Metal Sap Spout

Metal Sap Spout

Usage conditions apply
This metal sap spout was used by settlers in upper New York in the 19th century. After boring a hole into a maple tree, one would insert this spout to drain sap into a bucket. Sap was typically collected and boiled down to make syrup or sugar to use an alternative to the expensive processed, cane sugar. Later, when cane sugar became cheaper and took precedence in the American diet, maple syrup was more often produced for either personal use or for supplemental income.
Maple syrup production is one of the few agricultural processes in North America that was not a European import but learned from Native Americans. Sap is typically collected from the Sugar, Red or Black maple, though it can be collected from other tree types. Northeastern North America is the most common area for maple syrup production, with Vermont, New York and Maine leading production in the U.S. Once the sap is collected, it must be boiled down to reduce the water content. It can require anywhere from 20-50 liters of sap to make one liter of syrup, depending on the sugar content of the sap. Each tree is capable of producing 35-50 liters of sap.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Sap Spout
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 14.9 cm x 4.6 cm x 1 cm; 5 7/8 in x 1 13/16 in x 3/8 in
ID Number
accession number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Agriculture
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object