Exposing my Roots

Regular readers of this blog have put some pieces together by now.

I’m a rural girl. Transplanted to the city years ago. I’m also old enough to recognize museum pieces. Every so often they feature an item on Antiques Roadshow that either our family or a neighbor owned – and used routinely.

I suppose my brother and I were looking for trouble of  a sort when we went to a small museum in northern Wisconsin a year ago. And there it was — an implement that our family used for a short time when I was in elementary school. A piece of equipment that my mother washed countless times, beginning in her elementary school years.

It worked by man (or woman) power. A crank, a wheel, gears. Gravity moved the milk from the top. The mechanism created centrifugal force in a collection of metal cones (42 according my cousin – she washed one for years) and separated the lighter cream from heavier skim milk.  Farmers sold to the local “creamery” and used the skim (a waste product —  they were paid for the butterfat rich cream) for feeding calves and hogs – and children.

Symbol of Labor Intensive Dairy Farming
Symbol of Labor Intensive Dairy Farming

1 thought on “Exposing my Roots”

  1. I couldn’t resist a comment, Ellen. My dad’s father supported a family of eight selling DeLaval cream separators in the 20’s, 30’s and 40s in Western Wisconsin and the border of Minnesota. Wish I knew more about the history of his traveling sales adventures. I’m told he could sell a cream separator to a farmer who had no cows!

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