my coffee! How cool is that?”
The Moo-Cow was on every table in just about every northern Michigan restaurant, and it was a rarity to enter a restaurant that didn't have them. Of course, the Moo-Cows were for sale as well, usually in the glass display case up by the cash register.
But there was something ominous afoot...somebody must have complained about the Moo-Cows throwing up in their hot drinks. That's the only theory that makes sense, because after a good many years of the Moo-Cow vomiting in your java, the manufacturer changed the design so the cream came out of the cow's neck.....which made NO sense. It's like someone gave that cow a tracheotomy that caused the cream to shoot out her adam's apple. I'd rather have it the original way, which was more charmingly disgusting.
The Moo-Cow Creamer was created by Whirly Industries in Warren Pennsylvania. Whirly began in 1960 operating a line of coin laundromats and car washes. Then in 1969, they expanded by making little novelties like salt & pepper shakers and other plastic items. The Moo-Cow Creamer was one of their novelties...the reason they appeared on every restaurant table was for selling purposes. The only way they could sell 'em was by volume, therefore each restaurant table had a usable Moo-Cow Creamer on display...and it worked. People bought 'em and many collected the different versions.
Best locations were cafe's and eateries along the Interstates. The restaurants in small towns, tourist towns, villages, and cities all carried the Moo-Cow.
For years, many of us in Michigan looked for those Moo-Cows whenever we went north. Now they're not as easy to find, but they're still out there...somewhere...and hopefully dispensing cream from their mouth...not oozing it outta their necks.