Tuesday, October 24, 2017

It's Mystery Object Time Again!

All right, NineteenTeen readers, it’s time to play the "what the heck is that?" game! No contest or prizes—this is all just for fun. Here it is...now, what is it?

First, a little background. My husband and I acquired this from an “attic sale” held by our local historical society this past summer—in an effort to clean out their holdings of items that weren’t really locally important or otherwise worth keeping as part of their collections (and raise funds to help preserve what is important), they de-accessioned them and sold them off to the public. The DH and I purchased a few items that I’ll be featuring here in the next months, and this is one of them.

It stands fifteen inches high from base to the top of the removeable lid, thirteen inches wide across the cylinder, and nine and a half inches deep. The main cylindrical part, made of white cedar (it still smells heavenly!) sits on two sturdy rests; it is made like a barrel, bound with galvanized steel hoops. The overall craftsmanship is quite lovely; it’s s solid piece of work, with all its parts fitting nicely together. The patina of the wood is just beautiful, warm and brown.

In front is a galvanized steel and wood crank that turns both clockwise and counterclockwise. Removing the well-fitting lid at top from the hopper reveals that the crank turns wooden hurdles inside the cylinder. The other side shows a cross-bracing piece screwed across it, and at the bottom, a hole plugged with the remains of a shaped cork.

I don’t expect we’ll be using it for its original purpose (yes, I know what it is!); we just thought it was a handsome piece. There’s something very satisfying about it—I don’t know if it’s the mellow color of the wood or the purposeful shape or the craftsmanship or what. My understanding is that it dates from the second half of the nineteenth century—I haven’t been able to pin down a more specific year.

So, what do you think it is? Post your guesses! And have fun!


Lena Coakley said...

Butter churn?

Paula said...

It’s a butter churn . We had one when I was growing up. My mother( 100 years old now) was an antique dealer.

Laurel Wanrow said...

I was going to guess butter churn, too, but I wonder if it's a buttermilk churn? The milk is let out by way of the small hole, leaving the cream at the top to be further churned into butter.
When will you post the answer?

This is fun!

Daisy said...

A rather odd ice cream maker?