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Bent Wood Churn

Price: "SOLD"
Primative Bent Wood Churn MADE BY M BROWN & CO WAPAKONETA, OHIO. Patient date August 7, 1877. We bought this in Kansas in 1981 from a picker who got it at a farm sale that same year, as is, we have not done any restoration, and one paddle inside is missing

This is a Bent Wood Churn made by the M. Brown & Company of Wapakoneta, Ohio.  This butter churn was patented on August 7, 1877 by Michael Brown, Francis McFarland and Joseph Brown also from Wapakoneta.  The patent was for a new way of forming the churn box from only three pieces of wood, the two ends and a center section of wood bent into the shape of a U.  The patent also covered a new packing that prevented leaks and metal corner braces that held the churns shape.  The paddles shown in this patent however were not the ones commonly found on the churns.  A second patent was granted to these same three men on June 13, 1882.  This patent showed the four half circle paddles that were commonly found on these butter churns.  These paddles were designed to pull the cream off the end walls of the churn and throw it towards the center of the churn box.  This second patent also detailed using metal to from the U shaped portion of the churn instead of wood, however we have never seen this on one of these butter churns.  The legs on each end of the churn were also made from a single piece of wood bent in an upside down U shape.

Not all of these churns were stenciled with a patent date but some will have the 1877 patent date and a few will be stenciled with the 1877 and 1882 patent dates.  These butter churns came in 3, 4, 6, 9 and 12 gallon sizes.  These sizes would have been the actual capacities of cream, the volume of the churn would have been larger.  The three gallon was called a No.3, the four gallon was a No. 2, the six gallon was a No. 1, the nine gallon was a No. 0 and the twelve gallon was a No, 00.  An 1893 invoice listed the price of a 4 gallon churn at 4 dollars and a 6 gallon churn, like the one pictured here, at $4.50.  A 1915 Simmons Hardware Company catalog listed the price of a 4 gallon churn at $11.50, a 6 gallon at $12.50, a 9 gallon at $13.50 and the 12 gallon churn at $14.50.  

The M. Brown & Company was established in 1877 when the patent was granted for the Bent Wood Churn.  All the men granted the patent were officers in the company.  Michael Brown was president, Francis McFarland was vice president and Joseph Brown was treasurer,  In 1903, M. Brown & Company produced 10,000 of these churns and had customers all over the United States as well as in South Africa, Germany and Russia.  The factory had a workforce of 30 men at that time.  The company was in business until 1912 when a fire destroyed their lumber yard.
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