Mu­seum pieces

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

The Glen­garry Pi­o­neer Mu­seum in Dun­ve­gan is full of im­ple­ments that shed some in­sight into the lives and chal­lenges of the set­tlers.

Above is a Jamieson Ston­ing Ma­chine. You can’t miss this ex­trav­a­gant piece of farm equip­ment as you are me­an­der­ing through the mu­seum grounds. Be­ing one of the big­gest ar­ti­facts at the mu­seum, it is also one of the more re­mark­able pieces in the agri­cul­ture col­lec­tion be­cause of the out­stand­ing con­ve­nience it pro­vided for many early farm­ers.

In or­der for the land to be prac­ti­cal for grow­ing crops, farm­ers had to clear the big stones out of the land space where they would like to plant. This big horse-pow­ered ma­chine did the job just fine. The ston­ing ma­chine was in­vented by an early set­tler of Brodie, Wil­liam Jamieson, with the in­tent to help farm­ers with this labour in­ten­sive task of mov­ing large boul­ders from their fields. Af­ter it was built, it had to be driven all the way to Kingston to ac­quire a patent for it.

Although the me­chan­ics of the ma­chine look fairly com­pli­cated and com­plex, it was not hard to run.

Young boys would work ahead of the ma­chine and used a maul and chisel to make holes in the stones so the me­tal hooks could fit into the holes and lift the boul­der with rel­a­tive ease. Be­ing a very use­ful ma­chine to farm­ers, and only need­ing a horse or two to lift the stones by pul­leys and ropes, it be­came a very pop­u­lar tool and was still used well into this cen­tury. You could rent it for $1.50 a day and of­ten farm­ers would make stone fences from all the boul­ders and many of the fences around Glen­garry still have stones with these holes on their sides.

This McCormick Deer­ing cream sepa

ra­tor is used to sep­a­rate fresh milk into cream and skim milk. Of­ten the skim milk was con­sumed by the farmer and his fam­ily and the cream was saved to make but­ter, or it would be sold. Be­fore the cen­trifu­gal mech­a­nism such as this one, milk was sep­a­rated by let­ting it sit in a con­tainer un­til the cream floated to the top and could be skimmed off by hand. But the cen­trifu­gal separa­tor makes it pos­si­ble to sep­a­rate cream from milk faster and more easily, with­out hav­ing to let the milk sit for a long time and risk it turn­ing sour. This one was orig­i­nally a hand-cranked ma­chine but a mo­tor was later added around 1925. The fresh milk gets poured into the sup­ply can at the top, and then leaves the bowl through a valve on the side and passes into the disks where the cream sep­a­rates. Good sep­a­ra­tors have a bell in the cen­tre of the gear (this one’s miss­ing it); this al­lows the user to tell when the cream separa­tor was be­ing cranked at the right speed, usu­ally 60 rev­o­lu­tions per minute. If the bell was ring­ing the cream separa­tor needed to be cranked faster.

(Above) The Fan­ning Mill from the late 1800s be­came a very im­por­tant piece of ma­chin­ery for early farm­ers. It re­moved straw, chaff, stones, dirt and dust, weed seeds, and light im­ma­ture seeds from wheat, oats, rye, bar­ley, and other grains. It was im­por­tant to re­move con­tam­i­nants for bet­ter preser­va­tion dur­ing stor­age and to have mold and grit free flour. It is a pe­cu­liar-look­ing de­vice made of wood, with shaped han­dles, rounded edges and like other old-time ma­chin­ery, fan­ning mills were at­trac­tively painted in showy colours and de­signs ap­pear­ing al­most like a piece of fur­ni­ture.

(Above) The saw: One of the more im­por­tant as­pects of pi­o­neer set­tle­ment and pi­o­neer life in Canada was how they made use of ev­ery­thing they had in or­der to make a life for them­selves. Imag­ine ar­riv­ing at a com­pletely un­usual, un­fa­mil­iar place with noth­ing and be­ing sur­rounded by thou­sands of acres of forests. For pioneers, this was only one of the prob­lems that they had to over­come in or­der to pros­per in Canada. Be­fore they could be­gin to farm, pioneers had to cut down many trees so they could plant crops. It was a very labour in­ten­sive task to clear the land but with in­no­va­tion, cre­ativ­ity, and hard work, the pioneers learned of eas­ier tech­niques and in­stru­ments to clear the land more ef­fi­ciently. One par­tic­u­lar ar­ti­fact that was very use­ful tool for early farm­ers in the area was a cross­cut saw. Cross­cut saws have been used around the world since the 15th cen­tury but have evolved over time to ac­com­mo­date dif­fer­ent types of trees, changes in met­al­lurgy tech­nol­ogy, and ex­pe­ri­ences. A cross­cut saw is a gen­eral term for any saw blade cut­ting wood against the wood grain. They found use for ev­ery­thing in those days, so all the wood they had chopped down to clear space for crops would be used for any­thing and ev­ery­thing.

This is an egg in­cu­ba­tor which was used for hatch­ing chicken eggs. Me­chan­i­cal in­cu­bat­ing was not in­vented un­til the year of 1749 by Rea­mur in Paris, France. Prior to this in­ven­tion, one of the first recorded meth­ods of in­cu­bat­ing in­cluded us­ing the heat of rot­ted ma­nure to warm the eggs. Although this in­cu­ba­tor is me­chan­i­cal, it was still be­fore the avail­abil­ity of elec­tric­ity to farms. A coal oil lamp was used to heat wa­ter, cir­cu­lat­ing by con­vec­tion through pipes around the perime­ter of the in­cu­ba­tor.

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