Unusual artifacts, usual life: kitchen tool

Originally Published August 9, 2009

I decided to put several items together this time, because it seems that they were so commonplace that trying to find the first time they were used, or who invented them, or even the item in an old catalog is nearly impossible. Yet just about every house had one!

Self wringing mop head This first item I found hanging in a tree at an acquaintances house. That’s right, hanging in a tree! The interesting part is the head, since it is not the most common of its type. Can you guess what this is? Imagine it with a lot of string on it, wet, being pushed across a dirty floor. This item is a mop, but what makes it unique is the wringing mechanism. The strings were put into the hook, the handle cranked and all the excess water was gotten out. I’m betting if you got really skillful with this item, you never had to get your hands wet!
Demonstrating the mop wringing mechanism
Dough cutter from the 1940sThe next item you may be able to find in your kitchen drawer – in fact, this one came from my grandparent’s kitchen drawer long ago. It is a dough cutter – it is used to mix lard or shortening into flour (cutting it in) to make pie crust. It’s not something I use much, because I prefer using a fork to do the same job. However, in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, this was a common kitchen tool, and one my grandmothers always used when making pie.
Over the fire toasterI found these at an auction today – another item I’ve used myself many times – a toast or sandwich cooker for use over an open fire, mainly. I’m sure you could use it over a wood stove as well.. The handles open, you place inside any type of bread or sandwich you wish toasted, and turning it over a fire, you get a nice warm sandwich. I’m sure you could use also cook small pieces of meat in it, or roast some vegetables.

As always, I cannot give any sort of value to these items, but I hope you enjoyed seeing some more of the unique items that were commonplace to our ancestors.

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