Threshers hope antique cider press will be ready for 2021
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
After years of anticipation, the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association has made significant progress on its antique cider press with plans to unveil it next year.
With no reunion this year, volunteers have had some time on their hands and have pulled together to make the cider press a priority. Large wooden pillars are now in place in the association’s Memorial Building to hold up the large structure with more work still to be done.
Brad Foxton and Brad McBride have taken the lead on the project and they led a team of volunteers who worked on installing the press and getting it fully operational earlier this week.
The press was first donated to the association over a decade ago, coming to Blyth by way of Ingersoll. The association took possession of the cider press before the Memorial Building was constructed, but once the new building was added, many volunteers felt it would be the perfect location for the artifact.
Edgar Daer, a long-time member of the association and a past-president, was involved with the donation when it was first made. He said the concept of bringing an antique cider press into the fold with the association fell perfectly in line with the work being done every year at the log cabin during the reunion.
It’s one more educational tool for the association, he said, whether it be with the students on elementary student activity day or adults who have never seen an antique cider press at work.
Cider presses were common decades ago, Daer says, and every farm had one and would make its own cider in the days before it had to be pasteurized.
Daer said the cider press will be another way to educate children in the way the Threshers encourage: hands-on education.
With a complicated job ahead, however, and the interruption due to 2017’s International Plowing Match in Walton, the assembly and erection of the artifact took a while to make some progress. Those working on it now still have some ground to cover, but their hope is that it will be ready and operational for the 60th anniversary reunion, scheduled for 2021.
Much of the recent progress has been thanks to Foxton and McBride stepping up and taking charge with the cider press in recent months.
In an interview with The Citizen, Foxton said late last year that he volunteered to take on the job. He said he wasn’t overly qualified to restore the cider press, but that he’s always been interested in breathing new life into antique artifacts and he felt it would be a shame if it sat in storage much longer.
Foxton and McBride began working and, with the help of Henry Hendriks, who had taken the press apart and worked to put it back together again, visible progress was being made.
After this week’s period of work on the press, Foxton said it should get the association one step closer to having the press operational for next year’s reunion. He said he took vacation time from work for the reunion, as do many other members, so with the reunion not moving ahead, a lot of volunteers had time on their hands, so they were willing to help.
Look for the restored, operational cider press in the Memorial Building next year at the 60th anniversary reunion.