Fun Furniture Fact #31: Buckeye Incubator Side Table
For most people in 2018, it’s hard to imagine an incubator as a ubiquitous household item. But from the late 19th century into the first few decades of the 20th century, it was far from unusual to incubate chicken eggs inside your home or barn. Demand for chicken was rising as more Americans moved to urban environments without a chicken coop of their own. Incubators offered mechanical means of brooding eggs, prompting hens to lay them more frequently. This meant a savvy farmer could exponentially increase their profits if they yielded a good amount of chicks, but he or she had to keep a vigilant eye on the incubator’s temperature to ensure this (hence, why they needed to be indoors).
To keep the incubator at the proper temperature (102-103 degrees), these early incubators used small hot water boilers powered by kerosene. The eggs had to be turned manually for even warming. The incubation process can take up to three weeks, to yield at most 80-85% of the eggs they started with. The first major player in the American incubator market was the Buckeye, from Springfield, Ohio. As a major technological innovation that was changing the landscape of American food and farming, Buckeye incubators were prominently featured in an exhibition at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
Which brings us to thisÂ Buckeye Incubator Side Table. Though no longer a functional incubator, the glass-fronted cavity that once held eggs can now be used for all sorts of storage (it’s a great size for coffee table books). These legs were not originally part of this incubator, but suit the overall style well. With it now finally feeling like springtime in New York, this piece feels very seasonally appropriate. So stop by our showroom to examine this wonderful piece of American history–last one in to see it is a rotten egg!
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