Last week the ad we featured from the 1940 Story City Herald Anniversary Number book was from the Story City Butter Tub Co. Its only fitting that this week we are featuring a butter tub as our Collection Item of the Week. This butter tub was recently donated by Charlotte Hill. The Hill family owned and operated the Story City Butter Tub Co. for 85 years.
The butter tubs were made from sitka spruce wood which came from Washington state by train. These butter tubs were delivered to creameries all around central Iowa, from as far east as Marshalltown and to the north as far as Mason City. One tub held 64 pounds of butter.
People who made butter tubs and similar vessels are called coopers. A cooper is someone who makes wooden, staved vessels, bound together with hoops and possessing flat ends or heads. In the photos below you can better see the individual staves that make up this tub.
Our Mayor, Mike Jensen, recently shared a story from his childhood with us at our Winter Dinner. He would use the lid from a butter tub as a shield when he was pretend fighting with other neighborhood children. Butter tubs have a variety of uses!