During the 1800s, naval stores were Florida's
second largest industry. Pine tar and oil of turpentine
were vital to the caulking of sailing vessels.
Turpentine camps were abundant across Florida,
including Manatee County. Smaller turpentine stills
such as this one once were scattered throughout
Florida’s pinewood forests. These turpentine stills
processed the rosin or gum, which had been
extracted from the trees.
A turpentine still included a kettle and a condenser,
as well as troughs which would have been used for
refining the resin.
The kettle was part of a larger process. When in use, it would have been surrounded by a brick wall. Fire did not touch the kettle, but instead, heated the air in the cavity around it.
Replica turpentine still used across Florida during the 1800s