Do you know what this is? We found the device at the museum at Virginia’s Luray Caverns.
No, it’s not a treadmill to keep your dog in shape. So take a guess before you read on (pause for at least 10 seconds). . . .
Okay, here’s the answer: It’s a dog-powered butter churn, manufactured in New York in 1881, with an original patent date of 1871. The treadmill was powered by a walking or running animal like a dog, or maybe a sheep or goat. There were several similar devices made in the last quarter of the 1800s, as they were popular farming equipment. They typically operated light machinery like this butter churn. They were also used to power cream separators, grind stones, corn shellers and fanning mills.
So now you know!