Mosser Lee donated several items of historical value to the Millston History Museum in Millston. The donation included several picture of early moss harvesting, some dating back to the late 1800s. The donation included detailed descriptions of harvesting methods over the years and a pegboard presentation describing the special attributes and uses for sphagnum moss over the years.
Moss harvesting has changed significantly over the 170 years that long fibered sphagnum moss has been harvested in Jackson County. Modern harvest equipment replace hand tools which were used until Mosser Lee employees and a local machine shop developed a mechanized moss harvesting machine.
The method used for baling the dry moss has also changed over the years. Moss was pressed into 3.5 cubic foot bales using a wooden lever-press. The press was operated by one person, sometimes a child in the moss family. Corner supporting sticks were placed in the bottom two corners and the open deck was filled with dry moss. Two sticks were placed on the top of the moss in the corners and the chamber top was slid on with the lever handle pulled down. While in the press, the formed bale was tied with baling wire in three places to hold the sticks in place.
Few moss presses exist. They have not been used for almost 30 years. Today, moss is pressed by hand into a plastic bale bag, so there is no commercial use for the moss press.
The Millston History Museum wanted to highlight the area’s historical sphagnum moss industry and requested historical artifacts from Mosser Lee, the only remaining company specializing in sphagnum moss products. David Epstein, President of Deli, Inc. and the Mosser Lee Division was happy to donate the artifacts to the museum along with several hand tools and pictures of the harvesting methods long gone.