Coopers were tradesmen who made churns, firkins, pails and most of the other wooden utensils used in the dairy. the implements used of their trade were similar to those used by a carpenter but in addition they used an adze for smoothing the inside of the butter tubs, "cools" (small butter tubs) firkins, churns, etc. When every housekeeper and every farmer's wife packed her own butter, coopers were kept busily engaged making firkins. Firkins were not unlike porter barrels (half-barrels) in size and shape. They were made of white wood, very smooth on the inside. The hoops were made by splitting a thick rod evenly in two parts, on the length. The hoops (for there were usually two or three at the top and the same number at the bottom) were securely fastened by thin sally rods twisted round the ends. No screws or nails were used. The lid of their firkin fitted in neatly on top when the firkin was filled with butter.
In olden times coopers were very numerous in the country but since people began sending the milk to the creameries they have almost disappeared.
Scoil: Clochar Muire, Tobar an Choire (uimhir rolla 12166)
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