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Dig Antiques - Real stuff without the fluff.

January 2011

Food Folk Culture: Butter Prints and Molds

Hand carved early prints (or stamps) and molds added a bit of artistry to an otherwise labor-intensive undertaking in making butter. For the wealthy, having a design on their butter brought a level of elegance and status to their table. But the primary use of butter prints and molds was for their commercial value - just as logos are today. Good quality butter was not easy to make and the design on the butter would symbolize the maker with “stamped” butter commanding higher prices in the market.

This definition is given by Paul E, Kindig in his informative book, Butter Prints and Molds:

..."butter prints consist only of a carved design, with or without a handle; the design is pressed against butter in a free-standing pat; Butter molds consist of a case, which measures and forms the correct amount of butter, and a plunger which carries the design and also pushes the butter out of the filled case."

The form progressed from hand-made prints (early ones often looked like a paddle with carvings), to hand carved molds, to craft-shop made and then finally to factory manufactured. The common thin-walled, round molds with separate plungers were possible after the advent of the lathe. Designs were varied but often included farm-related themes of animals (cows were very popular), flowers, grains, fruits and vegetables and the sun and stars. By the mid-1800s factories were producing stamps and molds to keep up with the growing dairy industry and the advent of creameries producing butter.

Butter prints and molds were a staple of the American and European farm. Today the best surviving examples are fun pieces of folk art.

Search for butter prints, molds and stamps here.

Here are a few interesting references on butter molds and prints:


Looking Back on 2010

We now have had almost two years of tracking searches on Dig Antiques. Each month we see very similar phrases in the top twenty - from bread boards, to baskets, stoneware, cupboards, chairs and weathervanes. We do love our paint - or at least we search for it a lot! All in all, we had over 100,000 searches on Dig Antiques in 2010.

We introduced the Shops at Dig Antiques last January. They have become a popular destination. Have you checked them out recently?

Lastly, we would really like to thank our sponsors. These are the businesses that have advertised on Dig Antiques through banner ads and more. Their support makes Dig Antiques possible. If you haven't checked them out, you can see a list of our current advertisers to the right. Please let them know you found them on Dig Antiques. If you are interested in advertising, find more information here.

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Search Showcase

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December 2010 Top Searches

Below is a summary of the twenty most popular search phrases last month.

1. bread board
2. stoneware crocks
3. painted bowl
4. painted basket
5. cupboard
6. copper horse weathervane
7. trade sign
8. painted cupboard
9. dry sink
10. pennsylvania frakur
11. painted pantry box
12. cobalt blue stoneware
13. childs painted chair
14. sugar chest
15. norton stoneware
16. whirligig
17. rope bed
18. decoy
19. blanket chest
20. early watercolor


Thank you to the following current advertisers for their support of Dig Antiques:

Ames Gallery
Baker & Co. Antiques
California Country Antique Show
Doodletown Farm
Fine Folk Art & Antiques
Folk Art Festival 2011
Home Farm Antiques
J. Compton Gallery
JD Wahl Antiques
Quail Country Antiques
Ryder Antiques
Stella Rubin Antique Quilts & Decorative Arts
West Branch Antiques

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