Swansea Historical Society
Butter Churns and Crisco Can
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Octagon Cleanser

Items in the Luther Store Museum


Here are some of the items located in our museum. We will be adding to the page every week, so check back to see more items.



Butter Churns and Crisco Can

Butter Churns and Crisco Container

Butter Churns
The earliest evidence of butter dates back to 2000 years B.C. It is not known who invented butter, but there is a theory that it was created by accident.
The butter churns that are on display at the Luther Store Museum are called Plunge Churns or Dash Churns. The stick is called a dasher or churn dash that is moved up and down in an upright container. The containers were usually made of wood or pottery. The stick might be perforated or a wooden circle or crossed boards could be attached to the bottom of the stick. This would help to beat the cream. Using a plunge churn or dash churn did take a considerably long time.
In the 18th century more complex kinds of churns that shortened the butter making time were developed. They became more popular in the 19th century.
Information from: Old and Interesting


Crisco 50 lb. container c. 1915
Crisco was put on the market in 1911 by Procter and Gamble.
In 1912, the first advertising came out in a popular woman’s magazine and emphasized the benefits of using an all-vegetable based shortening as compared to those shortenings made out of butter or animal fat.
In 1915, Procter and Gamble started selling 50 lb. drums to grocery stores so that the stores could sell the Crisco in smaller amounts to their clients.
In 1923, Procter and Gamble began advertising on the radio and started to promote to other ethnic groups. They also started selling cook books with Crisco as the star ingredient. Over the years, other variety of oils such as vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil and coconut oil were developed They also added butter flavor to their vegetable shortening.
Information from: Grocery.com




19th Century Eye Wear

In the 19th century, eye glasses were still handcrafted and not available to everyone. But, with the Industrial Revolution right around the corner, production of magnification glasses was underway.
The average farmer and working person could generally not afford prescription glasses. This prompted the invention of magnification glasses which could be purchased in your local general store. Here in Swansea, that was the Luther General Store.
There was a tray of different styles and magnification choices for someone to try on and purchase. These were similar to the reading glasses now available in Walgreens, CVS, etc.
The 19th century customer had a wide variety of corrective eyewear to choose from for problems with distance and reading. These were available without having to go to the opthalmologist. The average exam in the late 1800's would cost upwards of $100. In today's market, that would be over $2,000, out of pocket.
The Luther General Store had a moderate amount of styles and magnifications to choose from.



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Octagon Cleanser

Octagon Cleanser

Octagon cleanser and soap came to the shelves in the United States in the late 1800's/early 1900's, depending on your location.
This was an all-purpose cleaner whether in powder form or in a bar soap form. It was used as a daily body cleanser and cleaning agent.