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Making Cider at Clendenen's Cider Works

The Mount Gilead No. 4-C Cider Mill

This series of photos was taken by Andrew Genzoli in 1949. Today's cider production is still done the same way, and with the same machine. To see this mill in action today, please watch the "Making Cider" video.

Andrew Clendenen, Clif's dad, is checking out an apple to determine if it meets his exacting standards. He's dressed to make cider, complete with an oilskin apron and rubber gloves.
The location of this shoot was in the old cider works building (razed in the 1960's) on the east side of Fortuna's South 12th Street, then called Sandy Prairie Road.

Prior to operating the cider mill and orchard full-time, Andy worked for the Shell Oil Company. He recycled those metal pails with the Shell logo on them and used them to pick up apples in the orchard. The Cider Works still has a few of those pails today.

Under Bob Schroder's watchful gaze, the apples are sorted and fed into the press for making into cider. Those wooden boxes behind Bob are also some of the implements which are still in use today. They were crafted from fir and clear old-growth redwood and have acquired character over the years.

Not only are those boxes still in use, so is the original cider mill that was acquired in 1916 by Andy's dad, Ernest C. Clendenen. The Clendenen Cider Works is able to make great cider because of this machine. It has had some repair and rebuilding over the years, and it is in better condition now then when it was shipped to the orchard almost a century ago. 

Mount Gilead No. 4-C Cider Press

Here's an advertisement from the International Trade Extension Annual, published in 1921:

The Hydraulic Press Mfg. Co.,
Mount Gilead, Ohio.
Makers of the Mount Gilead Hydraulic Cider Presses, the cider press that earns big money for you. Quick, clean profits with little labor and outlay. Sizes up to 460 barrels daily. Write for the Big New Cider Press Catalog and information on cider and vinegar making.

The machine that Andy and Bob are using is the HPM Mount Gilead No. 4-C Hydraulic Cider and Fruit Press, the highest-selling press the company offered. This machine, stamped with the name Mount Gilead, was capable of processing 600 gallons of juice per day due to its double car capability, allowing uninterrupted pressing while the grated apples could be prepared for the next batch. Because of its convenient size and simple, rugged construction, this press was very popular with fruit growers everywhere.

Bob Schroder, a big and strong man, worked at the Cider Works for 44 years. Here he's seen feeding apples into the cider press. The method has changed slightly but the equipment is still the same. Apples are fed into this elevator and are lifted into the hopper at the top of the machine. At this location they are shredded by knives, and the grated apples drop into a feeder hopper which allows the operator to create the product ready for pressing.

This press was the brainchild of Augustus Q. Tucker. Mr. Tucker was a student of mechanical engineering and also the owner of extensive apple orchards near Edison, Ohio. One of his pet peeves was the labor-intensive and time-consuming method of pressing apple juice for making cider, and Augustus decided to do something about it. In 1867 he started the research and experimentation that ten years later resulted in building a practical hydraulic press, a press that was destined to play a great part in shaping America’s industrial future. In 1877, after a number of failures, Mr. Tucker’s hydraulic press worked so well that he started a company to build and sell several cider press models. The company still exists today and is still located in Mount Gilead, Ohio. In addition to making presses and other items, HPM builds parts for windmills that generate electricity.

The Mount Gilead is a rack-and-cloth cider mill. Its operator places a shallow bottom-less wooden form on this steel-wheeled cart and lines it with cloth. The apple pulp is dropped into this form and the cloth is folded over the top. The form is removed, a stiff separator is placed on the bag, and the process is repeated until there are seven bags (cheeses) in the stack (block) of grated apples. This block is then wheeled into the press at right, where an upward vertical hydraulic pressure forces the cheeses against the beam and the juice is squeezed out of the apples.

It is important to work quickly to minimize the time that the apple pulp and juice is exposed to air to keep oxidation to a minimum. This is where Mr. Tucker's design excels since his doublecar cider mill design allows the operator to do the grating, blocking and pressing at the same time. 


Here Andy Clendenen is preparing another layer of apple pulp for pressing. It is critical to even out each layer to squeeze the best production out of the apples. This photo was taken in 1949 but today's cider production is still done the same way, and with the same machine. To see this mill in action today, please watch the "Making Cider" video.


An excellent view of Andy operating the Mount Gilead No. 4-C rack-and-cloth cider press. It is capable of pressing 600 gallons of cider per day. The apples are fed into the elevator at right, dropped into a hopper at the top of the press where they are grated to facilitate the release of the juices. The resulting apple pulp is then dropped into shallow cloth-lined wooden forms (what Andy is doing in this picture) on a steel-wheeled cart. Seven layers of these forms make up a block which is then rolled over to the press on the left of the picture. Hydraulic force presses the cart and stack against the steel beam, and the apple juices are released and flow into the tray under the press. The cider then flows through a valve into the wooden bucket at Andy's feet.


After finishing a block of  cheeses, Andy Clendenen adjusts the cloth. Behind him, and to the right of the photo, are barrels of finished cider, stored for future use.


Using a wooden funnel lined with cheese cloth, Andy is pouring fresh cider into the wooden barrels that made up the "service rack" for local cider storage. These were later tapped as needed. At the time of this photo (1949), other wooden barrels were still being used to ship cider, but production was increasingly being shipped out in glass bottles. That wooden funnel isn't being used today, but it still hangs on the wall if it is needed!


The other end result of the pressing process is this cake of dry apple pomace. Bob Schroder is placing it into the cart and it will be used as a supplemental feed for farm animals. Today the Clendenen Cider Works recycles the pomace in a composting process and it is reapplied to the soil to improve its texture and fertility.



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