Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"To Lift and Separate"

by Connie Cortright

I've been doing revisions on Book 2 of my "Grace Alone" series. When I was reading through a chapter of "Lead Me Home", I decided on the topic of my blog this week. Below is the part I was reading. Roman Halverson (Romy) is the hero in my story that takes place in 1935. The other two people mentioned are his brothers: 
Romy entered the milk house. Ted cranked the handle of the separator while Jim poured in a fresh pail of milk. The foamy liquid threatened to overflow the bowl of the machine as the bucket emptied. The spinning motion of the milk caused the thicker cream to pour down one spout while the skim milk came out the other spout. The cream was collected into the five-gallon can and stored in the water tank to keep it cold until the milkman came on Thursday.  At the creamery, the thick pale yellow fluid would be made into butter, a commodity still in demand despite the Depression. Romy knew having high quality cream was important, because Pa had to get top dollar. The survival of the farm depended on it.
I decided that most people probably won't know what is happening from reading the text, so I decided to explain it in this post. Romy and his brothers have finished milking the cows on their father's farm. This section explains the process of what happened to the milk to prepare it for sale. 

By 1935, Carl Gustaf de Laval had invented his cream separator which Romy is using, as did all dairy farmers who wanted to sell their cream at the market. Cream brought in more money than selling milk at that time because cream was made into butter which every household needed. 

The Laval Separator used a crank arm to spin the milk in the large upper container. The centrifugal force caused the lighter cream to flow upward and pour out of the higher spigot. The skim milk flowed to the lower spigot and was collected in a container from the lower outlet. Check out the You Tube video for a good demonstration.

Cream separators made life so much easier for farmers. Farmers could purchase separators that would process from 250 to 500 pounds of milk per hour depending on the size of the farm. Of course, the larger ones added motors to do the spinning of the milk. 

Oftentimes, the skim milk would be fed to the animals thinking that skim milk wasn't worth anything. Now skim milk is a best seller in stores. 

If your grandparents grew up on a farm, they'd probably have first hand experience to share with you about milk separators. Go ahead and ask them about it sometime. 

Information taken from How It Works: Cream Separator

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