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Frontier Times Museum Lore and Legends

By Rebecca Huffstutler Norton

Did you know raisins have seeds? The Frontier Times Museum has a machine designed to remove those pesky little seeds. With the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s, household work for women began to change with the invention and manufacture of new household and kitchen gadgets. Foundries began making freestanding iron stoves and cooking tools to be used in hearths over an open fire such as coffee roasters and even waffle irons. Well-equipped kitchens began to include large worktables, china cabinets, pie safes (wooden chests to store pies, bake goods and other food), and even ice chests after the 1860s.
A variety of kitchen gadgets began showing up in local stores or were offered in catalogues sent directly to homes by Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Wards — the Amazons of yesteryear. Cast iron apple peelers, cherry pitters, lemon squeezers, sausage stuffers and even gadgets to seed raisins were designed to make kitchen work more efficient. Women began referring to these gadgets as “servants,” and eventually they contributed to fewer human servants being employed at wealthier homes.
So why do we not have to worry about seeding raisins that we buy today? Homemade raisins were a means of preserving the fruit and made by simply drying wild and homegrown grapes. Therefore, raisins did have seeds that needed to be extracted. Today, the raisins we buy from our local grocery store are made from seedless grapes.
To see an amazing raisin seeder and other early kitchen gadgets, including an iron powered by gasoline, visit the Frontier Times Museum at 510 13th St., in Bandera.