Butter cradle, another vanishing icon

By Gale Trussell
Journal Correspondent


Most people are familiar with a butter churn. It was designed to make butter when someone pushed a plunger up and down for a period of time. However, few people have seen a butter cradle (see photo). It was designed to make butter also, but with a back and forth motion. It still took "people power" because there was no electricity back in those days. The legs were usually made of metal fashioned in a blacksmith shop. The cradle was made of wood with a door on top to take the butter in and out. There were wood handles on each end for the worker to move the cradle back and forth. An open area was made in one of the sides so you could see how the butter making was coming along. The opening was covered with screen wire to prevent flies and other undesirable critters from sampling the butter.

The butter cradle proves once again--there's more than one way to "skin a cat". People don't use butter cradles anymore. It's too easy to buy butter at the super market. The cradle is just another vanishing icon. Another part of our history and heritage.