The Cider Press

A very intriguing and certainly the most unusual structure in Swiss Heritage Village is the Hauenstein family cider press, built during the Civil War (1861-1864) by F. William Hauenstein in Huntington County, Indiana.

Mr. Hauenstein was a Swiss immigrant who settled near his brother in Huntington in 1856. There he bought a farm which contained a large apple orchard. The huge trees on the Hauenstein farm became the timbers used for framing his cider press. Mr. Hauenstein built his press, which is still the largest in the world, purely from his recollection of those he had seen in Switzerland. In a newspaper interview just 2 years before his death he stated that he had figured out how to make the nut and screw assembly function to raise and lower the pressing beam when it came to him in a dream.

The main pressing beam is cut from a single white oak log. The beam measures 30 inches square and is 30 feet long and weighs approximately two tons. The log is estimated to have been over 300 years old when it was cut down about 1860. The beam was fashioned using only hand tools, and one can still see the axe marks on the beam.

The descendants of Mr. Hauenstein are happy to see the cider press a part of Swiss Heritage Village. During the summer of 1992, the press and barn were dismantled and moved to Berne. The press was then reconstructed and the barn rebuilt around it. As much of the original barn timbers and framing were used as possible in the reconstruction, so it is essentially the same barn which housed the press in Huntington.

The Cider Press at Work