Mechanical Kitchen Devices - Ageless Practicality
Updated: Dec 14, 2021
I had working class parents whom instilled the use of simple mechanical devices and the use of traditional tools and technology in all aspects of home and home life. As an artist and engineer I got to appreciate the simple cast and machined lines of these devices and their effective practicality to produce a result with a little elbow grease (the same for maintaining and preserving them for your years to come). My home in Britain was within the Industrial Midlands - so many a National name in home and hardware products (as well as cars, bikes and motorbikes). Similarly my new home is in the Rust Belt of PA, where similar National home and hardware names existed. It is possible then to collect, restore and use mechanical kitchen devices from these varied sources, sizes and types to preserve local history.
This selection was photographed at the local Kutztown Folk Festival and will serve for now as an idea of local mechanical iron devices for peeling, pithing fruit and processing nuts and other fillers for pies and sausage making. Ill add my collection and details / uses of devices as it grows also.
A new in the box "Reading No 78" Apple Parer with instructions as produced and distributed by Sterling Withers of Sinking Spring PA. A later production model in a fetching green paint and nickel core spike and blade holder. The simplified rough casting is evident on a design that goes back nearly 100 years. Older examples are found with natural (seasoned black) iron finishes and with varied markings (top left of the Kutztown collection photo). Typically designs lke this were hard to improve and were in steady demand for farm and home kitchens all the way through to the 1980s where food processors or services changed how we even consume apples (think packages individual portion slices of apple). I cant wait to get a few more of these and have them ready to work and for sale.
I find other examples of this design and clean them with vegetable oil, adjust and test as intended. Here is another green "78" peeling:
Coffee has been a feature of country life in America since the age of pioneers and the western expansion. There could be a whole article just on coffee grinders and percolators. I finally found a glass jar example that was in great shape, in working order and complete with lid. I soon had an oak back board made to mount it in my kitchen (the wall being the safest place for it. Introducing the Arcade Crystal No3! Now to buy some beans and grind to percolate on the wood stove..