The pictures below show the process for making oatcakes.
Use the arrows to make your way through.


The mix, or batter, is poured onto a layer of oatmeal on the riddling board. It is then riddled which makes it into a circular pool floating on the oatmeal. It is then transferred to the machine, which changes it to an oval shape.
The term riddling may derive from the act of sieving which is a similar action (but it might not).

The Machine

The Machine The oatcake throwing machine was patented in the 19th century and comprises a truck on rails and a linen belt driven from the truck axle.
Working alone Alan would produce one oatcake every 40 secs.
With a second person "turning", the rate would increase to one every 25 secs.

Throwing the Oatcake

Throwing the Oatcake The oatcake is thrown from the machine onto a hotplate. This was originally coal fired but was converted to gas in the 1960's. The steel hotplate was treated with a "face" of shelac which makes makes it easier to "turn". The oatcake is stretched to its full size in this process.

Turning the Oatcake

Turning the Oatcake The oatcake is scraped off the face with a flexible knife about 40cm long by 5cm wide picked up by hand and transferred to the second hotplate.

Finishing the Oatcake

Finishing the Oatcake After turning the cooking process is finished off on the cooler second hotplate seen here in the foreground. In the back ground the face is being prepared for another oatcake, already on the machine, to be thrown.

Cooling on the "Cratch"

Cooling on the Cratch After the oatcakes have finished cooking on the hotplate they are removed to the cratch where they are left to cool.
Cratch is an old english word meaning a rack for food.

Packed in the Basket

Packed in the basket When cool the oatcakes were then packed, in piles of a dozen, in boxes or baskets ready for delivery.
The baskets were made at a workshop for blind people in Burnley and was a preferred storage as it allowed the contents to breathe.