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My U.I.O.

June 12, 2012


Trolling Riverside’s antique stores can be a frustrating exercise in sameness: too many things that look like one another; too many things from the same time period; too many things that would appeal to someone’s mom (or grandma). So, to come across one that consistently has that thing I’ve never seen before is a real prize … Well, I’ve found such a store, but must make the embarrassing admission that I’ve never learned its name; it’s one of several antique concerns clustered just-off Magnolia Ave., across the street from a supermarket and facing a Goodwill. Out front, its sidewalk is often jam-packed with interesting items; inside, it’s a collection of booths like an antique mall; it’s narrow aisles tight, especially when crowded with weekend shoppers. I don’t mind the crowds, though, and will squeeze past them to make my way to the backroom and the garden area. Actually a garage at the rear of the cinder block building, it is literally stacked to the rafters with stuff — lots of it OOAK. It was in this back room that I found the amazing machine above. Being used currently as a display for, among other things, a polished pebble planter, a beautifully burnished strawberry pot, some specimen stones, and three folk art pieces by a Long Beach artist, I’m sure its original purpose was something very different … but what could it have been?


First, there’s that big shapely crank. Then, on top, what appears to be something that would’ve held a spool of some kind. Next to the large covered gear, there’s another possible spool holder. Midway, bolted to a wide flange, two round — seats, maybe? — swivel independently. The entire piece is steel and quite heavy and is supported by four stocky little legs that were probably bolted to a factory floor. I fell instantly in love with its rusty, distressed look, and, since the price was right, brought it home. I should mention that this piece is not OOAK; another just like it was due to arrive later Sunday afternoon. Anyone have an idea what this machine’s original purpose was? I’ve tried sitting on the swiveling circles but they’re not entirely sturdy or comfortable … and the crank no longer turns, so I can’t get a feel for how that worked, either … I thought interacting with it might trigger some idea of its function.

. . . . . . . . .

The name of the store? I’ll find out and post it here; I do feel bad not knowing it. After all one of you might want to go there to get a matching Unidentified Industrial Object of your own.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2012 5:48 am

    I’ve gotten some cool stuff there too. And I don’t know the name either; did at one time, but have since forgotten! Getting old is not for sissies! Perhaps your machine is some sort of hand-cranked drill press or ice cream maker?!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      June 12, 2012 5:51 am

      You get ‘the forgets’, too, Kim? Thought it was just me. Ice cream maker? Hmmmmmm? …

  2. Steve permalink
    June 17, 2012 8:42 pm

    looks a little like a cream separator used for skimming the cream off of fresh milk

    • reubix1 permalink*
      June 17, 2012 8:54 pm

      Wow … thanks, Steve. I’ll see if I can find pics to support that idea … I can already see two buckets sitting on the round swivel pads …

      • Ally permalink
        June 18, 2012 9:11 pm

        It is definitely a cream seperator. I would know it anywhere, we used them everyday when we use to milk cows and ship cream. You are missing a few pieces but you are lucky yours still has a handle.

      • reubix1 permalink*
        June 18, 2012 9:13 pm

        Thanks, Ally, you and Steve are correct … I haven’t posted pics of others, but I tracked some down that’re similar enough to know how it was used. Thanks for commenting!

  3. July 9, 2012 4:14 pm

    Why would you have to crank cream??? At first glance I thought a sausage maker or some sort of meat grinder. I don’t get the wood rests…

    • reubix1 permalink*
      July 9, 2012 6:22 pm

      Well, I’m not sure about the actual mechanics of it, but I found other sites with pictures showing them … I can only assume buckets resting on the circles for holding the freshly skimmed cream … anyway it’s cool, although soooooooo heavy!

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