#181 BF Clyde's Cider Mill
Rare survivor of a once-commonplace rural US industry
Clyde's mill is a rare survivor of a once-commonplace seasonal rural industry. Until recently a cider mill could be found in every community where apples were grown. In the fall, mills converted the fruit of the orchard into drink just as the grist mill converted the grain into flour.
Although cider was produced on individual farms for private use, the centrally located mill became popular for farmers who would sell surplus apples to the mill and bring back the juice to ferment into hard cider. In 1881 Benjamin Clyde began pressing his apples at local mills and soon rented his own press. In 1897 he purchased the mill and installed the screw press (No. 2) from Boomer & Boschert of Syracuse. Boomer and Boschert also supplied the apple grater, apple elevator, and cider pump, as well as the plans for the building.
Although cider making has changed little over the centuries, this mill featured a sophisticated method of grinding and a press capable of applying pressure at three speeds. Using all steel construction, it was considered the finest screw cider press ever made. The cider mill at B.F. Clyde's also represents one of the final screw presses. In the 20th century, the hydraulic press came into widespread use.
The mill has stayed in the family and is currently owned and operated (seasonally) by Benjamin's grandson, John K. Bucklyn.
Old Mystic, CT