This is a Marvel Gravity Cream Separator made by Superior Sheet Metal Works Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. This was a size No. 1 which held 10 gallons. We have also seen Marvel separators advertised in 14 and 18 gallon sizes. Sears and Wards sold their brands in various sizes up to 32 gallons. In addition to gravity, these separators used water to dilute the milk and speed up the separation. The can was half filled with milk, water was added via a tube that allowed it to enter at the bottom of the can below the milk and then the mixture was left undisturbed for one to two hours until the cream rose to the top and the skim milk and water settled. Ice could be used instead of water to speed up the process. The skim milk and water could be then drained out of the valve at the bottom of the can. The two glass windows allowed one to see the cream line.
These were an improvement over settling pans but were still slow and not much cream could be separated at any one time. Also if the water was not of the highest quality bacteria could be introduced into the milk. The volume of the skim milk was doubled and the nutritive value of the skim milk for livestock was diluted by the water. These were also known as dilution separators since one had to add water to the milk to separate it.
This style of cream separator was first patented by Perry Smith on October 9, 1900. Smith was also from Indianapolis, Indiana but we do not know if he or his patent was connected to the Superior Sheet Metal Works Company. Dilution cream separators similar to this sold for $3.19 in the 1908 Sears catalog. They were still listed in the 1951-52 Sears catalog and sold for $6.29.
|Object Name||Separator, Cream|
|Title||Marvel Gravity Cream Separator|
|Source||Found in Museum|