Many residents of antebellum Springfield, the Edwards and Lincoln families included, kept a cow to provide milk and butter. When making butter, milk would sit in broad, shallow pans such as these in a clean, controlled space.
Recovered from the Edwards Place privy
Collection of the Illinois State Musem
When the cream rose to the top it would be skimmed and placed in a churn to be dashed with a wooden paddle. The butter would be sealed into smaller containers using wax and stored in a cool place for future use.