Posts Tagged ‘kitchenware’

A Pastry Cutter

February 25, 2013

Making pastry may be a bit of a vanishing skill, for many folks find it easier to buy it ready made. However, whether home or factory made, it will probably need cutting to shape. You need a pastry cutter, perhaps like the one shown here.

A brass pastry cutter and crimper, dating from around 1900. It can be found at Market Lavington Museum

A brass pastry cutter and crimper, dating from around 1900. It can be found at Market Lavington Museum

This is a two in one tool. The wheel end is a cutter which allows the user to create any shape they want to. The other end is a pie crimper. That comes into use when you need to join a pie base to the crust which goes over the top.

This cutter might be said to be utilitarian in design. It is made of brass and we think it probably dates from around 1900. It was used by a White Street, Market Lavington family.

A Copper Kettle

February 2, 2013

This is being written as I drink a mug of coffee, with water boiled in a very cheap, largely plastic kettle which, of course, plugs straight into the electricity supply and boils water very rapidly.

Now go back 100 years, to a time before mains electricity arrived in the Lavingtons and there was no cheap plastic. Your kettle had to be made to withstand the heat of a fire. Essentially, it had to be metal.

Most metals were not all that easy to beat or bend into shape and then make joints which had to be waterproof and heatproof. The ideal metal was copper.

Our curator tells us that in the 1970s he and his wife tried to make a copper kettle. They attempted to beat a sheet of copper into a hemisphere to make the top of the device. He believes they still have the resultant attractive copper dish somewhere. In those harum-scarum 1970s days they never found the time to complete the project and, in any case, they had an electric kettle to use.

Back in the 1900s, the options were more limited and a Market Lavington copper smith completed a kettle of simple, attractive appearance.


Copper kettle at Market Lavington Museum

This kettle has been made in several pieces. It has a sturdy base. The side is made of a single sheet of copper bent round.

The top is another single sheet, beaten into shape. There is a handle (made of steel with a wood grip) and a spout. It should have a wood knob on the lid but that is missing.

The kettle was clearly designed to stand on a kitchen range, which is just what it does at Market Lavington Museum.

The method of jointing is interesting. We guess it was a brazing method, but we can see how surfaces were overlapped to ensure good contact and closure.


The seam joining the ends of the kettle wall together

That’s the seam in the kettle side wall. Clearly it has been riveted as well, probably before brazing took place.

The kettle was given to the museum by a White Street (Market Lavington) resident.

A Potato Ricer

November 1, 2012

Older visitors to the museum love to look at items and say, ‘I used to have one of them’.  Today we are looking at an item that will fall into that kind of category. I’m afraid those older  visitors will have to make do with this ‘virtual museum’ for a few months, for, as from today, we close for the winter season. We plan an opening just after Christmas – you’d better check this blog for details – and then the new season begins at the start of May in 2013.

By then new displays will be in place to replace the royal themed displays of this Jubilee year. One planned display will be about ‘schooldays’.

But back to today’s object which is a potato ricer. Now we don’t really know much about these kitchen items, but would you believe, there is a site at which will tell you about them (and, no doubt, suggest where to buy one).

Ours, of course, is not for sale. It dates from the 1930s and was used at Clyffe Hall in Market Lavington. We imagine it was quite a sturdy device in its day, for Clyffe Hall was a hotel and they probably needed gear just a bit above domestic quality. Sadly, we have no maker’s name on this device.

Here it is.

A 1930s potato ricer at Market Lavington Museum

And here’s the underside.

The underside. Strings of mashed potato issued from the perforations,

The idea was that vegetables (it didn’t have to be potato) were put in the perforated bowl. The handle was pulled down and the veg came out in strings which might be about the thickness of a grain of rice. That’s why they were and are called ricers.  These devices are said to make perfect mashed potato.

The ricer is just one of many kitchen items from the past which visitors can see in our kitchen room at the museum.

A knife cleaner

November 2, 2011

Older ideas are always likely to get killed off by newer technologies. As soon as stainless steel became suitable for knives, the days of the knife cleaner were numbered. Nowadays, these items, designed to make knives look shiny, are confined to the shelves of museums. And we have one at Market Lavington Museum. You can find in the museum’s kitchen room.

A knife cleaner at Market Lavington Museum

We think this device dates from about 1910. Handy instructions are provided in the iron casting of this knife cleaner. It was very simple – just shove the knife in between the pads, pressed together by the spring and wind the handle.

The messages given in the casting

We can see that our knife cleaner (sometimes called a polisher) carried the trade name Vono and this was the number 2 knife cleaner. It was British made.

Kitchen Scales

February 23, 2011

Homes, up and down the country have scales in the kitchen. Recpies require ingredients to be weighed so a pair of scales is an essential for any cook. These days scales may well be all electronic, with digital readouts and, possibly, audio indications when the correct weight is reached. Many homes, though, still use good, old fashioned balances like the ones we have in Market Lavington Museum. The scales can be found on our kitchen table  along with many other items of kitchen ware.

Kitchen scales, formerly used by the Welch family and now at Market Lavington Museum

These kitchen scales date from about 1900 and were used, in Market Lavington, by the Welch family. Peggy Gye, our museum founder, was a Welch by birth so our Peggy probably used these scales when she was learning to cook in the 1920s.

A weight for the scales - made by Crane of Wolverhampton

The weights were also part of the same set and belonged to the Welch family as well. This one is the 4 oz (ounce) weight and was made by the Crane company of Wolverhampton. There’s a wonderful web site about this company which can be found here.

Easterton Fête quiz (2)

September 1, 2010

Here’s the last page of the quiz sheet, which is based around the Easterton tea towel which we have in the museum, along with its original artwork.

Final page of the Easterton Quiz by Market Lavington Museum

A reminder to competitors, who paid for a quiz sheet at Easterton fete is that they must get their sheets delivered through the door of ‘The Homestead’, High Street Easterton by the end of Monday 6th September if they wish them to be marked.

We at the museum also look forward to hearing from all those people at Easterton Fête who offered information, photos and artefacts. Artefacts do not need to be old for we expect to keep examples of present day Market Lavington and Easterton for future generations to be able to make use of. So at Easterton Country Show (the name the fête was given) we were very pleased to take into our possession a Psalter published in 2009 with some of the composition by a local musician.

For anybody with items to donate, however small, the email address to contact is . Please remember that every item in our collection has a significant connection to the wider parish of Market Lavington, including Easterton and Fiddington.

Food Preservation Jars.

August 23, 2010

The idea of food preservation jars is simple. Prepare food by bringing it to a high enough temperature to kill off bacteria, get the food in the jar and make sure no air, containing bacteria, can get in. 

In the UK, one firm dominated the food preservation jar scene and that was Kilner. Now, all such jars tend to get called Kilner Jars, but in fact other companies made these jars as well. 

At Market Lavington Museum we have a variety of jars – all used in Market Lavington, of course, and also some spare rubber rings for older style Kilners which were bought at Lavington Hardware, in the 1970s, and then not used. You’ll find them on the kitchen table at the museum. 

Food preservation jars on the kitchen table at Market Lavington Museum


The jar on the left is a true Kilner and probably dates from the 1950s whereas the second jar is definitely a pre 1948 type. The large jar is badged as a Forster and not a Kilner Jar. However, it uses the same top and rubber ring as a pre-1948 Kilner. On the right we have a smaller and more recent Kilner Jar, which was probably bought new in the 1960s or 70s. This had a metal lid, rather than a glass lid with a separate rubber band. Its lid had a permanently attached rubber seal. Kilner’s idea was that a new lid was purchased and used each time the jar was refilled. 

During the 1970s it became normal to have a domestic freezer of some kind and the food preservation jar gradually faded out of use but there will be many people who recall using such items.