Sturtevant Vegetable Dryers, June 1917


Sturtevant Vegetable Dryers

There is a great deal of waste in farm products. Vegetables come in such quantities at certain seasons that it is impossible to get them to market quickly enough and a great deal of material is spoiled.

To partially overcome these difficulties the canning business has been developed but this has many limitations. Canned vegetables contain not only the full weight of the fresh vegetables but considerable additional weight. There is therefore, considerable excess of freight in bringing the material to market. Canned stuff is also large in bulk so that there is no saving in storage space. Furthermore, especially at the present time, the cost of cans is getting prohibitive, and the difficulty of obtaining them is so great that unless vegetables are preserved by means other than canning, there will be a serious shortage, or extremely high prices, or both.

DRIED VEGETABLES IDEAL. The ideal solution of the problem is to dry the vegetables. This process not only eliminates waste but has none of the limitations of canning. Properly dried vegetables are just as palatable and contain just as much nourishment as fresh vegetables and will keep indefinitely. Prunes and evaporated apples have been a success for years but this is the first opportunity the public has had of purchasing a complete satisfactory dryer for vegetables.

DRYING SAVES FREIGHT AND REDUCES LOSS. At present railroad traffic is congested, freight rates are being increased and the difficulty of obtaining cars and of moving them is getting more serious every day. This militates against the distribution of foods and a great deal of material goes bad on account of the delays of shipping. If drying is adopted it is unnecessary to rush goods to market to prevent them from spoiling. Furthermore, a car of dried vegetables contains about six times as much actual nourishment as a car of fresh vegetables and if it should be two months in transit no harm would be done. This latter is of course out of the question with fresh produce.

The freight saving too is of material importance, since the weight of any given amount of dried food is reduced to less than one-sixth of the original weight. Even the paper mills find that it pays to dry the water out of pulp to reduce freight bills and the financial advantage of drying food products in the same way is much greater.

USES UP SMALL VEGETABLES. There is another extremely important feature about dried vegetables and that is the ability to sell material that otherwise is not readily marketable. Onions less than 1¼ inches cannot be sold at any reasonable price and are usually wasted. Undersized potatoes and other vegetables cannot be marketed directly and can be used only indirectly, such as for making starch, etc. If, however, undersized vegetables are properly dried and prepared they are just as valuable and as easily sold as the larger ones. The smaller vegetables are usually put up in such form that the difference in size is not of importance to the consumer.

It is very evident therefore, that there is a tremendous market for dried vegetables and that the public today are far more willing to try them than ever before. Furthermore, it is certain that the convenience and comparative cheapness of dried vegetables will create a business demand for them after once being introduced.


The Sturtevant Dryer has been developed to meet the standards of everyone. It is moderate in first cost, simple to operate, produces the highest grade products, handles different kinds of vegetables at one time, and does not require specially trained men to operate it.

Before the vegetables are dried they must be prepared. This is done by a paring machine and in a cutter. White potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, onions, etc., are first put into a peeler such as the Blakeslee peeler from which they pass to a Zimmerman cutter where they are cut either into slices or squares, depending upon which shape is desired. In the case of pumpkin, celery, etc., vegetables must be thoroughly cleaned and cut up. After being cut up the pieces are spread thinly on wire trays 36 inches in diameter.

To secure the very best results and to make the vegetable as palatable as fresh vegetables, it is necessary to partially cook them. This is done in the steam box cooker which is shown at the right in both the photograph and in the diagram. The cooker is a steel box with racks for holding ten trays. By opening a valve in the steam pipe, steam is admitted to this cooker for a time varying from two minutes for onions to six minutes for potatoes. The steam should then be shut off and the vegetables are ready to enter the dryer proper.

BULLETIN No. 1052.

June, 1917. [page 2]


Everything to left of arrow A, except belts and countershaft, is furnished as a complete unit by B. F. Sturtevant Company. Trays, tray brackets and cooker also furnished by B. F. Sturtevant Company. The remainder, which comprises compartments, is built by the customer and is constructed of matched boards covered with wall board. Drawings and instructions for building the compartments are supplied with each order.

B. Handle of Deflecting Damper.     C. Wall board held on by laths.     D. Countershaft and belts furnished by customer. [page 3]

The dryer itself is a comparatively simple affair and consists of six compartments approximately six feet high and about 3 feet 6 inches square, each compartment having a door. Racks are provided inside each compartment to hold twenty trays placed about 3½ inches apart.


It will be readily seen that the dryer compartments can be built by any carpenter with the blue prints we furnish with each apparatus. The round trays are made of steel wire screens heavily galvanized. These screens allow a good circulation of air. Trays are furnished by us. If the customer desires to supply his own trays they may be made of wooden frames with screens fastened securely to them. Arrangements are made so that the trays may be turned around occasionally, insuring absolutely even drying and a constant high quality product.

At the left hand end is the Sturtevant equipment for heating and circulating the air. The drying action is accomplished by forcing a circulation of warm air through the various compartments containing vegetables.

The Sturtevant Fan shown at the extreme left draws the air to be heated through the steam pipe radiators. These heaters are divided into sections so that the air temperature can be regulated by shutting off some of the steam valves. On leaving the fan the air enters the central space between the two lines of compartments and is admitted through openings into the individual compartments. After passing across the trays of vegetables, the air reaches return ducts above and below the compartments. Passing down the return ducts the air goes back through the radiators to the fan and is recirculated. The air however is not entirely recirculated but provision is made for supplying fresh air and for removing air that becomes saturated with moisture. It will be seen in diagram that part of the air which comes back over the top of the compartments after having passed over the vegetables is removed from the dryer by an exhaust fan. The exact amount removed is regulated by a "deflecting damper" shown in diagram. The control handle of the damper can be seen in the photographic illustration.

It will be readily seen that the Sturtevant dryer presents the advantage that each compartment may be filled with a different kind of vegetable, the vegetables which dry fastest being removed as soon as they are dry, fresh being put in their place. This does not interfere

CAPACITY OF DRYER, Based on Operating 24 Hours Per Day.

Kind of Vegetable

Number of Dryer Loads Per 24 Hours

Weight of Raw Material after Being Prepared Pounds Per Load

Final Weight of Dried Material Pounds Per Load

Weight of Raw Material before Being Prepared Pounds Per Day

Final Weight of Dried Material Pounds Per Day

White Potatoes






Sweet Potatoes









































[page 4]

with the slower drying vegetables and all kinds of produce may be handled at the same time. If there should be a scarcity of material, some of the compartments may be closed down by shutting a damper so that there is no waste of heat. We present herewith a table giving the capacity of the six compartment dryer on various kinds of vegetables. It must, of course, be understood that this is not a complete list but is given simply for purposes of estimate. On application we will give the capacity for any particular kind of vegetable not contained in this list.

TIME OF DRYING. Different vegetables require different lengths of time to dry. Potatoes, Onions and Sweet Potatoes dry very rapidly in about 3 to 4 hours, while pumpkin takes very much longer. The table shows how many times the dryer can be loaded and emptied every 24 hours for the different kinds of vegetables.


An equipment of this kind costs approximately as follows: -- Sturtevant Apparatus consisting of the circulating fan, the exhaust fan, the heater or radiator, all the sheet steel casing and connections, the steel cooking box, 150 trays built of heavy galvanized iron and iron brackets for trays; $2030.00, f.o.b. cars, Readville, Mass.

The compartments, which are constructed of wood by the purchaser, are of 7/8" matched boards with proper studding and are covered on the outside by wall board, making an airtight, durable and thoroughly first class system. The wall board is held on by wooden laths placed around the edges. The cost of this part complete has never been more than $400.00, and this is a very generous allowance under almost any condition.

The cutter and peeler mentioned above may be purchased for the sum of $350.00, f.o.b. Chicago, or any other satisfactory peeler and cutter similar to those used in canneries may be bought.

In addition there should be an engine or motor and line shaft for driving the two fans. If it is not desired to use motor driven peelers and cutters, these machines also will be driven from the line shaft. The two fans complete take 7 horsepower, so that a 10 horsepower motor or engine driving the line shaft is ample. This will cost less than $500.00.

Steam is needed for the pipe coil radiators and it requires approximately 20 horsepower to supply these. If exhaust steam is available it may be used in the heaters since 5 lbs. pressure is sufficient. If it is necessary to install a new boiler, the boiler and the piping to the heater and return, will cost approximately $750.00.

It will be seen therefore, that the total cost of an installation of this kind is less than $4200.00., even if everything has to be purchased new, that is boilers, motors, etc.

It costs approximately 30c. per bushel of potatoes for drying and preparing, this covering overhead, depreciation, labor charges, etc. This is based on using the dryer twenty-four hours per day, running presumably three shifts. The preparing machinery however, is of such a size that all the material may be prepared in nine hours. The amount of help required is three dryer men for the three shifts, one man for the preparing machinery, one man in charge of the plant and one common laborer for handling the material as it is received and delivered. If more than one unit is installed the labor costs per a bushel of output are reduced.

THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY NOW. This is the first vegetable dryer at a reasonable price that has ever been put on the market and now is the time to install one. They not only reduce the cost of living, but are also a very profitable investment.

Furthermore, this is an opportunity for local organizations to establish community dryers. The dryer may be installed in connection with a small factory, with a creamery or as an independent plant. In the South it can be used in connection with a cotton gin so that power is obtainable and steam for heating.

All parties considering the installation of a dryer should write to us at once stating fully the details of their requirements and whether steam or electric power is available. In this way each independent plant may be exactly suited to the conditions.

Conditions differ in various parts of the country but practically all selections can profitably market not only the regular dried vegetables but also soup mixtures and similar mixed products.

B. F. STURTEVANT COMPANY, Hyde Park, Boston, Mass., U.S.A. [page 5]

Every Woman by working alone or as one of a group can materially help in the Food Situation by drying vegetables.

Tin cans are almost impossible to get. Glass is expensive.

If you live in a city [cooperate] with your grocer to save all surplus coming into the market and wherever possible work with a group of women at a School Center, a Settlement, or in some central place. Ask the gas or electric light company to put in a plate large enough to hold a dryer and give you a commercial rate for heat.

If you live in the country use the Parent Teacher Clubs, the Grange, the Church Society as a drying club, meet at each others houses on certain days or use the church kitchen, it is an excellent place and has plenty of room to work in. In either case organize your group so that some have charge of getting the vegetables and fruits, some attend the dryer, keeping it going every day, while others pack and label.

We will buy every pound you dry, supply you with paper containers, tell you how to prepare each fruit and vegetable, send price lists on slicing, peeling or other machinery, helping you in every way we can.

Almost every country in Europe needs food. The Armenians, the Syrians, the people in Palestine -- and soon our own men and women in trench and hospital camp will be dependent on us for food.

It's up to us! Put vegetables into the dryer on the stove after dinner and let it work until [it's] time to get breakfast next morning.



Will you dry ten pounds of vegetables this summer as "your bit" in supplying food for the Allies and the suffering people who need it?

Work with your grocer and the Food Conservation Committee of your town.

We will buy the vegetables you dry and see that they are sent to the proper authorities for shipment.

For full information in New England write

The Conference for a Better New England,
1306 Massachusetts Avenue [page 7]

Dry Vegetables in Your Home

American Service Army-Series No. 2

[image of Uncle Sam]      WILL


["]The drying of foods is one of the great conservation projects which the United States Government is putting forward to preserve the food supply of the land. There must be drying in the house, in the clubs, in the communities and municipalities."

Will YOU

Get a dryer for your own use, -- Combine with your neighbors and put one in the school center or church kitchen -- or get one and give it to a group of women who will use it?

[image] SIZES
18x26, Capacity 1 to 2 bushels, $6.00.
24x36, Capacity 2 to 4 bushels, $12.00


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