What a great and exciting find that would be a wonderful addition to your pantry or Buttery! This hard to find hand forged butter pat dating from 1740 to 1800 sports a rat tail end and has a luscious dark surface attribute that is as “right as rain”! I paired this piece up with a small vintage crock in keeping to tradition while creating an important theme.
This butter pat was actually used to pack butter into containers that would have either been earthenware or at times one would use a wooden pail. Long ago, farm wives often bartered their butter at the general stores in small country towns or trading centers in exchange for merchandise needed at home. The more enterprising storekeepers would encourage these ladies whose products held superior quality, to use larger containers as packages for their product. Wooden pails holding five or ten pounds as well as earthenware crocks were the new substitution. Another interesting note regarding butter was the churning process that holds uncanny superstitions laced with enchanting folklore. Songs were thought of as a charm so the cream could be churned into butter, if the conditions were right and this song went to the rhythm of the work at hand.
One example is:
Come butter come, come butter come, cows in the pasture, churn a little faster, come butter come.
Another example could be:
Come butter come, come butter come, Granny stands at the gate, with a hot Johnny cake, come butter come.
In both Europe and North America metal objects - like needles, knives or horseshoes - were used to drive away evil influences which might prevent cream from turning to butter.
If you do not throw salt into the fire before you begin to churn, the butter will not come.
Lincolnshire Folk Lore
A hot iron put into the cream during the process of churning, expels the witch from the churn.
Lancashire Folk Lore (From mid-19th century Notes & Queries magazine)
“An old lady who was a native of Scotland later came to Prince Edward Island ... and said irritably, “I have been churning for nearly an hour and the butter won’t gather; I will have to get the poker.” The fairies are around again.”
... She told me that sometimes the fairies get into the churn, and it matters not how much you churn, the butter will not gather. The only remedy is to drive them out with a hot poker. ... [She] plunged it into the cream, and began to churn. To my surprise the butter soon began to gather, and so the old lady was quite confident she had driven the fairies from the churn.”
Red & White Magazine, 1937
I find folklore so interesting, don’t you? This butter pat is in very good condition and you can see from the images provided this piece was hand forged. There is a small area on the back (shown in image 6) that seems to have a white chalky residue. However the front of this pat is perfect. There are also inconsistencies on the outer edge that lends character in a big way! The rat tail end is delightful and something you expect to see in earlier pieces from the 18th century.
I fashioned a label using wool fabric from an old quilt and stitched up the word “Butter” that was attached to the crock using double sided tape and can be removed if you so choose. A piece of brushed flannel homespun acts as a cover and was drawn up with spun wool.
The crock is a neutral buttermilk color and is free of cracks and chips. There is a glaze pop as well as an extra piece of small, raised clay as shown in the front of the crock that adds character. The surface has tiny, raised, circular bumps present and sprinkled randomly throughout if you look carefully. The glaze lends a smooth and consistent surface and the inside of this crock has been glazed as well.
The bottom shows plenty of wear through the years of being shoved across the surface of wherever it had been placed on and was never glazed which is a typical potters feature. There is a tiny, round piece of raised clay in the center located on the bottom but does not interfere with the crocks ability to sit level.
This offering is very unusual and will blend in perfectly with your existing kitchen collections! If you have a butter churn you may even want to copy down the song and place it inside for future reference! Enjoy!
Forged butter pat stands 6” tall, measures almost 3” across the middle area (right to left) and measures ¾” across the rat tail end. Crock stands 5” tall, measures 5” across the top (right to left) and measures 4 5/8” across the bottom.
~Freight (Standard Mail) included, however Insurance is optional and can be purchased @ checkout ~ within the continental U.S.