Utensils of yesteryear a trip down memory lane for some
Ryan Summerlin May 8, 2014
SILT — Computer products may quickly come and go, but a good, old-fashioned, kitchen appliance can last for a very long time.
That was the message given by Mindy Langston, owner of Out West Antiques in Carbondale, in a free presentation held at the Silt Historical Park on a recent Saturday afternoon.
Langston demonstrated a number off old-time gadgets and utensils used a few generations ago, explaining what they did and how they worked.
“I have a store, and I love to share my findings with other people up and down the valley,” Langston said. “There are four different dealers, but my specialty is kitchen gadgets.”
Langston held up a cream separator and pointed to the bottom of the gadget.
“If it has a ZIP code on it, it was made after 1962,” she informed the audience. “That’s when we started using ZIP codes, and you should know that to make sure things are authentic.”
One attendee, Carole Cooke, whose family had a ranch in Gunnison, remembers making their own milk and cream and using a butter press.
“I love cooking and I love kitchen stuff,” Cooke said. “I’m still using a lot of these things.”
Langston gave tips on refurbishing the old gadgets, like suggesting the best way to clean rust off an old kitchen utensil is to use an organic enzyme remover.
She demonstrated old-fashioned meat clippers, an old fork used in cow camps, a toaster and a basket on the end of a long stick that was believed to be used for making popcorn.
But not all the old-timers in the group agreed.
“That’s too shallow to pop popcorn,” one woman pointed out. “I’ll bet it was used to roast chestnuts.”
Langston then picked up a wooden apparatus that turned on one end and had a rotating paddle on the other. It was an old wash agitator.
“Ladies, can you imagine using this all day?” Langston asked with a laugh.
A groan echoed throughout the room when she held up the next item — a heavy, metal steam iron with a thick wooden handle.
“This is a ‘sad iron,’” Langston said. “Does anyone know why it was called that?”
“Because [ironing] was an all-day affair and once you got started, you didn’t stop and it made you sad,” a voice piped up.
Other items included a cobalt blue coffee pot, cheese graters, handmade wooden bowls, a chocolate maker, egg beaters, a butter press, a drying rack for tea towels and an orange juice squeezer.
“My dad used to have a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice every day,” one woman said, immediately recognizing the juicer.
Langston said that her mother had gotten her started in collecting kitchen appliances and she and her husband also collected old tools.
When asked what she looked for when purchasing antique kitchen gadgets and utensils for her store, Langston had a simple answer.
“I just buy things that I like,” she said with a shrug. “I don’t look at the value. Is it unusual? Is it different? Can I re-purpose it for something else? Everything is so quick and easy nowadays. I don’t buy it for resale, I buy what I like.”
To see more antique kitchen gadgets and utensils, visit Langston’s store, Out West Antiques, 449 Main St., in Carbondale.