Peanut Roasting Machine

Get ‘em while they’re hot

Kerosene and a mechanical crank powered this peanut roasting machine owned by John Coleman of Mt. Carmel. The kerosene tank provided light to work by and powered the burners under the roasting chamber. A steam jacket under the glass dome kept the peanuts warm. A crank on the backside of the machine tightened a set of gears that turned the roasting chamber, preventing the nuts from burning as they roasted. A small brass governor spun to keep the chamber turning at a uniform speed. The roasting chamber had a tube-like testing spoon to remove a few nuts at a time to test their readiness so they could be bagged and kept warm under the glass dome.

The object dates from around 1910. Coleman started his business by making and selling candy, popcorn, and peanuts, first on the street corner, then expanding to a store front, and eventually expanding to produce ice cream and soft drinks. He eventually opened at least two movie theaters in Mt. Carmel.

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