The Olive Press

| October 5, 2010
olive oil press ballenberg switzerland

Olive Oil Press at Ballenberg Museum, Switzerland

Gears, grease and weathered wood. A perfect medley of ingredients for an interesting photograph. Believe it or not, this monstrosity is for pulverizing tiny little olives. You know, those delicate little things we throw in our martinis. While exploring one of the barns at the Ballenberg Swiss Open Air Museum in Switzerland, I found this beauty. Fortunately there were not a lot of people around so I was able to take a pretty long exposure to capture all the fun detail in this fascinating piece of gear. As I learned, this press was used long ago to crush olives into lantern fuel. Lanterns were first used thousands of years ago using diverse substances such as beeswax, olive oil, fish oil and even nuts and cheese. In terms of what we consider the modern oil lantern, it is said that the Swiss inventor Ami Argand deserves the credit.

As this photo demonstrates, think of everything as a potential subject. Especially old worn out and rusty things. They are sometimes the best subjects of all due to their rich character and implied history. I think the wide angle lens adds a bit of flair here, spurring interest and helping to communicate the scale of the subject.

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Category: Photography, Switzerland, Travel

Comments (2)

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  1. AutumnLeaves says:

    I’d be like you, Lee – not wanting to miss a beat. That second photo is especially exquisite!

  2. Lee says:

    That’s the spirit Sherry. I totally agree!