The Progress of Butter Making

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: April 20, 1904

The Progress of Butter Making

Evolution of Methods Employed by Farmers in Getting This Product.

A Great Advance is Made

By Making their Own Butter Farmers Save About 25 Per Cent.

During the last few years the dairy business in the rural districts thruout Iowa, Illinois and other western states has passed thru a great revolution. The drudgery and inconvenience in connection with keeping milch (sic) cows a few years ago has passed, and now up-to-date methods are employed by nearly every farmer engaged in the dairy business, whether on a large or on a small scale.

It has not been many years since the milk was was strained into crocks or shallow tin pans, where it was left until sour, when the cream was skimmed off. The cream was then turned into a stone dash church, or perhaps into the more modern barrel or paddle churn, after which the tedious work of turning the fat into butter began.

The boys and girls who grew up on a farm a few years ago will remember the tedious hours that were spent in some spot in a seemingly vain effort to make the butter gather. If the cream was not of a right temperature, the task was a weary one.

After the butter had been gathered the tedious task of working it, usually without ice, occupied the attention of the housewife. The butter was placed in stone jars and set away in the coolest part of the cellar. Once a week the farmer would drive to market with the butter, many times traveling a good many miles thru the heat of the summer, the butter carefully covered with green leaves to keep it cool. The butter was traded for provisions, after which the farmer would wend his weary way home in the dust and heat of an August day.

This period was followed by the establishment of the creameries, but of a much different type from those which are now so numerous in Iowa, Illinois and the great dairying states. The milk was not delivered by the farmers to the creamery, but drivers for the butter making establishmen (sic) could make a tour of many miles, gathering up the cream. This was done every alternate day. The farmers were paid so much an inch for the cream, which was measured by a glass in the top of the can.

The old fashioned creameries were later converted into the more modern establishments with separators and the numerous improved methods of butter making. The farmers load their milk into the wagons early in the morning, and drive many miles to the separator, making additional work for themselves, but saving their good wives much drudgery.

These separators became numerous, and soon they were to be found at intervals of a few miles on every country road. The patronage of these institutions was marvelous at first, and the companies realized a good income on their money, but like many other kinds of busines, the field became overcrowded and many creameries suspended, and a new and still better method of dairying was introduced.

After the cream separators had been perfected with a capacity of several thousand pounds of milk per hour, the attention of the farmers were turned to smaller machiens of a similar character, which could be operated at home by hand or by some light power. Farmers invested in these reluctantly at first, but as soon as one appeared in a neighborhood and was pronounced a success, others invested – for it must be remembered that today farmers are earnest advocates of labor-saving devices – until at present nearly every farmer that keeps any great number of cows has his own private creamery, equipped in a manner to do first class work.

In a few minutes the product from a dozen cows can be separated, and thus the trip to the creamery, which took from one to two hours, is obviated. The rich cream runs from the separator thru a spout, while from the other side the skimmed milk, robbed entirely of butter fat, streams from another spout. The separator holds about a gallon of milk and revolves very rapidly. The cream, being lighter, goes to the top and escapes thru a small hole, while the heavier milk runs out thru an opening at the bottom.

In some instances the cream is shipped direct to milk depots in the cities, where it is sold, while others prefer to make butter and deliver it to their patrons in the cities, who are willing to pay fancy prices for the superior quality which is manufactured by the private creamery.

By making their own butter farmers are enabled to increase the income from their cows at least 25 per cent and in some instances even more than this figure.


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