WANDERINGS FROM YOUR PRESIDENT
BY GAYLE STUART
THE COPPER TUB
I wrote to my cousin Peter Larsen, who is the caretaker of the tub.
When I went to a program at the Danish Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa, the lady giving the program, who was from Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa, had a picture of one of these tubs.
The copper tub most likely carried food stuff for the journey across the ocean; it was to hold food for at least 8 weeks. I told Pete to try this if he had time. Once in the states, it could have been used for washing clothes or making food. BUT, most importantly, it was used for making beer. (The speaker said she would send the recipe, so that we could try to make some.) This tub of our Norwegian ancestors measures 27 inches across the bottom and is 15 inches deep. This will hold 37 gallons.
Pete replied: The tub served as a watering tank for calves that were staked outside, a swimming pool for kids, a container that you emptied bags of cement into when mixing larger amounts of concrete in the “mud box” or cement mixer. The next generation used it to hold kegs of beer, not to make it in; that would take too long. It also held bottles and cans of beer and pop at various family gatherings. Its last use was at the building garage site at the new Lutheran church in Little Falls, Minnesota (2008). It had water in it for washing the tools used when the concrete floor was poured. It now hangs in Peter’s basement and it has a small leak around one of the rivets and many dents.
Our great-great-grandfather Ole Nielsen, brought the copper tub to America when he came in 1854. He then passed it on to Andreas, his oldest son, who passed it to his son Gilbert, our Grandfather, who passed it to Peter Larsen, his grandson.