February 18, 2013 - Cow Milked While Flying in an Airplane Day

Here's a “first” that may never have crossed your mind:

On this date in 1931, a cow named Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an airplane.


Ollie was a Guernsey cow, and she gave a lot of milk every day. Instead of being milked twice a day, she needed to be milked three times a day. So of course, on the 72-mile trip from Bismarck to St. Louis, Missouri, Elm Farm Ollie needed to be milked. Wisconsin man Elsworth Bunce therefore became the first man to milk a cow on an airplane. 

Ollie produced 24 quarts of milk during the flight. The milk was sealed into paper cartons and—get this!—parachuted down to spectators below. Charles Lindbergh, a famous pioneer of flight, was said to have received a glass of milk from the historic flight.

Scientists supposedly got a chance to observe midair effects on animals. But the flight was probably mostly a publicity stunt. It was part of the International Air Exposition, after all.

Flying Pigs and Snakes on a Plane

We humans move around a lot more these days than we used to, what with fun vacations, educational tours, and work relocations. And of course, a lot of our travel is via airplane. It's no surprise that we need a way to fly our animals as well.

Whether it's pets, farm livestock, service animals, or smuggled critters, there seems to be a whole lot of animals in airplanes!

Also on this date:

Stained-glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany's birthday

Anniversary of the invention of the modern vacuum

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