[Footnote: From the report of the New York Agricultural Society.]

Within the county of Oswego, New York, Dewitt C. Peck reports there are five apple jelly factories in operation. The failure of the apple crop, for some singular and unexplained reason, does not extend in great degree to the natural or ungrafted fruit. Though not so many as common, even of these apples, there are yet enough to keep these five mills and the numerous cider mills pretty well employed. The largest jelly factory is located near the village of Mexico, and as there are some features in regard to this manufacture peculiar to this establishment which may be new and interesting, we will undertake a brief description. The factory is located on the Salmon Creek, which affords the necessary power. A portion of the main floor, first story, is occupied as a saw mill, the slabs furnishing fuel for the boiler furnace connected with the evaporating department. Just above the mill, along the bank of the pond, and with one end projecting over the water, are arranged eight large bins, holding from five hundred to one thousand bushels each, into which the apples are delivered from the teams.

The floor in each of these has a sharp pitch or inclination toward the water and at the lower end is a grate through which the fruit is discharged, when wanted, into a trough half submerged in the pond.

The preparation of the fruit and extraction of the juice proceeds as follows: Upon hoisting a gate in the lower end of this trough, considerable current is caused, and the water carries the fruit a distance of from thirty to one hundred feet, and passes into the basement of the mill, where, tumbling down a four-foot perpendicular fall, into a tank, tight in its lower half and slatted so as to permit the escape of water and impurities in the upper half, the apples are thoroughly cleansed from all earthy or extraneous matter. Such is the friction caused by the concussion of the fall, the rolling and rubbing of the apples together, and the pouring of the water, that decayed sections of the fruit are ground off and the rotten pulp passes away with other impurities. From this tank the apples are hoisted upon an endless chain elevator, with buckets in the form of a rake-head with iron teeth, permitting drainage and escape of water, to an upper story of the mill, whence by gravity they descend to the grater. The press is wholly of iron, all its motions, even to the turning of the screws, being actuated by the water power. The cheese is built up with layers inclosed in strong cotton cloth, which displaces the straw used in olden time, and serves also to strain the cider.

As it is expressed from the press tank, the cider passes to a storage tank, and thence to the defecator.

This defecator is a copper pan, eleven feet long and about three feet wide. At each end of this pan is placed a copper tube three inches in diameter and closed at both ends. Lying between and connecting these two, are twelve tubes, also of copper, 1½ inches in diameter, penetrating the larger tubes at equal distances from their upper and under surfaces, the smaller being parallel with each other, and 1½ inches apart. When placed in position, the larger tubes, which act as manifolds, supplying the smaller with steam, rest upon the bottom of the pan, and thus the smaller pipes have a space of three-fourths of an inch underneath their outer surfaces.

The cider comes from the storage tank in a continuous stream about three-eighths of an inch in diameter. Steam is introduced to the large or manifold tubes, and from them distributed through the smaller ones at a pressure of from twenty-five to thirty pounds per inch. Trap valves are provided for the escape of water formed by condensation within the pipes. The primary object of the defecator is to remove all impurities and perfectly clarify the liquid passing through it. All portions of pomace and other minute particles of foreign matter, when heated, expand and float in the form of scum upon the surface of the cider. An ingeniously contrived floating rake drags off this scum and delivers it over the side of the pan. To facilitate this removal, one side of the pan, commencing at a point just below the surface of the cider, is curved gently outward and upward, terminating in a slightly inclined plane, over the edge of which the scum is pushed by the rake into a trough and carried away. A secondary purpose served by the defecator is that of reducing the cider by evaporation to a partial sirup of the specific gravity of about 20° Baume. When of this consistency the liquid is drawn from the bottom and less agitated portion of the defecator by a siphon, and thence carried to the evaporator, which is located upon the same framework and just below the defecator.

The evaporator consists of a separate system of six copper tubes, each twelve feet long and three inches in diameter. These are each jacketed or inclosed in an iron pipe of four inches internal diameter, fitted with steam-tight collars so as to leave half an inch steam space surrounding the copper tubes. The latter are open at both ends permitting the admission and egress of the sirup and the escape of the steam caused by evaporation therefrom, and are arranged upon the frame so as to have a very slight inclination downward in the direction of the current, and each nearly underneath its predecessor in regular succession. Each is connected by an iron supply pipe, having a steam gauge or indicator attached, with a large manifold, and that by other pipes with a steam boiler of thirty horse power capacity. Steam being let on at from twenty five to thirty pounds pressure, the stream of sirup is received from the defecator through a strainer, which removes any impurities possibly remaining into the upper evaporator tube; passing in a gentle flow through that, it is delivered into a funnel connected with the next tube below, and so, back and forth, through the whole system.

The sirup enters the evaporator at a consistency of from 20° to 23° Baume, and emerges from the last tube some three minutes later at a consistency of from 30° to 32° Baume, which is found on cooling to be the proper point for perfect jelly. This point is found to vary one or two degrees, according to the fermentation consequent upon bruises in handling the fruit, decay of the same, or any little delay in expressing the juice from the cheese. The least fermentation occasions the necessity for a lower reduction. To guard against this, no cheese is allowed to stand over night, no pomace left in the grater or vat, no cider in the tank; and further to provide against fermentation, a large water tank is located upon the roof and filled by a force pump, and by means of hose connected with this, each grater, press, vat, tank, pipe, trough, or other article of machinery used, can be thoroughly washed and cleansed. Hot water, instead of cider, is sometimes sent through the defecator, evaporator, etc., until all are thoroughly scalded and purified. If the saccharometer shows too great or too little reduction, the matter is easily regulated by varying the steam pressure in the evaporator by means of a valve in the supply pipe.

If boiled cider instead of jelly is wanted for making pies, sauces, etc., it is drawn off from one of the upper evaporator tubes according to the consistency desired; or can be produced at the end of the process by simply reducing the steam pressure.

As the jelly emerges from the evaporator it is transferred to a tub holding some fifty gallons, and by mixing a little therein, any little variations in reduction or in the sweetness or sourness of the fruit used are equalized. From this it is drawn through faucets, while hot, into the various packages in which it is shipped to market. A favorite form of package for family use is a nicely turned little wooden bucket with cover and bail, two sizes, holding five and ten pounds respectively. The smaller packages are shipped in cases for convenience in handling. The present product of this manufactory is from 1,500 to 1,800 pounds of jelly each day of ten hours. It is calculated that improvements now in progress will increase this to something more than a ton per day. Each bushel of fruit will produce from four to five pounds of jelly, fruit ripening late in the season being more productive than earlier varieties. Crab apples produce the finest jelly; sour, crabbed, natural fruit makes the best looking article, and a mixture of all varieties gives most satisfactory results as to flavor and general quality.

As the pomace is shoveled from the finished cheese, it is again ground under a toothed cylinder, and thence drops into large troughs, through a succession of which a considerable stream of water is flowing. Here it is occasionally agitated by raking from the lower to the upper end of the trough as the current carries it downward, and the apple seeds becoming disengaged drop to the bottom into still water, while the pulp floats away upon the stream. A succession of troughs serves to remove nearly all the seeds. The value of the apple seeds thus saved is sufficient to pay the daily wages of all the hands employed in the whole establishment. The apples are measured in the wagon box, one and a half cubic feet being accounted a bushel.

This mill ordinarily employs about six men: One general superintendent, who buys and measures the apples, keeps time books, attends to all the accounts and the working details of the mill, and acts as cashier; one sawyer, who manufactures lumber for the local market and saws the slabs into short lengths suitable for the furnace; one cider maker, who grinds the apples and attends the presses; one jelly maker, who attends the defecator, evaporator, and mixing tub, besides acting as his own fireman and engineer; one who attends the apple seed troughs and acts as general helper, and one man-of-all-work to pack, ship and assist whenever needed. The establishment was erected late in the season of 1880, and manufactured that year about forty-five tons of jelly, besides considerable cider exchanged to the farmers for apples, and some boiled cider.

The price paid for apples in 1880, when the crop was superabundant, was six to eight cents per bushel; in 1881, fifteen cents. The proprietor hopes next year to consume 100,000 bushels. These institutions are important to the farmer in that they use much fruit not otherwise valuable and very perishable. Fruit so crabbed and gnarled as to have no market value, and even frozen apples, if delivered while yet solid, can be used. (Such apples are placed in the water while frozen, the water draws the frost sufficiently to be grated, and passing through the press and evaporator before there is time for chemical change, they are found to make very good jelly. They are valuable to the consumer by converting the perishable, cheap, almost worthless crop of the bearing and abundant years into such enduring form that its consumption may be carried over to years of scarcity and furnish healthful food in cheap and pleasant form to many who would otherwise be deprived; and lastly, they are of great interest to society, in that they give to cider twice the value for purposes of food that it has or can have, even to the manufacturer, for use as a beverage and intoxicant.