[Tagging] Milk Churn Stands

Paul Allen pla16021 at gmail.com
Sat Jun 20 12:42:34 UTC 2020

Recently I was digging for some details of a farm I was mapping and came
across a map
of the locations of milk churn stands in the county of Ceredigion.  It
struck me that we
should have a way of tagging mllk churn stands.

They are platforms, usually constructed from bricks or concrete,
occasionally large
chunks of stone, sometimes made of wood, that are usually located near the
entrances to farms.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milk_churn_stand
and https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Milk_churn_stands

I consider them to be mappable because they can aid navigation and can be
used by
walkers as improvised tables/seats.  Probably not worth rendering on the
map but could be rendered by walking maps.

They came into use in the 19th century and fell into disuse in the UK in
when milk collection was entirely by tanker.  Although the Wikipedia article
mentions only the UK, they were in use in other parts of the world such as
Germany, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Estonia.  They may still be used in
2nd or 3rd world countries.  The purpose was for the farmer to place large
containers of milk on the stand to  make it easier for them to be
transferred to a
cart (later lorry).  Although no longer used in the countries already
mentioned, they
are unlikely to be removed because that would take time and money and
nothing would be gained.

My instinct would be to use man_made=milk_churn_stand.  Checking with
taginfo shows this has already been used once.  Overpass-turbo shows it
was used in Germany.  I'm not entirely happy with "milk churn stand" even
though in British English the milk containers were known as "milk churns"
despite not being used to churn milk, but I can't think of anything better.
Etymology of the misleading name is here:

The existing instance I found also included historic=yes.  I don't consider
that should be used with most milk churn stands as it is not a synonym
for old or disused but means it is of historical significance (most of these
are not).  They should probably have disused=yes or a disused lifecycle
prefix (cue endless arguments about which) except in parts of the world
where they actually are still in use (if they are).

Here's the map I found.  It deals only with the county of Ceredigion and the
person responsible has only dealt with about half of that county so far.
and unless I can get a response from him I don't entirely trust the accuracy
of his locations and wouldn't use them anyway because of copyright (unless
he gave permission and assurances of accuracy).  But his map gives some idea
of the ubiquity of these things.
Be patient, it takes a while for the map to load.

Why do I bring all this up here?  Because I'd like to document what tag(s)
use for milk churn stands.  The person who mapped the German one as
man_made=milk_churn_stand says he mapped another one as
historic=milk_churn_stand because he wasn't sure of the best way to map

I know, this is going to trigger the usual chicken-and-egg arguments.
"It's only been
used once so we shouldn't use it" and "It's only been used once so we
document it until it becomes popular" to which I'll counter "If we don't
it then people will invent their own ways of tagging these things and we'll
end up
with the usual mess which we can't change because all the different ways of
mapping it are too widely used"  and "it's not a key, it's just a value."

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