Local News

August 14, 2013

Nelson Pioneer Farm artifact

Do you know what this is?


This past week's artifact from the Nelson Pioneer Farm was an EZY raisin seeder.

No one via Facebook or email took a stab at identifying the artifact.

Nelson Pioneer Farm Curator Kelly Halbert did some research on the artifact: “The EZY raisin seeder was patented in 1895. Before the era of the Thompson Seedless, you literally had to squeeze raisins were sold with the seeds still in them. The home cook could spend hours digging seeds out of this sweet treat.

The simplest seeders were just a handle with wires across the bottom. The raisin was placed on the work surface; the seeder forced the flesh down and the seeds up. Seeders became studier, larger and fancier, as inventors promised faster and easier seeding methods.

The EZY raisin seeder on display in the Nelson Pioneer Museum is one of the most dainty and fragile of designs, however it is missing a rubber cup that held a single raisin. To use, the tool was clamped to the table, a raisin placed in the rubber cup and the handle pushed down. The wire “fingers” pressed the seeds out and left the flesh behind. One side of the handle gives the patent information while the other side reminds the cook to “SCALD THE RAISINS.” This prevented them from sticking to the wires or the pressing surface.

This useful tool was set aside when seedless grapes and seedless raisins became more common. Raisin seeders were sold into the 1920s.”

The Oskaloosa Herald and the Nelson Pioneer Farm are teaming up to test your knowledge of historical artifacts.

The Nelson Pioneer Farm has about 15,000 artifacts in its collection spanning in age from the 1840s to the present.

The Herald will take a picture of an artifact and publish it in the Herald section of the Oskaloosa Shopper, The Oskaloosa Herald an the Herald's Web site, www.oskaloosa.com. People can make a guess on what they think the object could be.

People can either email their guess to oskynews@oskyherald.com or mail their guess to The Oskaloosa Herald, P.O. Box 530, Oskaloosa, IA 52577. You can vote from Wednesday through Saturday.

The identity of the artifact and the vote breakdown will be announced in each Wednesday's Herald Shopper along with the week's new artifact.

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com


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