Kentucky Cane Mill…yes, I bought another one

I get wild hairs sometimes.  It is usually not a big deal but when I get into something, sometimes I jump in with both feet.  Honestly, most times I jump with both feet.  Plans are nice for people who like to plan, but I often just go for it.  I posted a few weeks ago about the Chattanooga Plow Company cane mill I got to make sorghum.  In response to that post, a gentleman in Minnesota contacted me about a mill he had inherited from his grandfather…in Minnesota.  That’s probably a little far north for sorghum and definitely too far north for sugar cane.  He wasn’t sure why it ended up in his grandfather’s barn but he wanted to find it a new home where it would be used as it was intended.

Kentucky Cane Mill by Deere Mansur
Kentucky Cane Mill by Deere Mansur

We emailed back and forth for quite awhile.  I considered driving to Minnesota to pick it up but that seemed like more than I wanted to bite off.  I checked around for shipping costs but since it was so heavy and the weight was concentrated into such a small package, the prices were insane.  The highest price I saw was $2300.

Kentucky Cane Mill by Deere Mansur
Kentucky Cane Mill by Deere Mansur

I really wanted this mill though.  It  is sort of cool to add to the collection because it was made by Deere & Mansur. That company became John Deere of course.  What makes that fun in my book is that International Harvester which made the other mill (by buying Chattanooga Plow Company), got into the plow business when it appeared that Deere was going to branch from the plow business into the harvester business.  I do not know the exact dates but these two cane mills would have been contemporaries and competitors.

Kentucky Cane Mill by Deere Mansur
This one is a lot smaller than the Chattanooga Plow Company mill…but still in the 500 pound range

Anyhow, awhile back I flipped the tv to watch Shipping Wars.  It’s a program following small shippers who bid on parcels that need delivered.  The idea is I put a bid request for delivery of  my cane mill and small (and some large) shippers bid on it.  Bids go lower of course so I make out better and can choose the lowest/best bidder.  On the show, they follow a few very colorful shippers, most of whom have a van or small truck where they pick up several packages and bid on additional deliveries along their route.

Kentucky Cane Mill by Deere Mansur
The spout where the sweet juice drains

So, I signed up and a nice couple from WV happened to be in Minnesota and were heading through WV on their way to FL (or something like that).  They bid on my delivery and it worked out beautifully.  They called me often with status updates and I could track their progress with the website that manages all of this.  I guess not everyone has great luck but my shipping battle was a done deal!  I received the mill and have plans to fix it up and use it along with the bigger mill.  Honestly, I am at the edge of giddy about having these cool and historic pieces of farm equipment in my possession.  Emily may be less excited but she surely is a tolerant and kind woman!

My cane mill/sorghum stuff

4 thoughts on “Kentucky Cane Mill…yes, I bought another one

  1. I think I would have tried requesting that only Jennifer Brennan could bid on it and see how that went!

    Of course being married like you, it probably wouldn’t have gone very well!

  2. Mr. Sorghum, you sure snagged a nice one there. I know some farmers in MI raised sorghum to add to their cattle feed silage. But have no idea if anyone raised it for making molasses. Here we grow sugar beets to refine into sugar and molasses. Quite a long involved process that is quite smelly. I had the pleasure of working for Michigan Sugar Company for a couple of years and learned a bit about it first hand. Working in a 100+ yr old plant that still had many of the old steam engines and drive belt pulley systems in place, but not in use, was like working in a history museum. There was talk at the time, that the Smithsonian was interested in the huge main engine. Which was still in working condition and kept in shape. But the cost of dismantling and shipping was prohibitive. I wonder what ever happened to it.

  3. ” Emily may be less excited but she surely is a tolerant and kind woman!”

    She most CERTAINLY is!!!! She’s a keeper!

  4. You don’t ‘make’ sorghum – you grow it. What you squeeze out of it (with the mill) is the raw syrup. It comes out like green, stinking corn silage juice. A hundred gallons cooks down to about 12-15 gallons of good, sweet sorghum syrup.

    We plant sorghum to chop and mix in with the corn silage to feed cattle. HOWEVER, that sorghum is NOT the sorghum we use to squeeze into cook-juice with our Chatanooga mill. The variety we use is as old as the (1902) mill, itself, which was bought new, sometimes in the early 20th Century. It has been turned with a horse or a mule until just a few seasons ago. Now, a small tractor is used, but we thought this year we might rig-up a Danheuser pumpkin head (a post-hole auger type) to drive it by PTO. The most important thing to remember to do if you have old sorghum seed stock is to be very careful with its reproduction. Keep it isolated from cross-pollination with chop sorghum you buy at Southern States,

    I use sorghum syrup or honey in cooking, in just about everything. Or mix it with mustard, for instance, and make a GREAT sauce for marinating meat, or just put it in a small bowl and dip your popcorn in it (use chop sticks!). ( A few tablespoons of sorghum syrup or molasses really enhances cornbread makings before its baked.)

    What is called ‘blackstrap’ is made from ribbon cane, not sorghum. And then there’s sugar cane. I haven’t yet figured out which is best to use for making rum, and hope someone will elaborate, maybe here. (I will make a file for this site)

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