Collection Highlights




This device was powered by a goat or a dog and attached to a churn to mechanize the churning of butter. It was used circa 1885.

Current Location:

A Piece of Cake! exhibition, Canada Agriculture and Food Museum


This artifact was acquired from a private collector in Quebec.

Technical History:

This adjustable-treadle treadmill represents an early step toward a machine-based society. A dog, goat, or sheep would walk on the belt. The belt would continuously move underneath the animal in the opposite direction. The resulting traction powered a machine by a system of pulleys or gears. This device was used to power small machines such as butter churns and washing machines.

The frame and treadle bed are all wood. Wooden cleats connect individual treads. Six metal wheels support the treadle bed and move it away from the animal when it walks. A hand brake is located next to the main drive wheel.

Manufacturer Information:

J.M. Childs & Company manufactured all sorts of farm equipment in Utica, New York, during the late 1800s.

Back to top