Curious Observations: A Dog-Operated Butter Churn

April 10 1942


Sir – As an example of interesting things there may be mentioned a dog-operated butter churn, of which an illustration is enclosed. How long it may be since such a contrivance was used anywhere in England, I do now know, but many comparable churns were used in North America less than 50 years ago and a few are still working on remote Welsh hill farms.

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I have also seen in a museum a dog treadwheel of the drum type, such as was used for turning a spit before an open fire. It may be pertinent to recall that Rowlandson’s well-known sketch showing just such a wheel in use was made in South Wales. It was published in 1800. When dogs were last employed in kitchens for such a purpose I do not know, but there is a record (unchecked) of Queen Victoria’s having owned turnspit dogs in the 1840s, and other evidence also suggests that a few of these dogwheels were still used less than 100 years ago – COUNTRYMAN’

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