Historical information

In 1890 D. Babcock invented a test for measuring the amount of butter fat in milk, either on the farm or in the dairy or creamery. Samples of milk were put in the glass vial and then spun (by cranking the handle) causing the cream to separate from the non-fat milk thus determining the percentage of cream in the milk. The product was then priced accordingly.


Dairy farming in the Kiewa Valley was the main industry with farmers keen to test the quality of their milk before selling it. This centrifuge enabled them to test the amount of milk and cream being produced by their herd.
This '1903 Butter Fat Tester' made 100 turns per minute.

Physical description

Early hand crank centrifuge for measuring the butterfat content of milk in the farm dairy or creamery. It has 4 brass / copper removable canisters with glass vials and tubes that fit inside. The glass vials bulge at the bottom and are marked with measurements 1, 2 etc.

Inscriptions & markings

Numbers on the glass vials