Cast cylindrical food press with wheel handle, mounted on base supported by four scrolled feet; cylindrical receptacle rests in spouted dish and covered by flat lid, and surrounded by arc-shaped frame; large circular, threaded dowel extends from center of receptacle through frame, and surmounted by wheel handle, which when turned facilitated pressing of duck meat. Frame and feet decorated with molded scrolls and scales, reminiscent of duck feathers and feet.
Pressed duck was a fashionable French delicacy created during the early nineteenth century in or around Rouen. The dish, known as “duck in blood sauce” (in France, canard à la rouennaise) was prepared with a duck press, like the one here, and became an important hallmark of classical French cuisine. By the late nineteenth century, the dish was identified as the specialty of the Tour d’Argent restaurant in Paris. Wealthy Americans were enthralled by the dish, and when overseas flocked to the restaurant to enjoy it. Tour d’Argent recorded each time the dish was prepared, and gave patrons cards displaying the number served to them. Franklin Roosevelt, for example, enjoyed duck number 112,151.
This duck press belonged to Angelo Zuccotti (1909–1998), the head maître d’hôtel at New York’s El Morocco supper club during the 1950s and 1960s.
A rushlight consisted of rush stripped of its outer skin and dried, then saturated in hot grease or fat and burned for light.