Museum talk -- Iron grinder on display

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

While browsing at the Buffalo Island Museum, I spotted an old cast iron grinder that said "Enterprise Fruit Press, Lard Press, and Sausage Stuffer". It had a date of April 13, 1875 and was made by the Enterprise Manufacturing Co. of Philadelphia, PA. It amazed me that this one machine could do so many things, I found this press listed in an old Sears, Roebuck catalog stating that it was easily operated by turning the crank. It had a Japanned finish and can be used as a fruit press for making wine, jellies, etc. from berries and fruits of all kinds as grapes, apples, pineapples, currants, quinces, etc. Also used for making lard and stuffing sausages. It sold for $10.24.

Iron grinder was used for many purposes.

A Japanned finish was a process that made the metal rustproof and was usually black.

In the late 1800's and early 1900's, a press of this type was needed. Farmers raised their own hogs, butchered them and preserved the meat. Sausage was made by cutting the meat in small pieces, adding spices, and grinding in this press with a tube with casings attached at the front. As the handle was turned the sausage filled the casing which was usually made from clean pork intestines. Sausage was even found in ancient times. Early literature states that the ancient Greeks made their own sausage and ate it.

This was also a fruit press. Apple cider was made by inserting the basket into the cylinder and filled with chopped apples. The crank was turned and the fruit was pressed down and the juice ran out of the spout. Wine could also be made from grape and berry juice. This press also squeezed the fruit to made the juice for jams and jellies.

Lard was made by removing the rind from the fat and cut in small pieces. These pieces were run through the course plate of the press, then put in a kettle over a fire, stirring constantly. The liquid lard, containing the cracklings was put in the lard press and as the handle was turned and the excess lard was squeezed from the cracklings. This process resulted in clear, steaming oil from the holes at the bottom of the press. If the cracklings were to be eaten, the person doing the cranking didn't press too hard. As the oil cooled, it became pure white lard.

Seeing these antique tools used in our Grandmother's day makes us appreciate just being able to go to the grocery store to buy juice, sausage, or Chrisco. The Buffalo Island Museum wants to preserve the past for future generations. Admission is free. Hours open are Friday and Saturday 12:30-4:00 and this summer also on Sunday 1:00-3:00. Please make time to visit the museum. Our annual quilt show is September 28. Admission is free and there is no entry fee. We would love to see your quilts, new ones or old ones. For more information, please visit the museum's Facebook page.

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