Our offices are closed until Monday, March 5th. Please contact shop@churncraft.com with any questions.
0

Your Cart is Empty

by Hannes Frey August 30, 2014

The swing churn is the oldest form of butter churn, and it was used going back thousands of years. Nomads would fill an animal skin with milk and it would turn into butter as it was rocked back and forth while they walked. Animal skin containers suspended from wooden tripods were also likely used in more permanent living sites. We see something similar used in Bedouin culture as illustrated in this photo from 1918.

In the Middle East, earthenware containers from the Chalcolithic period, also known as the Copper Age, have been found containing traces of dairy fat dating back 6,500 to 5,500 years ago. These ovoid containers – they look vaguely like submarines to me – had lug handles at each end allowing the container to be suspended from a wooden frame, and an opening on the top to pour in the milk.

In Eastern Europe, farmers also used variations on this ancient yet efficient style of swing churn. Here is an example from the Artsakh Republic, a small Armenian speaking state in the Caucasus mountains, constructed from a barrel hanging from a simple wooden crossbar.

This simple yet effective method of churning butter was also incorporated into more complex patents and models through the 19th century in industrialized America. The Davis Churn Company developed a rather charming standing swing churn wherein a brightly painted container was suspended from a wooden frame in the shape of an “x”.

Large scale swing churns designed to be suspended from the ceiling were also developed for bigger dairy farms and commercial dairy operations. While these churns certainly had an appealing design, the logistical difficulties present in suspending a massive swinging churn from the ceiling, no doubt impeded their popularity.

Alfred Clark, developed a rather unusual style of swing churn (featured in an earlier post). His novel rocking chair cum butter churn allowed the user to make butter and relax on the front porch or next to the wood stove at the same time. Though I haven’t found evidence of its manufacture, I still love the ingenuity of this patent!

 

Hannes Frey
Hannes Frey


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in The Churncraft Journal

The Chef Series: Marlon Alexander
The Chef Series: Marlon Alexander

by Jojo Frey January 10, 2018

For the third installment of our Chef Series, I am so excited to introduce the charming Marlon Alexander, a personal chef who has worked for some of the biggest names in show biz including Kiss, Rod Stewart and Christina Aguilera. I first met Marlon at a charity event, where a private dinner catered by him was auctioned off for a cool $14,000 (by the way, two of those dinners sold that night). Between his charisma, fascinating stories of the rich and famous, and delicious food, it’s easy to see why.
Read More
The New York Times: Front Burner Feature
The New York Times: Front Burner Feature

by Jojo Frey December 08, 2017

What an honor to be featured in   The New York Times! We are so proud to have gotten a stamp of approval from Florence Fabricant, food critic of the NYT.

Read More
Truffle Butter
Truffle Butter

by Jojo Frey December 04, 2017

Truffle butter is a great way to preserve the aroma of truffles. Chefs recommend using truffle within five days or so. Aside from freezing it, making truffle butter is a good method to preserve the flavor. But, let’s be real… ain't no way truffle butter will last more than a few days in anyone’s fridge!!
Read More
News & Updates

Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more …