No specific name for this occurs in the Bible, except in the name Gethsemane (q.v.); but the machine must have been of common use among the Hebrews, and remains of them are still of frequent occurrence in Palestine (see Thomson, Land and Book, 1:307). The upright posts stand in pairs about two feet apart, having a deep groove in the inner-faces, running from top to bottom. In this groove moved the plank on the top of the olive "cheeses," forced down by a beam, as a lever, acting against the huge stone on the. top of the columns. There is also traceable the stone trough into which the oil ran, and close by are immense basins in which the olives were ground to a pulp by the stone wheel that was rolled over them. Other basins, smaller and more concave, may have served for treading out the olives with the feet (Mic 6:15), a process now never employed in Palestine. SEE MILL.
The modern machines for oil-making are thus described by Thomson (Land and Book, 1:523): "The ma'serah is worked by hand, and is only used for the olives which fall first in autumn, before the rains of winter raise the brooks which drive the mutruf. The olives for the ma'serah are ground to a pulp in circular stone basins by rolling a large stone wheel over them. The mass is then put into small baskets, of straw-worl, which are placed one upon another, between two upright posts, and pressed by a screw which moves in the beam or entablature from above, like the screw in the standing-press of a bookbinder, or else by a beam-lever. After this first pressing the pulp is taken out of the. baskets, put into large copper pans, and, being sprinkled with water, is heated over a fire, and again pressed as before. This finishes the process, and the oil is put away in jars to use, or in cisterns, to be kept for future market. The mutruf is driven like an ordinary mill, except that the apparatus for beating up the olives is an upright cylinder, with iron cross-bars at the lowerend. This cylinder turns rapidly in a hollow tube of stone work, into which the olives are thrown from above, and beaten to a pulp by the revolving cross-bars. The interior of the tube is kept hot, so that the mass is taken out below sufficiently heated to cause the oil to run freely. The same baskets are used as in the ma'serah, but the press is a beam-lever, with heavy weights at the end. This process is repeated a second time, as in the ma'serah, and then the refuse is thrown away."' He adds, "Beam-presses are also employed in the ma'serah to this day, and I think that the use of screws is quite modern. No process is employed for clarifying the oil, except to let it gradually settle on the lees in the cisterns or large jars in which it is kept. Certain villages are celebrated all over the country for producing oil particularly clear and sweet, and it commands a. high price for table use; Berjah, for example, above Nebi Yiinas, also Deir Mimas in the Merj Ayfin, and at Ttreh on Carmel; but the process is there very different. The olives are first mashed as in the mutrml;
and then stirred rapidly in a large kettle of hot water. The oil is thus separated, and rises to the top, when it is skimmed off without pressing. The refuse is then thrown into vats of cold water, and an inferior oil is gathered from the surface, which is only fit for making soap." SEE OIL.