The Daisy #40

Melissa SandfortAgricultural Anthropology

I love butter. Isn’t everything better with butter? And I love sour cream. Not the fat free kind – the full octane spread it on your hips kind of “real” sour cream. With that attitude, I would’ve done well back in the early 1900s when everything was real and a size 12 dress (or was it 14?) was average.

This is a Dazey #40 butter churn, patent date of Feb. 14, 1922. Speaking of sour cream, after the cow was milked, a cream separator was used and then the cream would sit until it was actually SOUR. You got it – sour cream. They’d pour that sour cream into this butter churn and crank the handle until the whey was worked out of it. It was grainy at first, but with enough cranks, produced a creamy yellow REAL butter (they did have to add a little salt). The liquid left after the butter was taken out, the buttermilk, and it is said to have made the best pancakes in the world.

If the cream was too fresh or not the right temperature, they’d have to crank a long time on this wooden handle until it made butter. These days, if it’s not fresh, we just toss it out. Think of all the good butter we’re wasting.

The first version of oleo was actually white. That didn’t go over too well, so they’d send you home with an orange color capsule or dry powder to mix in it to make it yellow. It’s all about appearances, now, isn’t it? I guess a size 14 didn’t matter as long as the butter was yellow.

Until our next history lesson …