Friday, May 22, 2015

Rise and Shine: Mystery Artifact Revealed!

We had some really clever guesses for this week's mystery artifact!

The lidded pail can be clamped to the edge of a table for stability, and the handle attaches to a mixing hook on the interior (which is visible - but hard to see - in the photo below):

Readers' guesses included butter churn, ice cream maker, and popcorn stirrer - all good guesses as to this object's function!  However, Penny had the correct answer.  This object is an early bread machine.

Directions on the lid of the pail direct users to:
"Put in all liquids first, then flour.  Turn three minutes.  Rise in pail.  After raising, turn until dough forms a ball.  Take off crosspiece.  Lift out dough with kneader.  Cover with this [the lid] when raising."

After the dough had risen, the breadmaker would then divide the dough between loaf pans and bake the bread.

Our bread maker, Universal Bread Maker No. 4 - as you can see below, was awarded a gold medal at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition.  The text on the medallion also gives the makers' names (Landers, Frary, & Clark) and location in New Britain, Connecticut.

Patent information is also listed under a tab (which, sadly, has become frozen over time, making photography difficult)!

A bread machine similar to the one from our collection is listed in the 1922 edition of the Montgomery Ward Catalogue.  The advert describes the Majestic Bread Maker as the "easiest, quickest, and surest way of preparing perfect bread."

I do love their claim that the "work is done with scientific accuracy, thoroughly and evenly, producing bread that is firm, light, white and free from unbroken starch cells"!  I'm sure Alton Brown would be proud!

The museum will be switching to our summer hours (open 10am to 5pm) on Memorial Day so come on over to see our Universal Bread Maker No. 4 in person!

Thanks for guessing, faithful readers, and enjoy your holiday weekend!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mystery Artifact: Rise of the Machines

Greetings!  Please welcome back our Mystery Artifact feature, which we hope will return with weekly posts now that our large exhibits are complete!

Here is today's mystery object:

The object is bucket-like, with a clamp that allows it to be secured to a table- or bench-top.  It includes a lid with instructions (which are a dead giveaway, so I will not post them here!), a handle that fits through the lid, and an interior mechanism as seen below:

Here is an image of the object partially disassembled, but with the interior mechanism still in place:

What do you think this item was used for?  What could it be?  Please post your guesses in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

If you want a close-up look at the writing stamped on the lid, which gives a big clue to this artifact's use, please visit it at the Museum of the Grand Prairie.  Can't wait to hear your guesses!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Calling All (New) Gardeners!

There's still room in our Summer Camps for more campers! If you are looking for a way for your child to enjoy the outdoors while learning about gardening and where food comes from, look no further! We are introducing new Garden Camps this year for kids ranging from 2 years old to 12!  Whether your child has never planted a seed before or has a seasoned green thumb we guarantee these camps will continue your child's relationship with nature and gardening!