20 November 2016

Romoșel Complex

Oil and apple juice press, Romoșel, Hunedoara County, 1922

Acquired by the Museum in 2003, the horizontal beam press is a Greek invention Romanians embraced, improved and later introduced to other European regions.

Initially, the press was used to collect cooking oils from walnuts, pumpkin and hemp seeds, beech nuts, as well as unfermented apple juice.

The press worked by pounding the oleaginous nuts and seeds which are then transferred to a circular basin positioned next to the press. Using man or horse power, the stone wheel crushes the nuts and seeds inside the basin, which is constructed in curved wood pieces.

This byproduct is then passed through a sieve to separate the peels from the kernels, which is mixed with water and kneaded to a paste that will then be roasted. The crumbly pomace is shaped and wrapped in fabric, then placed inside a perforated cast iron cylinder which, in turn, is set in the press basket. The wooden piston is laid above the cylinder and pressed down by the massive beam and towards the screw to which a wooden bolt is attached by means of an iron crossbar. This particular bolt is hooked up to a heavy weight which maximizes the pressing power. One pomace produces 1 to 1.5 liters of oil.

The mechanism had two applications, apple juice pressing being the second one. The apples would be laid inside the barrel and crushed using a stone wheel, then transferred to the press. Though fermentation, the apple juice would then turn to vinegar.