This peculiar-looking tool was used to slice citrus peel
to make marmalade. The patented device is marked with
the name of the manufacturing company, Follows & Bate
Ltd., which was based in Manchester, England. The company
operated from approximately 1867 to 1938 and was best known
for its horticultural tools. In fact, it is one of the
earliest well-known British lawn mower manufacturers.
In addition to horticultural tools, Follows & Bate
Ltd. produced many mechanical aids for food preparation,
such as the tool shown here.
The marmalade cutter is simple to operate. After clamping
it to the edge of a table or counter, fruit peel is
fed into the cylindrical opening and pushed toward the
blade using a wooden implement. The top handle moves
back and forth, slicing the peel into fine pieces and
expelling them from the bottom.
Along with various other preserves, marmalade was one
of the first foods to be mass-produced in Manchester.
In 1890, James Robertson & Sons Ltd. a company that
had been operating out of the back of a shop in Paisley,
Scotland, since 1864 opened its jam factory in the area.
Today, the company is said to produce the leading brand
of preserves in the United Kingdom and has held a Royal
Warrant since 1933, meaning the British royal family uses
its jams. The most recognized Robertson's product
is Golden Shred Marmalade, which the company has been
producing since its inception.