The Juicer Reamer Collection
You have probably seen one on your grandmother's kitchen counter or perhaps watched your mother using one before handing you a fresh glass of orange juice or lemonade. Reamers, also known to many as orange juice squeezers or juicers, are a fast growing collectible. Reamers come in all type of materials - wood, glass, metal, ceramic, pottery, and plastic. Shapes vary, including round, square, oblong, and triangular. Additionally, there are figural reamers, such as clowns, animals, and people. There are one-piece, two-piece, and three-piece reamers, created in a variety of styles: plain, fancy, engraved, embossed, hand painted, frosted, and trimmed in gold and silver. There are advertising reamers, souvenir reamers and regular utility pieces. The number of available reamers range in the thousands.
The Reamer Collection at the Cuero Heritage Museum was donated by H. Wayne Adickes and contains over 2,300 different types of reamers from around the world.
Reamers first appeared over 200 years ago, originally invented out of necessity, with the discovery that citrus provided a cure for diseases like scurvy. Europeans initially produced the first reamers for some of the finer tables in Europe, by companies such as Bayreuth, Miessen, Royal Rudolstadt, and Limoges, but soon major Asian companies followed.
In 1867, the first reamer (a hand-held reamer) was patented in the United States. The second design was a one-piece reamer with a small saucer and a cone designed to fit on top of a glass. These early reamers were quite messy and tended to slide off the top of the glass. In the 1880's, manufacturers added a glass rim to the bottom of the saucer to help keep the reamer on the glass. Two-piece sets with a measuring pitcher bottom and separate reamer top did not come along until the mid 1920's.
The biggest reamer boom came in 1907 with the formation of a co-op named the "California Fruit Growers Exchange". This co-op marketed the name Sunkist to sell fruit to the east coast. Initially, Sunkist reamers were only available as a promotional item, and not until 1916, with the launch of the "Drink an Orange" campaign were reamers marketed to the masses. Sunkist manufactured a variety of colors, such as green, pink, blue, yellow, black, and white. White was the most commonly produced color; however, collectors actively seek the many color variations.
A colored reamer, "Pearl Glass", introduced in 1922 by the Fry Glass Co., became so popular that it prompted the company to add colors such as pink, green, amber, white milk glass, jadeite, delphite, and vaseline. This prompted many other glass companies, such as Cambridge, Anchor Hocking, Jeannette, and McKee to join the color bandwagon. They produced a variety of shapes and colors with green being the most popular. Jeannette made the last of the well-known glass reamers under the Jenny-ware line in pink, jadeite, delphite, and ultramarine.
American pottery companies such as Redwing, Corns China Co., McCoy, Universal Cambridge, Crooksville, and the Hall China Company also produced several reamers. Even the Coors Bottling Company produced a series of large reamers in Coorsite Porcelain.
By the mid 1930's, trade agreements with the Japanese opened the door lor a glut of goods, including reamers. The American pottery companies could not compete with the flood of inexpensive Japanese pottery reamers pouring into the dime stores and variety stores. In addition, electric juicers became popular and took a bite out of the glass and ceramic reamer sales. By 1940 the introduction of frozen concentrate slowed the demand even more, making the reamer almost extinct.
Around 1970 there was resurgence in reamer manufacturing with the introduction of many new reamers. Japan and now China continue to produce some ceramic reamers. Several German fine china companies make reamers for their various patterns.In 2006, Royal Albert introduced a small bone china reamer in their "Old Country Rose" line. Also, Mikasa introduced a line of small colored glass reamers. One of the biggest recent events is the introduction by Cracker Barrel of large figural reamers, which have proven to be quite popular.