Last month, Michael Murphy, one of the owners of Eco Relics, went to the estate sale in a farmhouse located on twenty-five acres off of Cedar Point Rd. in North Jacksonville. The farmhouse was built with bricks and beams from deconstructed southern churches, according to the auction company. The sale itself offered a wide array of antique farm equipment. Michael acquired a lot of new merchandise for the store, such as primitive tools and furniture, antique laundry equipment, and old farm machinery. In a series of blog posts, we will be covering different pieces from the new merchandise and some of the history behind them.
DeLaval Cream Separator No. 12
Cream separators are used to separate cream from fresh milk. Prior to the invention of the cream separator, milk was stored in a cool, dry place for a couple of days so that the cream would separate naturally by rising to the top. The problem with this was that if the milk did not stay cool enough, it would spoil. In 1882, Dr. Gustaf de Laval created the first cream separator that used centrifugal force. The DeLaval cream separator was very high tech and top of the line for its time. It contained a series of discs that would spin, powered by a hand crank, to separate the lightweight fat particles of the cream from the heavier milk particles.
This cream separator was manufactured in Poughkeepsie, New York, from the first DeLaval manufacturing plant in the United States. Judging by the different models found in user manuals, this one most likely came from the late nineteen-teens or very early nineteen twenties. Although it operates by hand crank, a pulley attachment was available for purchase in the user manual that would allow the machine to be operated by other means. There is still quite a demand for these antique cream separators among modern homesteaders who restore them for use in their small dairies.
Antique Butter Churn
What do you do with all that separated cream? Why, make butter, of course! Butter churns are extremely popular antiques. The first butter churns were made of wood, with glass and barrel style churns following after. They work by putting cream into the bottom of the churn, securing the lid, then moving the handle, called a dasher, vigorously up and down until the cream solidifies and becomes butter.
Prior to the invention of the butter churn, butter was made by placing cream in an animal skin that was tied to a pole, then spun around until butter was formed. This butter churn is made of wood and features a dasher with crossed boards. Antique butter churns make beautiful decorations. They can be displayed as they are or used as decorative planters or umbrella stands.
The Perfection Clothes Dryer
Before electric dryers, clothing was dried on a clothesline or alternatively, on wooden clothes dryers, similar to the drying racks available today. This Perfection Clothes Dryer was manufactured by L. Hopkins, which he patented in 1887. According to a plat map from 1904, the manufacturing facility was located on Seely Street, in Miles Grove, Pennsylvania. However, according to plat maps dated 1912, the company was quite larger, had passed to Frank Hopkins, and Miles Grove had become North Girard, Pennsylvania.
Later versions of the Perfection Clothes Dryer are stamped North Girard, which indicates that this one was manufactured prior to 1912. This one hundred year old clothes dryer has eight wooden spindles and is intended to be mounted on a wall. Not only is its utility still relevant, it is also makes a unique decoration with an interesting story.
This bench is considered primitive because it is entirely handmade by someone who was an unskilled craftsman, most likely a farmer, for a utilitarian purpose. It is made with oak wood, and the legs are attached by mortise and tenon joints.
The mortise and tenon joint has been used by carpenters for thousands of years. The mortise is the hole in the material, while the tenon is the tongue, shaped to fit securely within the mortise. This unique bench can still be used as a rustic bench or can be placed upon a shelf or mantle to create a tiered shelf.
Much More to Come
The next installment of the Farmhouse Merchandise will include the ABC Super Electric Washer, a primitive single tree hitch, a grain separator, and more. All of the items featured are currently available for purchase at Eco Relics, located at 106 W. Stockton St. in Jacksonville, FL.
Sources – Farmhouse Merchandise Part 1
Luman Beasley Auctioneers, Trulia (No longer on the market)
DeLaval Cream Separator:
Poughkeepsie Journal, Cricket Creek Farm, Babel
Antique Butter Churn:
Antique Trader, Old and Interesting
The Perfection Clothes Dryer:
Digital Library PSU 01, Digital Library PSU 02
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