Barbados Sugar Machinery Museum
Establishment of the sugar machinery museum was due to the foresight of Sir Frank Hutson whose idea it was to conserve some of the more meaningful pieces of sugar machinery under one roof.
It is estimated that the building housing the Museum existed in 1882 when the steam engine was installed. The building is dedicated to the sugar machinery of the past and to those workers who labored with love and with some ingenuity in their upkeep kept machines working to produce sugar during the turn of the last century and up to the time when more modern machinery took over.
Once inside the museum, you are provided with a virtual tour of the process of making sugar from cane juice to the end product which is sugar. The tour is executed pictorially by a free standing display and also by the use of interpretive signage on the machinery which is on display.
The tour depicts from the time the canes are dumped into the trough from where it was fed into the mill right through to the Aspinall pan where, after final evaporation the required density was achieved.
At this point the steam was turned off and the dense syrup was transferred to the oscillator. The effect of the oscillator was cooling the mass thus causing a fine grain to be formed. At the end of the day, the mass was run off into tanks in the ground.
After approximately two weeks, the mass would solidify and the grain would increase in size and would have to be dug out with a shovel. The mass consisted of sugar and molasses which was stored in hogsheads and left to drip, via holes in the bottom for about two weeks, the residue being the sugar.
The molasses which had dripped was used locally for stock feed and in the production of rum. Some was shipped to Canada and the USA as choice molasses. In these countries it was used as a high energy food for fishermen.