4. BF Clyde’s Cider Mill

ASME Landmark #181 (1898)
BF Clyde’s Steam Powered Cider Mill


bfYou very well may have stumbled onto this particular page about BF Clyde’s from one of the other entries around the website. After all, this place appears in four other spots – as a museum, as a cider (soft AND hard) mill, as the oldest continuous producer of hard cider in America, and as the oldest as the oldest operating steam-powered cider mill in existence.

The first CTMQ Visit
And here’s a few photos from a 2013 visit when we had two boys with us.

It’s that last bit of trivia that leads us to this post – in addition to all the good stuff about BF Clyde’s, it’s one of Connecticut’s rare American Society of Mechanical Engineers Landmarks. I wish I had known that before visiting (though I’m sure I’ll go again someday) so I could have hopefully found the plaque – though if you look closely in the picture here to the left, that’s it to the right of the doorway.

Oh well, I drank the apple cider, I sampled a bunch of their hard ciders and apple wines and I toured the old cider mill. You can read all about that stuff on the other pages. For this page, It’s just about the facts, from the ASME Landmark site:

Notable for: rare survivor of a once-commonplace rural US industry

More about . . .

bfaClyde’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.

Much more…

This is great. Each ASME Landmark has a companion pdf document detailing every aspect of the landmark. I don’t know why, but I’ve become captivated by these eight things around the state. I highly encourage you to at least skim the pdf. Check it out.

Visiting Info:

NOV. – DEC. 9AM – 5PM

Saturdays & Sundays
October – 11am, 1pm, 3pm
November – 11am, 1pm Weather permitting

2 responses to “4. BF Clyde’s Cider Mill”

  1. James N. Cervone says:

    I have a cider press exactly like the one at Clyde’s Cider Mill. It was operated by my father,and later by myself, for over seventy years. We donated it to a historical society twenty five years ago. They where going to reconstruct it, but never did. They just returned it to me, but unfortunately much of it was destoyed.(such a tragety) I am now trying to raise money to construct a building, and reconstruct as much of the mill as possible, to preserve my families history. I suspect it might be older then Clyde’s, because all of the big beams on the press are wood.

  2. Mike Titus says:

    Hello James,
    I just came across your comments today. We have a press just like Cyde’s as well. Ours has wooden beams like your did/does. It was installed around 1916. Not sure if it was new or used then. Still works beautifully and runs off water power from the Clinton River.

    Mike Titus
    Yates Cider Mill
    Rochester Hills, MI

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