Who doesn’t enjoy a freshly ground cup of coffee in the morning? Evidently many people do, because there are coffee shops on most corners. Products have even been invented to make coffee grinding at home an easy chore, but where did the personal coffee grinder get started?
History of the Coffee Grinder
For as far back as the ancient Egyptians people have been grinding coffee beans into a powdery substance that they could prepare and drink. The initial coffee grinders were made of a wooden, stone, or iron mortar and pestle. You can find in many museums examples of the exquisite bronze mortar and pestles of the seventeenth century that belonged to the wealthy and affluent of the times. Man were produced at the hands of German, Dutch, and English artisans. Coffee grinders were produced in various forms and underwent improvements by the hands of several inventors. The basic grinder and mill formations were canister, upright, box or lap, wall post, side mounted, and double wheel.
The coffee grinder evolved over the century in some key ways. Grinders created by the Turkish included a pocket and grinder combination with a folding cup. Richard Dearman was granted a patent for an English coffee grinder in 1789. Thomas Bruff Sr. was granted a patent for the first American improved coffee grinder in 1798. His work lead to the wall mounted coffee mill. American Alexander Duncan Moore was granted a patented for an improved grinder in 1813.
The Value Placed on Coffee Grinders
In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City you will find on display a wood and brass coffee grinder decorated in red and green jewels. There are also inlays of ivory and brass to form and exquisite pattern. The mistress of Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour owned a golden coffee grinder in 1765. The affluent purchased coffee grinders and coffee mills of great beauty.
Collecting antique Coffee Grinders
Most collectors of coffee grinders look for mills that were created between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Some of the popular U. S. manufacturers that collectors are sought after are:
Logan and Stonebridge
Wrightsville hardware Company
Sought after European manufacturers include:
DeVe – Holland
Elma – Spain
PeDe (Peter Dienes)
The hobby of collecting antique coffee grinders is growing in popularity, these pieces are not just beautiful to look upon for there craftsmanship, but they are useful in nature. There are numerous books and online resources for those who are interested in this hobby of collection. Consider
All About Coffee by William Harrison Ukers (a google book)
The MacMillan Index of Antique Coffee Mills by Joseph E. MacMillan
Coffee House Inc.
As far as in style and taste coffee grinder collectors filll the modern brands don’t stand up to their predecessors.
Source: A.C. M. E. Association of Coffee Mill Enthusiasts