“No doubt you’ll receive an avalanche of responses to the ‘What’s This?’ photo this week.’
That may be the understatement of the week. It seems Midwesterners know their hog equipment. Janet Soukup emailed me for her father, Stan Shavlik of rural Linwood, Neb., who “called me immediately with his response: A Hog Scraper!”
“Stan remembers hog butchering time ... someone would kill the hog; it was ‘stuck’ to bleed out, saving the blood for sausage (jelita). Then the hog was laid out in a trough of boiling hot water. The next task was to begin scraping the bristles off the hide. The large end of the tool scraped the main areas, while the small end was to get in behind the ears. If jaternice was to be made, hog ears and snouts were necessary ingredients!”
A decade ago, when “What’s This?” was in its first go-round, I ran a photo of a hog oiler and was inundated with emails and letters. Now the swine community has responded again. Here are some of the many comments, followed by a list of correct responses.
We have one in our DeWitt Historical Society Museum. Doris Peters, DeWitt, Neb.
I had to help my dad when we would butcher. Recognize it right away. Had not seen one of those scraper for many years. Dad had at least four of them. We all had to scrape. Larry Stuchlik, Lincoln, Neb.
I can remember in my youth … during our own butchering of hogs for our own family use. … Somewhat similar to scalding a chicken in scalding hot water, and then cleaning the feathers off a chicken prior to butchering. The scalding made the feathers come off much easier just like the scalding of the hog made the hair come off easier. Bob Geiger, Thurman, Iowa
Used in a hog slaughter to scrape fat from inside carcass. Pat Broders, Norfolk, Neb.;
My stepdad from PA had me scraping hogs back in the ‘70s. Marc T. Holtz, Fairport, N.Y.;
The result of a long day of starting with this tool was a batch of fresh cracklings. Out of this world good. This was a time when neighbors and kin got together to butcher a hog and lay in for winter. Ben Cowling, Roca, Neb.
The tool was called a hide scraper and could be sharpened from the underside. Kenneth Widhalm, Dodge, Neb.
I’ve seen it used on coon hides and muskrats. Gary Cooper, Fontanelle, Iowa.
We used to do this whenever we ran low on pork. There were nine kids in our family so it took a lot of groceries. George Perlinger, 95 years young and living alone on his farm in southwest Nebraska.
When the plates became dull they were sharpened with a file. I have a handle and a few extra plates from the old days. Vern Keuck, Denison, Iowa.
Nary a piece would go to waste, pickled pigs feet, pickled tongue, render the lard, make bacon, scrapple, cure the hams, make sausage, & on until nothing was left but the squeal!! Marlin Perks, Stockville, Neb.
The hog scrapers were cleaned and stored with the big black butchering kettles which we always kept in the Butcher House until the next butchering. Oh the memories of an exciting day. Mary Dahl, Superior, Neb.
As far as I’m concerned it is the only way to clean a hog. We still have our scrapers. Don Dolezal, Brainard, Neb.
Curtis Willhite, Leon, Kan.; Carole Meng, Waterloo, Kan.; Paul Speck, Glenwood, Iowa; Jerry Konert, Columbus, Neb.; Dwight Phillips, Fremont, Neb.; Steve Sayer, Dunbar, Neb.; Larry Stuckey, Plattsmouth, Neb.; Dianne Dick, Rossville, Kan.; Tim Kuchta, Hartington, Neb.; Mike Fischer, Oshkosh, Neb.; John Rosman, Harlan, Iowa;
Tyler Martin, Valparaiso, Neb.; Tom and Fran Geisler, Hooper, Neb.; Harriett Holman, Plattsmouth, Neb.; Lee Morse, North Platte, Neb.; Dallas Puls, Norfolk, Neb.; Willard Horak, Schuyler, Neb.; Kelly Pokorny, Bladen, Neb.; Dixie Lees, Marsland, Neb.; Neal Neidig, Madison, Neb.; Ron Pinney, Wood Lake, Neb.; Dale Wemhoff, Norfolk, Neb.;
Lucien Hamernik, Norfolk, Neb.; Lanny Schmidt, Fremont, Neb.; Rich Johnson, Ayr, Neb.; Steve Rainforth, Doniphan, Neb.; Martin Schumacher, Hemingford, Neb.; Jerry Copple, Dakota City, Neb.; Jerome Loeffelholz, Pleasanton, Neb.; Randy Johnson, Stromsburg, Neb.; Marilyn Mattley, Burwell, Neb.; Les Lindblad, Denton, Neb.;
Don Anderson, Osceola, Neb.; David Johnson, Lake City, Kan.; Larry Steckline, Garden Plain, Kan.; Warren Hahn, Atlanta, Kan.; Michael Schmeidler, Hays, Kan.; Fred and Sheri Seachris, Buhler, Kan.; Cheryl and Bob Tooker, Silver Creek, Neb.; Bird and Kelly Pokorny, Bladen, Neb.; Rita Kleinschmit, Fordyce, Neb.; Dave Thomas, Mitchell, Neb.;
Lyle Lingenfelter, Plainview, Neb.; Billy Stromer, Ayr, Neb.; Ambrose Podraza, Columbus, Neb.; Jim Stout, Wakefield, Neb.; Evon Hoopes, Anthony, Kan.; David Salem, St. John, Kan.; Bruce Stucky, Moundridge, Kan.; Ron Hulinsky, Ord, Neb.; Chris Diedrichsen, Holdrege, Neb.; Joel David, Glidden, Iowa.
I also love to see Midwest ingenuity at work. Here are some practical answers:
I think the photo was a bird bath or feeder. My parents had one made out of two disk blades with a 4x4 between them. … We had one that looked the same. William Schaupp, Dunlap, Iowa.
I am pretty sure that it is a sheep shear. We had one. I found it in our barn so I asked my Dad what it was. He said it was a sheep shear. That was 50 years ago. I am 66 years young. Stephen Falk, Hoskins, Neb.
The object looks like what you would put a horse’s hoof on to rasp smooth or to crimp nails after shoeing the horse. Set the object on end with the small end up, then set the horse’s hoof onto it. Just a wild guess. Scott Morgan, Allen, Neb.
The picture resembles a spacer spool used between disc blades of a horse drawn disc. Don Andersen, Ponca, Neb.