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Buckeye Churn Company

Before the days of pasteurized milk and processed dairy products such as butter, Sidney, Ohio, residents relied on milk from cows. Butter had to be created by a labor-intensive effort of stirring or 'churning' the milk so that the butter would rise to the top of the milk and separate. The butter churn became yet another interesting product made in this community.

The Buckeye Churn Company was formed in Carey, Ohio, a small Wyandot County village, in 1888 by James Anderson and Wilson Carothers. The company relocated here in 1891. The plant, built at 1122 Park Street, (west of what is today Ross Aluminum on Oak Avenue) made wooden butter churns, along with other miscellaneous wooden items. The churn, into which milk would be poured, was rocked back and forth. The dividers inside helped separate the butter from the milk. The 'Prima' was the trade name selected for the churn.

Mr. Carothers left the Buckeye Churn in 1911 to form a confectionery business with his sons. Mr. Anderson, with his sons then in the business, began the manufacture of washing machines with wooden tubs a few years later. The idea was invented and patented by R. J. Anderson, one of James' sons. This product was so successful that the company concentrated solely on its manufacture. The name of the company was changed to the Prima Washing Machine Company. The Great Depression of the 1930s hurt the business. A fire in 1939 destroyed the plant on west Park Street and it was never rebuilt.

Industry segment written in January, 1998 by Rich Wallace

 

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