Butter Cooler; 1930s-1940s; A81.519


Puke Ariki


Butter Cooler

About this object

A cylindrical terracotta butter cooler with a sheet copper hinged door. The door can be fastened using a metal latch. The cooler has a shallow water tray at the top and a handle on either side. "TARANAKI/ BRICK & TILE/WAITARA" is stamped on the top of the cooler. Worries about rancid butter and meat soon evaporated for owners of this clever terracotta cooler. Cool cupboards like this one, with a copper door and latch, were made by John Howie at the Taranaki Brick & Tile Company during the 1930s and 1940s and their simple, effective design proved to be a practical way to keep food chilled. Water was poured into the shallow tray at the top of the cooler and as it gradually soaked through the body and evaporated, the interior was kept cold. While this product was known as a 'butter cooler', it would no doubt have acted as an all purpose refrigerator for many.

Date Made


Place Made

New Zealand

Medium and Materials

Terracotta, Copper

Object Type

Butter Cooler

Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

This object is from
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