THE OIL: HISTORY AND MECHANICAL PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
Oil press with two grinders and a kneader-dispenser The press is composed of two granite wheels rotating vertically over a horizontal based made of the same hard stone. The basin has a wide metal border with a small, shuttered opening and a chute where the paste slides down towards the kneader. It rests on three pillars over a toothed wheel of the mechanism, driven by an electric motor. The kneader, installed on side of the tub, is connected to the dispenser in the lower section. This oil press was made by the Officine Meccaniche Toscane in the 1950s, while the crusher-dispenser was manufactured by the company Fonderie Officine Camplone S.p.A. in Pescara between 1950 and 1960. Hydraulic oil press Production moved from screw presses to hydraulic presses or basket presses of different capacities driven by pumps. Made of metal and powered by electricity or hydraulic power, little effort was needed to achieve high pressures. These presses are composed of a base supporting a piston cylinder with an up-and-down motion when driven. These machines where generally used in a battery of three, connected to a pressure gauge, so the workers could check the pressure reached. These pressed were connected to a hydraulic pump by a “communication” tube. They had a circular base and a cylinder axle in the centre, on which the baskets were held and stacked underneath. They were also provided with special four-wheeled trolleys. This press was designed in 1963 by the Officine e Fonderie Meccaniche G. Camplone & Figli Pescara. Iron press Early 19th century illustrations show the first metal screw presses or “strettoj” alongside, and partly replacing, the traditional wooden ones. These presses were operated by "simple lever" mechanisms (a shaft), with a "ratchet" and “multiple leverage” movement, and was composed of three or four columns. They were made of a pressing base on which the baskets rested, a nut, a bolt with the housing for the pressing plate, and a board under which the baskets were placed in a column. The “Strettojo a cerchioni Sistema OOMENS” was operated by “ratchet” movement and was built by the Stabilimento Fonderia di Ferro and the mechanic Luigi Oomens of Napoli in 1882. Four column hydraulic press This is an “open or free tower” press and had a base with a piston underneath moving up and down when driven, supported by a cylinder. It was composed of four columns (or traverses) connecting the base to the top structure, usually bearing the name of the manufacturer. A gauge for measuring the pressure was mounted close to the columns. The “open tower” model, marketed already in the beginning of the 20th century, was manufactured and sold for decades by companies such as Veraci of Firenze, Camplone of Pescara and other well-known oil press manufacturers. Hydraulic pump The pump that works the press can be in one or more sections. It is made of plungers or pistons that draw and push the internal fluid. The hydraulic pump is driven by a motor that lifts the pistons; this opens the valve allowing the water from the tank to enter the pump. When the pistons lower the valve is shut and another opens, letting the water through the communication tube linking the pump to the press. The water carried to each press through the tube entered the underlying cylinder and pushed the piston to create pressure. On each pump a rotating lever stops the water from being pumped when is needed (high and low pressure) until the correct pressure levels are reached. The pump on display was built by the Company Società Veraci Officine Meccaniche e Fonderie Firenze. Veraci centrifuge separator A mechanical separator was first used in the early decades of the 20th century and it replaced the terracotta plate. Using this apparatus, oil was completely separated from the vegetation water. After pressing, the liquid (oil and water) was drawn into the machine so that the vegetation water could be quickly separated from the oil thus obtaining a good quality olive oil. This machine was made up of a centrifuge, a centrifuge board and an underlying motor, and was built by the Società Veraci Officine Meccaniche e Fonderie Firenze. Camplone centrifuge separator The Beta single separator was built by the Company Fonderie – Officine Camplone S.p.a. in Pescara around 1960. It was made up of a centrifuge driven by an electric motor at the rear left of the machine. It separated the oil from the vegetation water mechanically to obtain an excellent quality product.
Press or "Stratojo" with a screw of the "Genoese" type
The "Genoese" press was widespread in Genoa and throughout Liguria, Tuscany and other cities in northern Italy; it was introduced in southern Italy in 1768 by Domenico Grimaldi who replaced the lever press (widely used in northern Italy) and the two-screw press of the "alla calabrese" type. The "stratojo" (almost always made of oak wood or wood and iron) was operated by a single person ("man's arms") who started, with a sturdy rod, to turn the press. Then, with the help of a vertical winch, connected to a large rope, the press (with the stacked fiscoli) was further put under pressure. The press has, in the lower part, a base (circular in shape) on which rested the fiscoli filled with olive paste. Below this base there is a pile (rectangular in shape) in which the oil that dripped from the pressing of the olive paste is collected.
Press lever and screw in wood
It is described in detail by Vittorio Zonca in the well-known treatise entitled: Novo teatro di machine et Edificii, 1607. Already in use in the ancient world (described by Cato and the mathematician Erone) the press, lever with worm screw and counterweight, perfected by Pliny, represented for many centuries the only oil device used (in central-northern Italy) for squeezing . This system was used in many olive growing areas (especially in those where technological evolution was very slow) until the end of the 19th century. It will be definitively replaced by the one-screw presses (“alla genovese”) which were much more functional and less bulky. The lever has a limestone base where the press screw is anchored. The oil device does not have a stone tank (placed in the central part of the large wooden beam, in correspondence with the fiscoli filled with pasta) for collecting the oil that was left to settle before being taken and stored in jars (or large vessels) in glazed terracotta or in monolithic stone piles.
Oil mill with two slaughterhouses
In the natural park surrounding the Museo d'Arte Olearia, there is a space dedicated to Maria Marta Boldrocchi, collaborator of Coppini Arte Oleariamancata in 2009, where it is possible to stop and admire a stone crusher with two slaughterhouses (molars).
The cylindrical crusher consists of two granite millstones (or millstones) rotating vertically with motion of revolution and translation on a horizontal bottom of the same stone as the millstones. The breaking apparatus is limited by an iron sheet rim on which there is a direct door opening with a slide from which the dough descends towards the underlying malaxer still missing. The multiple grinders are arranged on the pile so as not to travel the same track to widen the grinding surface and speed up the grinding. The basin rests on four iron pillars, under which the toothed wheel of the mechanism operated by an electric motor (now missing) that was originally positioned next to it is positioned. The oil mill was built by the Officine Meccaniche Toscane company between 1940 and 1950 approximately.