Fort Vancouver
Historic Furnishings Report: Bakery
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Bakery Layout

Nineteenth century manuals on baking often contained advice on the physical arrangement of bakeries. As was the case with ovens, however, these treatises rather generally devoted more space to saying what ought to be done than to describing current practices. Nevertheless, there is a considerable amount of useful information in such essays, and the essence of several of them is given below in order of date:

1. 1805. Chapter IX of A. Edlin's A Treatise on the Art of Bread-Making, published in London in 1805, is concerned with the structure of a bakehouse. The pertinent sections of his remarks are as follows:

A bakehouse is a manufactory where bread is made for the purposes of sale. In order to render it convenient, it should be attached to the dwelling house, and have an inner door opening into the kitchen, and likewise an outer door to open into a small yard. In this yard there ought to be a well or pump, as also a shed for the piling of faggots. The room should be large and commodious, and the floor laid with stone or tiles. On one side should be erected a dresser or counter, with suitable shelves above it; on another side a kneading trough, about seven feet long, three feet high, two feet and a half broad at top, and sixteen inches at bottom, with a sluice board to pen the dough up at one end, and a lid to shut down like that of a box. On the third side a copper that will contain from three to four pails of water should be erected, which is far preferable to the filthy custom of heating the water in the oven; and on the fourth side the oven should be placed. A bakehouse built upon this plan will, perhaps, be as commodious as art can render it; but, of late years, an alteration has been made in the manner of fitting up the oven and copper, that both may be heated with the same fire . . . .

In order to comprehend the usefulness of this improvement, it will be necessary to state that an oven, built upon the old principle, is usually of an oval shape; the sides and bottom of brick, tiles, and lime, and arched over at top with a door in front; and, at the upper part, an enclosed closet with an iron grating, for the tins to stand on, called the proving oven . . .; many intelligent bakers have, within these few years past, had their ovens built upon a solid base of brick and lime, with a door of iron furnished with a damper to carry off the steam as it rises. On one side of it is placed a fire-place with a grating, ash-hole, and iron door, similar to that under a copper, with a partition to separate it from the oven, and open at the end. Over this is erected a middling-sized copper with a cock at the bottom . . . 1]

2. 1854. Charles Tomlinson's Encyclopaedia of Useful Arts, issued in London and New York in 1854, drew heavily upon Edlin for its essay on "Bread." The extent of the borrowing is evident from the following paragraph on bakery arrangement:

The bake-house ought to be a large room, with a dresser on one side, with suitable shelves above it. On another side is the kneading-trough, which is about 7 feet long, 3 feet high, 2-1/2 feet broad at the top, and 19 inches at the bottom, with a sluice-board, to pen up the dough at one end, and a lid to shut down. The third side contains a copper, capable of holding 3 or 4 buckets of water. The oven occupies the fourth side: this may be 3 or 4 feet high, with an arched roof, and a brick or stone floor, furnished with a door to shut close. The fire-place is usually at one side, and the heat is communicated by winding the flue around the oven. A portion of the fire is also used for heating the copper. The proper temperature of the oven for baking is about 450°: the bakers, however, do not use a thermometer, but judge of the heat by throwing flour on the floor; if it soon blackens, without taking fire, the heat is judged sufficient. [2]

Figure 10. An early 19th century bakery of the type described by Edlin. The shelves take the place of Edlin's "dresser." (From Panschar, Baking in America, I, facing p. 32.)

two-oven bakehouse
Figure 11. A two-oven bakehouse in 1842. The circular stone or brick structure on the left evidently is the fireplace for heating the "copper" or "cauldron." Note the position of the table between the two ovens and the ceiling racks for the peels. (From Panschar, Baking in America, I, facing p. 32.)

3. 1870's-1880's. Studies compiled by National Park Service historians and architects for restoration of the bake ovens at Fort Laramie National Historic Site present plans of the bakeries at a number of frontier U. S. Army posts. Although for several reasons these plans do not seem applicable in detail to the Fort Vancouver reconstruction, there was one common general element which may have a bearing on the Vancouver problem. After analyzing these plans, the Park Service investigators concluded that a sleeping compartment in the bakery was considered necessary by the army in order to permit a man to be on duty at all hours, since the ovens were not allowed to cool down. [3]

English bakehouse
Figure 12. An English bakehouse about 1854. Note temporary table for baked loaves on the left. The counter scale for "scaling off" sits on a table to the right. (From Tomlinson, Cyclopaedia of Useful Arts, I, 181.)

scaling off
Figure 13. "Scaling off" in an English bakery, c. 1854. The dough removed from the kneading trough sits on the table at the extreme right. The man on the right is cutting the dough into loaf-size pieces which are being weighed by the man on the left. Note shape of bucket under table. Peels are stored on overhead racks. (From Tomlinson, op. cit., I, 181.)

4. 1911. On the whole, the extremely detailed The Technology of Bread-Making, by William Jago and William C. Jago, published originally in England about 1911, describes bakeries so advanced in design over those of the mid-19th century that little material contained in it is applicable to the present study. But even at that late date it was considered worthwhile to provide plans for "peel ovens." Although these ovens were much changed from the front-fired ovens of the previous century, they did retain essentially the same shape and dimensions.

Therefore, if such late improvements as side or rear stoke-holes and water closets are ignored, the basic dimensions and layouts of small bakeries appear not to have changed significantly by 1911. As will be seen by the two plans presented in Figure 14, the positions for the dough troughs and tables recommended by the Jagos are not materially different from those shown in Figure 11 depicting an 1842 bakehouse. The kneading trough is placed in a warm spot near the oven to give the dough the correct temperature, and the moulding table is conveniently nearby. Flour is stored on the second floor. [4] Apparently these plans have some utility for planning the Fort Vancouver bakery.

Bakery equipment — typical inventories

The inventories of the Fort Vancouver "Bake House" presented in Chapter I of this report provide the only available direct information concerning the bakery equipment and, possibly, other furnishings in the 1844 structure. As has been seen, however, these lists could not possibly be complete. The process of baking either bread or biscuit required more items than are found on even the most detailed of the extant inventories. It is necessary, therefore, to turn to comparative sources in an effort to determine what articles were ordinarily considered necessary to the operation of the typical small commercial bakery of the period.

Figure 14. Plans of small peel-oven English bakehouses, 1911. Note that the dimensions of the ovens have not changed since the early 1800's, though the method of firing is radically different. (From Jago and Jago, The Technology of Bread-Making, 598.)

Such comparative lists are difficult to find, but several are given below in chronological order. The listed items are defined and described in the next section of this chapter.

Edlin's A Treatise on the Art of Bread-Making, published in 1805, gives a "detail of the utensils in use in a bakehouse," stating that "the following are the most usual and indispensible requisites":

The seasoning tub
The seasoning sieve
The warming pot
The brass-wire sieve
The pail
The bowl
The spade
The salt bin
The yeast tub
The dough knife
Scales and weights
The scraper
The rooker
The hoe
The swabber
Peeles [sic]
The rasp [5]

Charles Tomlinson's Cyclopaedia of Useful Arts, published in 1854, states, "The utensils of the bakehouse consist of":

The seasoning-tub
The seasoning-sieve
Wire sieves
A bucket
A bowl
A spade or shovel
A salt-bin
A yeast-tub
A dough-knife
Scales and weights
A scraper
Four or five peels
Tins, or iron plates
Coarse thick flannels
A rasp
The scuttle [sic] or swabber
The rooker
A hoe [6]

The manual, Bread and Bread Making, issued for the guidance of U. S. Army subsistence officers in 1864, gave the following list of utensils "required for the bakery proper":

One OvenTwo Ovens
Scrub brushes12
Wood saws11
Counter brushes11
80 galls. cauldrons11

The same source listed the following utensils "required for yeast room":

One OvenTwo Ovens
80 galls. cauldrons22
Yeast tubs12
Scrub brushes22
Stock yeast barrels11
Ferment brushes36 [7]

A revised edition of these army specifications prepared by Major George Bell and published in 1882 called, in general, for the same list of utensils. But there were several interesting additions:

Flannels: for covering bread before baking
Paint brushes: large, soft hair, for greasing pans
Shelves: for storing bread when removed from oven. [8]

As has been seen, thermometers would never have been used in a small bakery of the 1840's. Even as late as the early twentieth century "there was no question of thermometers" in English country bakeries. [9] But it is difficult to see how "flannels" could have been omitted from the army's 1864 list; they were an essential feature of the baking process.

Bakery equipment — function and description

As far as information is available, this section describes the uses and appearance of the principal items in the lists given immediately above and in the Fort Vancouver bakehouse inventories. Articles concerning which no information is available or those so well known today as to require no explanation are not listed. Items are listed in alphabetical order. Those marked with an asterisk (*) are included in the Fort Vancouver bakehouse inventories and thus were surely present in the structure.

*Axe. The Fort Vancouver bakehouse inventory of 1844 lists one "round head Axe," while that of 1848 records two "large square headed Axes" (see pp. 19-20 above). The Company's fur trade imported from England a large number of axes each year for use at its many posts. They were of several types and sizes. Round-headed axes, for instance, came in large, half, and small sizes. Square-headed axes were "large wedged," half, or small. [10] The firm also manufactured many axes at its depots in America, particularly the trade axes used in its traffic with the Indians. The Fort Vancouver blacksmith shop regularly turned out such axes, as archeological evidence clearly demonstrates. [11]

Whether imported or country-made, the axes used by the Hudson's Bay Company had distinctive shapes. As Mr. Louis R. Caywood has stated, they could "never be mistaken for any other type of axe of the same period." [12] In refurnishing the bakery, therefore, it will be important to obtain original H.B.C. axe heads or accurate reproductions.

A typical H.B.C. square-headed axe is well illustrated in Plate VII. Museum collections in the Pacific Northwest and Canada contain good examples. Fort Vancouver National Historic Site possesses several recovered during archeological excavations. A splendid specimen is on display at Fort Columbia State Historical Park, near the mouth of the Columbia River in Washington. Another is at the Oregon Historical Society. Three Company axes are exhibited in the British Columbia Provincial Museum in Victoria.

*Biscuit stamp. The Fort Vancouver bakehouse inventories for the years 1844 to 1848 list from one to four biscuit stamps, the number varying almost yearly. Despite a considerable correspondence with biscuit manufacturers and museums in both America and Britain, the present writer has thus far been unable to obtain specifications, pictures, or even a good description of the single, hand-operated stamps such as must have been used to turn out sea biscuit or hard-tack at Fort Vancouver.

It is known that as early as the 1830's the victualling yards preparing hard bread for the Royal Navy employed mechanical stamps which at one stroke cut out 24 whole hexagonal biscuits with "a due complement of halves," punched the air holes, and impressed each biscuit with "the broad arrow of Her Most Gracious Majesty." [13] Whether the Hudson's Bay Company placed any initials or other identifying marks upon its biscuits is not apparent, but surely the air holes were punched either by the stamp or, as in France, separately by the "point of an iron [rod?]". [14]

The varying numbers of stamps in the inventories would seem to indicate that at Fort Vancouver during the 1840's the old hand-operated stamps, which impressed one (or perhaps two) biscuits at a time, were still the only ones employed. And almost surely these produced round biscuits of the type which were standard with the Royal Navy until the introduction of the mechanical stamp.

Plate VIII is a photograph of several nineteenth century biscuit stamps now in the Museum at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England. Unfortunately, none is for sea biscuit, and none seems to have sharp points for punching air holes. Apparently their sole purpose was to impress a design upon the dough. The picture may be of some use, however, in giving a general concept of the appearance of the ancient type of biscuit stamp. For more information on stamps for sea biscuits, see Appendix.

*Blanket. The inventory of 1844 lists three "pln [plain] Blankets 2-1/2 pts [points]," and that of 1848 includes five "plain Blankets 3 points." The use of these articles in the bakery is not clear. It is possible that they served as a substitute for the flannel which was usually employed in baking loaf bread. Yet five blankets would seem an excessive number for this purpose, and H.B.C. point blankets were heavy affairs. Perhaps they were kept on hand for the use of the baker or bakers who may have been quartered permanently or temporarily in the bakehouse, but the post records do not contain any other indication that blankets were issued to laborers. Such employees evidently provided their own bedding as a rule. In any case, it is indisputable that the bakery contained blankets.

A Hudson's Bay "point" blanket of the type used in the nineteenth century defies description. The fine blanket sold by the firm today is similar in appearance and quality, but present-day tastes call for a somewhat more refined product. Only a comparison of actual specimens will reveal the differences. Nineteenth century Hudson's Bay "point" blankets may be seen in several Canadian museums, notably the British Columbia Provincial Museum in Victoria. The blankets on display in the restored trade shops at Fort Langley and Lower Fort Garry were purchased by the Canadian National Historic Parks and Sites Branch from Charles Early & Marriott (Witney) Ltd. of England, which has been making blankets for the H.B.C. for generations; but even these blankets are not as tightly woven as those made in the 1800's.

The principal specifications for the two types of blankets mentioned in the Fort Vancouver "Bake House" inventories were probably the same as those noted by Clerk Edward Ermatinger in a hasty memorandum of 1826:

Averge wt & measure of Blkts imported 1826 --
12 Blkts — 2-1/2 pts averaged ea. 5 ft. 6-3/4 in.
length — 4.4-2/3 breadth — 6-1/4 lb Tariff 7-1/2 lbs.

6 Blkts 3 pts. av. f. 6. 3 in. length — 4.11-1/2 bdth
wt. 8-1/4 lb Tariff 8-1/2 lbs. [15]

Brass-wire sieve. See "sieve."

Broom. Although not listed in the inventories of the period, there undoubtedly was at least one broom in the bakehouse. The brooms at Fort Vancouver, in 1836 at least, were described by Narcissa Whitman as being made of "balsam" boughs. [16]

*Bucket. The Fort Vancouver inventories list from one to six buckets or water buckets as being among the bakery furnishings between 1844 and 1848, the number varying with the year. No descriptions of Company buckets are available, but U. S. Army specifications in 1864 called for bakery buckets to be "Ordinary wooden, not painted." [17] The types of buckets used in British bakeries of the period apparently are illustrated in Figures 6 and 13.

*Candlestick. One candlestick or one "tin Candlestick" appears in all the extant inventories of the Fort Vancouver bakery from 1844 to 1848. It is well known that the Company was not lavish with candles, but it does not appear that night-time baking operations could have been conducted by the light of a single candle. As shall be discussed later, it is probable that there were additional lighting fixtures. The single candlestick may have been used in the garret. In any case, it may be assumed that the candlestick was of the simplest design available, probably similar to those shown in Figure 15.

Canadian tin candlesticks
Figure 15. Canadian tin candlesticks, 1763-1830. (From C. W. Jefferys, The Picture Gallery of Canadian History [3 vols., Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1942-1950], II, 204-205.)

Cauldron. A cauldron was a large vessel holding, for an ordinary bakery, up to l20 gallons. They were placed over a fire and used to heat water. According to U. S. Army baking manuals, "the best Cauldrons which can be used are those holding 80 or 90 gallons, or more. By purchasing the bowl without the furnace and stand, and having it cased in brick work, it will be more economical in fuel, and more advantageous in other respects." Cauldrons, especially in the latter part of the nineteenth century, were often built into the ovens. Sometimes they were placed on separate brick "furnaces." [18] If one of these large cauldrons had been employed in the Fort Vancouver bakery it undoubtedly would have been listed in the inventories.

Counter brush. This article is not described in any of the sources available, but Figure 10 seems to picture one in an English bakery of the early nineteenth century. It can be discerned leaning against a leg of the moulding table.

Dipper. Though not mentioned in the bakehouse inventories, a dipper would have been a very useful utensil for a process requiring the transfer of various quantities of warm water from one container to another. According to Major Bell's 1882 manual for U. S. Army bakers, the specified dipper was "Large, of block tin, holding about two quarts, with handle about 2 feet long." [19]

*Dough knife (dough cutter). The dough knife, evidently synonymous with the "dough cutters" of the bakehouse inventories, was, according to Edlin's 1805 Treatise, "usually of the size of a large carver, with a round point and blunt, like a painter's pallet knife. Its use is to cut the dough, when the baker is kneading it, before he throws it over the sluice board. It is also used, when the bread is weighed, to divide the different portions before they are put on the scale." [20]

Flannel. According to Edlin, "flannels" were "squares of coarse flannel . . . used for covering up the bread and rolls, after they are taken out of the oven." [21] Flannels were also used for covering the dough while it was fermenting. [22] While flannel does not appear in the Fort Vancouver bakery inventories, possibly one or more of the other fabrics which are included served the same purposes.

*Hammer. A hammer is listed in the 1848 bakehouse inventory. During archeological excavations at Fort Vancouver several "handmade" claw hammers dating from the Hudson's Bay Company period were recovered. [23] One of these, or a replica, might well serve in the refurnishing of the reconstructed bakery.

Hatchet. See "axe."

Hoe. According to Edlin's 1805 Treatise, the hoe as employed in bakeries was "a piece of iron, similar to a garden hoe, fixed in a handle, partly wood and partly iron." It was used "to scrape up such ashes and loose dust as escaped the rooker." [24]

*Kettle. The bakehouse inventories of 1844-1848 all list either one or two tin kettles, usually with the added note that they had a capacity of "8 gns." Since the pots or tin pots listed in the inventories seem to have been of smaller capacity, ranging in those for which sizes are given from one pint to three quarts, it seems quite probable that the large 8-gallon kettles at Fort Vancouver served the same purpose as the cauldrons or warming pots generally found in typical bakeries of the period. Edlin described the warming pot as follows:

This is a large copper pot, lined with tin, capable of holding two pails full of water. It is filled and set in the oven to warm, before the baker sets his sponge. These pots are not in universal use, as some people use earthen ones; but this mode of warming the water, however objectionable, is daily practiced by the most respectable bakers in the Metropolis [London]. [25]

Marks. Marks were employed in England in conformity to an act of Parliament requiring every loaf to be stamped to indicate whether it was "wheaten, household, standard wheaten, or mixed bread." The marks were four large tin letters, W, H, SW, and M, fixed in wooden handles, which were pressed into the dough before it was put into the oven. [26] It may safely be assumed that marks were not used on the loaf bread made at Fort Vancouver.

*Pan. The bakery inventories for 1846 and 1848 list "2 Tin Pans." The nature of these pans is not evident, but because of their number it seems most probable that they were not the same as the "pans" or "bread pans" employed in such large numbers by U. S. Army bakeries in the latter part of the nineteenth century. In fact it is likely that bread was not baked in pans at all at Fort Vancouver. The so-called "cottage loaves," the type commonly made in English bakeries before the introduction of mass baking methods, were simply shaped by hand and placed directly on the hot floor of the oven without tins. Even beyond the end of the century these cottage loaves "were considered the sweetest bread of all." [27]

For what it is worth, however, the U. S. Army "15 ration" bread pan of 1864 was 17 inches wide, 22 inches long, and 3 inches deep." [28]

Peel. The peel has been defined as "a sort of shovel, with a long handle, used to set the bread in the oven, and also to take it out." [29] Ordinarily peels were made from a single piece of wood, but those used for handling tins and pans generally had iron blades, as often did those employed in making biscuits. And, as shall be seen below, the wooden blades of some peels were separate pieces which were fastened to the poles by various means. Occasionally peels were made entirely of wrought iron. [30] The blades, whether of wood or iron, were flat and as thin as practicable.

Edlin's 1805 Treatise contains a lucid discussion of the types of peels in ordinary use in England at that time:

There are usually four peeles [sic] kept in a bakehouse, viz, the quartern peele, to set the quartern loaves; the half quartern peele, for the half quartern loaves; the drawing peele, for drawing out the bread; and the peels for placing and removing tins [for rolls, pies, and puddings]. The quartern peele is a pole about eight feet long, with a wooden blade, about a foot wide and sixteen inches long, fixed at the end with strong screws. The half quartern peele is of the same kind, about half the length, and much smaller. The drawing peele is a strong pole, ten feet long, with a blade, thicker, broader, and longer than the others; and the peele for setting in the tins has a strong blade of iron, instead of wood, which is fixed with screws into the handle. [31]

Peels specified for the U. S. Army in 1864 were described as: "Size of blade — 10 in. wide, 24 in. long; pole, long, 16 feet, short, 10 feet long." [32] This terse description does not make clear whether the blade was one piece with the blade or a separate piece, but since the army peel was largely for handling pans, the blade probably was of iron. The specifications for 1882 are not much clearer: "blade 20 inches x 10 inches attached to a ten foot pole, for removing bread from the oven." [33]

The peel used in France at the end of the eighteenth century was made from a single piece of wood, as is clearly shown by "fig. 10" in Figure 16. This type of peel was brought to Canada by the earliest French settlers and was widely used, even by the English in Canada, during the early nineteenth century.

A present-day specimen of the Canadian peel, used for demonstration purposes at Fort York, Toronto, was carved from a single piece of soft pine. It was measured by the present writer in May, 1973, and found to have the following dimensions:

Width of blade8-1/8"
Length of blade16"
Overall length of blade and handle66-1/2"
Thickness of blade at tip1/4"
Thickness of blade at base of handle (pole)3/4"
Cross section of handle (oval in shape)7/8" x 1-5/8"

For a photograph of a companion peel to the one described above, see Plate IX. When not in use, peels were commonly stored in overhead racks. See Figures 6 and 11.

Figure 16. Various utensils used by French bakers, late 18th century.
fig. 6. Fire rake
fig. 8. Swabber or scuffle
fig. 10. Wooden peel
fig. 11. Scraper
fig. 12. Iron shovel to draw out coals

(From Diderot, Encyclopédie, I, section on "Boulanger.")

*Plane. The 1848 bakehouse inventory includes "1 jack Plane." The use of this carpenter's tool in the bakery is not immediately apparent, but its presence cannot be disputed. Undoubtedly it would have been a typical English plane of the period.

*Pot. From one to three tin pots are listed in the 1844-1848 bakery inventories, the number varying from year to year. Sizes, when given, are one pint and three quarts. As pointed out under the heading "Kettle," these small pots evidently do not correspond to the larger "warming pot" so commonly employed in British bakeries of the period. Since no dippers are listed in the Fort Vancouver bakehouse inventories, the small pots may have served as substitutes.

It is impossible to judge whether these smaller pots were imported from England or were "country made" by the tinsmiths at Fort Vancouver. No information on the design of the pots used at the Columbia depot seems to be available.

Rake. See "rooker."

Rasp. Edlin in 1805 defined the baker's rasp as a "large, coarse, broad, flat, steel file, with a wooden handle that runs over the back. Its use is for rasping the burnt crust off the bread, and a finer one is kept to rasp the French rolls." [34] Rasps of this same description were still being employed by the U. S. Army in 1882. [35]

The rasp employed by French bakers during the late eighteenth century seems to have resembled a grater more than a file. It also had a wooden handle and back. See Figure 17.

baker's rasp
Figure 17. A French baker's rasp, late 18th century. (From Diderot, Encyclopédie, I, section on "Boulanger.")

Rooker. According to Edlin's 1805 Treatise, a rooker was "a long piece of iron, in shape somewhat resembling the letter L, fixed in a wooden handle." It was used "to draw out the ashes from all parts of the oven to the mouth." [36]

A picture of an eighteenth century French utensil which must have been almost identical in appearance as it certainly was in function, though called a rable or fire-rake, is shown in "fig. 6" in Figure 16. U. S. Army manuals in the latter half of the nineteenth century do not list rookers among the required bakery utensils, but they do call for rakes, which served the same purpose. Such rakes were described only as being "14 feet long." [37]

A rake or rooker employed today for baking demonstrations in the small oven in the Officers' Quarters kitchen, Fort York, Toronto, is illustrated in Plates IX and X. The kitchen dates from the general period of the Fort Vancouver bakery, but the age of the rake and the basis of its design are not known. This rooker is interesting, however, since it seems to combine a rake and a hoe in a single utensil.

Salt bin. This container was described in 1805 as "a bin, with a lid on it, similar to a corn bin. It will hold two sacks of salt, and is usually placed near the oven, as salt is apt to get moist if not kept in a dry place." [38] A salt bin was still considered a necessary piece of equipment for an English bakery as late as 1854, but U. S. Army manuals of 1864 and 1882 do not call for them, perhaps because the need for salt containers was so obvious. [39]

*Saw. The Fort Vancouver bakehouse inventories for 1846 and 1848 each included "1 hand saw." U. S. Army manuals specified one "wood saw" as required equipment for one- and two-oven bakeries. [40] Undoubtedly such saws were used to cut logs into suitable lengths prior to splitting them into firewood.

*Scales, steelyards, and weights. The bakery inventories reveal that the processes of bread making and biscuit making at Fort Vancouver involved the use of a diverse assortment of weighing devices. In 1844, 1845, and 1846 these apparently consisted of a pair of "tin scales, a pair of steelyards capable of weighing up to 100 pounds, and from one to three lead weights. The inventory of 1848 was somewhat more specific and included additional items. It listed "1 iron weighing Beam & tin Scales," "1 pr beam Steelyards, to weigh 110 lbs," and "1 pr beam Steelyards, to weigh 1400 lbs." Weights were not mentioned in 1848 but must have been present. The information in the 1848 inventory is sufficient to permit a determination of exactly what types of weighing devices were employed, though of course precise patterns and manufacturers are not known.

The weighing beam was perhaps the most ancient type of equal arm balance. It consisted of a rod or beam, supported in the center by a cord or some type of bearing, with pans suspended from the two ends, one pan to hold the weights and the other the material being weighed. Such balances were commonly used in the fur trade and also, as can be seen from the scales shown in Figure 10, in English bakeries of the early nineteenth century.

As is shown by Figures 12 and 13 in this report, however, by the early 1850's at least, another type of equal arm balance, the counter scale, was much favored by English bakers. The counter scale was specified for use in U. S. Army bakeries in 1864. The Fort Vancouver inventories seem to prove that, by 1848 at least, such conveniences had not yet been provided for the bakery at the Columbia District depot, although there were "counter Beams" then in use elsewhere in the post.

The steelyard (pronounced in Britain as "stilyard") was also an ancient device utilizing the principle of unequal arm balance or the lever. In its simplest form it consists of a rod or bar suspended from a hook fixed near one end. The object to be weighed is suspended from another hook hanging from the short side of the bar. The longer end of the bar is marked with notches to designate units of weight; and a moveable weight or counter-poise is moved on this marked arm until equalibrium is achieved. By keeping the hook for the objects to be weighed close to the fulcrum, this type of scale can be constructed to weigh very heavy items. In the early nineteenth century steelyards were hand-forged and generally stamped with the capacity of the scale. [41]

Since beam scales and steelyards are such well-known articles, it has not seemed necessary to illustrate them in detail in this report. The works cited in footnote 41 above contain pictures of scales of these types. Volume II of the Historic Structures Report. Fort Vancouver, will contain additional illustrations of weighing devices used by the Hudson's Bay Company. A fine example of an early nineteenth century weighing beam is pictured in Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, XIX (1910), facing page 375.

Scoop. A scoop was among the items specified by the U. S. Army in 1864 for use in the yeast room. [42] None of the other lists of bakery utensils examined by the present writer lists scoops, but such an article would seem of utility where various amounts of flour, salt, and other ingredients had to be measured and handled. Since the army's scoops were to be employed in the yeast-making process they probably were not the ordinary scoop shovels which served many purposes in the bakery (see "shovel").

Scraper. Edlin, in 1805, described the scraper as "a small scraper, like a garden hoe, fixed in a short wooden handle." It was used "to scrape the sides and bottom of the trough, to prevent the dough from adhering and drying there." [43] A French scraper (ratissoire) of the late eighteenth century is pictured in "fig. 11" in Figure 16.

Tomlinson, in 1854, described the scraper in almost the same words, but he added the information that the utensil was also used for scraping the dough off the moulding board. [44] The scrapers used in U. S. Army bakeries by 1864 were described simply as being "6 in. long, 4 in. wide (made of steel)." [45] There was no mention of a handle. Bell's 1882 manual, however, returned to the older form of definition: "steel, made like a hoe with a short handle, for scraping dough from trough or table." [46]

Scrub brush. Described by Bell in 1882 as "The usual kind — used for cleaning yeast-tubs, &c." [47]

Scuffle. See "swabber."

Seasoning sieve. This utensil, according to Edlin, was "a common sized hair sieve . . . used for straining the mixture through, that is prepared for setting the sponge." [48] By 1854 Tomlinson was describing the "seasoning-sieve" as "made of hair, or of tinned iron, with holes drilled through it." [49] Hair sieves were not mentioned in U. S. Army specifications of 1864 and 1882, evidently having been replaced by tin strainers (see "strainer").

Seasoning tub. According to Edlin in 1805, the seasoning tub was "the size and shape of the common wash tub" and was "intended for mixing the yeast, salt, and water together, before the sponge is set." [50] Tomlinson in 1854 did not consider it necessary to describe this article, though he listed it among the standard bakehouse utensils.

Set-ups. Mentioned only by Tomlinson in 1854, "set-ups" were "four-sided oblong pieces of beech, for placing on both sides, and at the back and front of the oven, to keep the loaves in their places." [51]

*Sheeting. The Fort Vancouver bakery inventory for 1846 listed "18 Yds duck Sheeting" and that for 1848 included "2 duck sheeting table Cloths — 42 yds." Evidently this material was used in the bread-making process — it would scarcely have been furnished by the Company for the bakers' dining table — but exactly how is not known.

*Shovel. The inventory of 1848 records the presence of "1 iron Shovel" in the Fort Vancouver bakery. A shovel, or spade, is included in every available list of necessary bakery equipment. Unfortunately the same lists provide little in the way of description.

In 1805 Edlin stated that a spade was "requisite for a variety of purposes," being "of the same kind as are in common use," [52] Tomlinson in 1854 merely recommended "a spade or shovel." [53] The shovels specified for U. S. Army bakeries in 1864 and 1882 were iron scoop shovels. [54]

Shovels seemingly were used in transferring large quantities of flour from one place to another during the sifting and other parts of the dough-making process. They were also sometimes used for removing coals from the oven and placing them in buckets for disposal. A French short-handled iron scoop shovel "to draw out coals" is illustrated in "fig. 12" in Figure 16.

Sieve. In addition to the "seasoning sieve" or strainer already noted, bakeries of the nineteenth century employed wire sieves. Included among Edlin's "indispensible requisites" was a "brass-wire sieve," described as a "large round sieve, covered with a sheet of exceeding fine, wove, brass-wire." Its use was "not only to sift the flour before it is kneaded; but also to detect any lumps, or other impurities, that may be contained in it." [55] U. S. Army specifications in 1864 and 1882 called for wire sieves — "gauge, about No. 12, for sifting all flour." [56] An English sieve of about 1847 may be seen in the foreground in Figure 6, and one is hanging on the wall in Figure 10.

Spade. See "shovel."

*Steelyard. See "scales, "

Stock yeast barrel (stock yeast tub). Stock yeast barrels or tubs (as distinguished from yeast tubs) are mentioned in the U. S. Army bakery manuals for 1864 and 1882 but not in the earlier British works upon which this section is largely based. Stock yeast tubs were defined as "similar to yeast-tubs [q. v.], but holding about one-half as much." [57]

*Stove. The Fort Vancouver bakehouse inventory for 1848 lists "1 Canada single Stove 3 ft." "Canada" stoves were distinctive in appearance, though they came in several sizes and shapes, with numerous minor differences in the cast-iron decorations and fittings. By the 1840's they had long been made in Canada, though many of the stoves of this type employed in the fur trade were manufactured by the Carron Company of Falkirk, Scotland, and imported. [58]

Those carried in stock at the Fort Vancouver Depot and, presumably, employed for heating the post structures, were inventoried as "cast iron single Canada stoves"; they were of two sizes, 30-inch and 36-inch. [59] They came in six major pieces, which could be disassembled for easy transport and storage. In August, 1841, the Rev. Henry Harmon Spalding at Lapwai Mission in the present Idaho ordered one of these stoves from Fort Vancouver and described it as follows: "one 6 plate stove, complete with the middle plate which is wanting in ours here. A stove consists of 2 sides, 2 ends, top and bottom, 4 legs, 4 rods, 2 middle plates. Also put in bundle of 12 plates of sheet iron for pipe." [60]

A drawing of a single Canada stove is presented in Figure 18. Other examples are pictured in Plates LXIII, LXVII, LXVIII, LXIX, and LXX of Hussey, Historic Structures Report, Fort Vancouver vol. I. A number of these stoves survive in Canada, notably at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Park near Winnipeg.

Strainer. The strainer, under that name, first turns up, in the sources consulted, in the U. S. Army 1864 list of utensils required for the yeast room. It was there described as being "12 in. deep, 12 in. in diameter at the bottom, and 15 in. in diameter at the top. Made of block tin, filled with 1/8 and 1/16 holes, 4 handles to the rim." [61] Evidently this utensil replaced the old hair sieve, since it was some times called a "yeast strainer." [62]

Figure 18. One type of single "Canada" stove, also called a "box stove," made in Norfolk County, Ontario, about 1820. (From Jefferys, The Picture Gallery of Canadian History, II, 115.)

Swabber. Also known as the "scuffle" or "swab," this utensil was described by Edlin in 1805 as "a common pole, about eight feet long, with a quantity of wet netting fastened to the end." It was used "to clean out the bottom of the oven, after the ashes have been removed, previous to setting in the bread." [63] Tomlinson, in 1854, called this article a "scuttle" [sic] or "swabber," but his description was almost exactly the same as Edlin's. [64] For some unknown reason the U. S. Army bakery manuals of 1864 and 1882 do not list swabbers among the necessary bakehouse utensils.

A French "baker's oven mop" (ecouvillon) is pictured in "fig. 8" in Figure 16.

*Table. The Fort Vancouver bakehouse inventories for 1846 and 1848 each list "3 Tables." There seems to be no way of knowing the exact design of these tables, but undoubtedly they were made locally of wood available in the vicinity of the depot, most probably Douglas fir. Probably they resembled common British and Canadian deal tables of the period. See Figures 3, 10, 11, and 12.

Tables recommended for U. S. Army bakeries in 1864 were 4 feet wide, 14 feet 10 inches long, and 2 feet 10 inches high. [65]

*Table cloth. See "sheeting."

Tins. In his 1805 Treatise, Edlin stated of "tins": "These are iron plates of different sizes. The most usual are about an eighth of an inch thick, two feet wide, and three feet long. The rolls, pies, and puddings are put upon these tins, and then the baker runs the blade of the peele under each of them, and places them into any part of the oven he desires, with the utmost facility." [66]

Trough. The "trough," "kneading trough," or "dough trough" was an absolutely necessary feature of any commercial bakery, and its use continued long beyond the introduction of mechanical mixers. [67] Its functions have already been adequately treated in Chapter II on the baking process.

According to Edlin, in 1805, the ideal kneading trough was "about seven feet long, three feet high, two feet and a half broad at top, and sixteen inches at bottom, with a sluice board to pen the dough up at one end, and a lid to shut down like that of a box." [68] Tomlinson's recommendation in 1854 was the same, except that he said the trough should be 19 inches broad at the bottom. [69] Evidently both of these writers considered it superfluous to mention that the troughs were made of wood.

The 1864 baking manual for the U. S. Army was more specific, though the trough described was longer than those in most small English bakeries: "Troughs should be made of 2-1/4 inch pine plank, 15 feet 8 in. long, by 2 feet 6 in. at top, 22 in. at bottom, and 18 in. in depth inside measurement; and top of Trough, 2 feet 10 in. from the floor; Trough top should be in two equal sections; two sets of boards are needed in each Trough for separating Flour, Sponge and Dough." [70] Although not so stated, it is evident that this trough stood on legs, as seems to have been a common case in England also.

kneading trough
Figure 19. Kneading trough in an English bakery, c. 1854. (From Tomlinson, Cyclopaedia of Useful Arts, I, 180.)

A trough which must have closely resembled those described in the 1864 manual is shown in Figure 20. Troughs in typical English bakeries of the nineteenth century are shown in Figures 6, 10, and 19.

wooden dough trough
Figure 20. A wooden dough trough, c. 1903. The general design had changed little from at least medieval times. (From Braun, The Baker's Book, II, 597.)

Warming pot. See "kettle."

*Yeast tub. The Fort Vancouver bakehouse inventory for 1848 includes "2 yeast Tubs." Edlin, in 1805, described the yeast tub as "a common, six-gallon cask with a large bung hole and cover. . . .used for preserving the yeast." [71] The yeast tubs recommended for the U. S. Army in the latter half of the nineteenth century were in size "2/3 of whisky barrels, with side handles"; they were used "for storing yeast." [72]

tin sconces
Figure 21. Tin sconces used in Canada, c. 1763-1830. The two on the ends are wall sconces; the center two are bracket sconces. (From Jefferys, The Picture Gallery of Canadian History, II, 204-205.)

Lighting fixtures. It will have been noted that the only means of lighting listed in the Fort Vancouver bake house inventories was a single candlestick, and this fixture may have been employed in the living quarters if there were such. Almost certainly if a lamp had been used to light the bakery proper it would have been included in the inventories. It can be assumed, therefore, that the bakery could not boast of a lamp. Yet it is most probable that night-time operations were carried on in the bakery and that some means of illumination other than a single candle was employed.

On the basis of information now available, no one can say with assurance what that means was. It is known, however, that rooms, particularly larger rooms, at Hudson's Bay Company posts were often lighted by tallow candles placed in sconces affixed to the walls. [73] Since sconces undoubtedly were "country made" they perhaps would not have been included in inventories of articles "in use." Examples of Canadian tin sconces of the early nineteenth century are shown in Figure 21 on the following page.

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Last Updated: 28-Nov-2005