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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Grand Portage in Cook County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

North West Company Fur Press

 
 
North West Company Fur Press Marker image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, September 5, 2019
1. North West Company Fur Press Marker
Inscription.  The lever fur press, much like the reconstructed model before you, was frequently used at fur trading posts operated by the North West Company. It was simple to operate and could be constructed from wood found near the post. Fur pelts, with fur sides together, were stacked inside the box of the lever press. Access to the box was obtained by removing one or more wooden side panels. When 50 to 60 pelts had been placed inside of the box, several voyageurs pulled down down on the free end of the pole, compressing the pelts into a bundle weighing approximately 90 pounds. While the furs were being compressed, a voyageur would tie the bundle securely with several pieces of rope or straps of leather.

The wedge fur press, much like the lever press, was also used at small fur trade posts. Fur pelts were placed in a box similar to that used with the lever press. The pelts held within this box were compressed by a wooden plate placed on top of them. The wooden plate was forced down on the stack of furs by wedges which were pounded in from opposite sides of the box.

The screw fur press was manufactured

North West Company Fur Press image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, September 5, 2019
2. North West Company Fur Press
Edge of marker is on extreme left.
at iron foundries to the east or in England. This style of fur press was expensive to manufacture and heavy to transport. For these reasons, it was most likely used only at large fur trading depots such as Grand Portage and Fort William which had access to Lake Superior.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers.
 
Location. 47° 57.72′ N, 89° 41.066′ W. Marker is in Grand Portage, Minnesota, in Cook County. Marker can be reached from Mill Creek Road 0.2 miles south of Store Road. Located within the Grand Portage National Monument. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 112 Mill Creek Road, Grand Portage MN 55605, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Birchbark Canoe (within shouting distance of this marker); North West Company Depot (within shouting distance of this marker); Voyageurs at Grand Portage (within shouting distance of this marker); Guard the Gate (within shouting distance of this marker); The North West Company (within shouting distance of this marker); A Warehouse for Furs, Trade Goods, and Now—Canoes (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Grand Portage
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(about 300 feet away); Naming This Place (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Grand Portage.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 18, 2020, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 46 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 18, 2020, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
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Jan. 21, 2021