Turnspit dogs were specifically bred to help in the kitchen rotating meat evenly. Sometimes cooks even threw hot coals into the wheels where the turnspit dogs ran to speed them up. The only days the dogs had off were Sundays, when they would accompany families to church. The invention of the spinning mechanism called the clockjack eliminated the need for the dogs, which went extinct by the 1900s.
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Key Facts In This Video
By the mid-1700s, turnspit dogs ran in wheels that rotated meat. 00:15
Turnspit dogs used for kitchen help in Medieval times would act as foot-warmers in church for their families. 00:50
The Latin name for turnspit dogs is Canis vertigus, which means "dizzy dog." 01:10