On a recent trip to a museum, I was excited to find these three coffee grinders. The one on the top right is an Enterprise coffee grinder. The other two were not clearly identified.
No matter. I found it fascinating to gaze on these wall-mounted and table-mounted grinders, knowing that they were probably very similar to the one my characters used in “A Dream Unfolding.” From what I understand, none of these offered the best even grind for coffee—nothing like us modern coffee snobs (yes I am one) prefer.
The picture below, is a commercial coffee grinder, like one that would have been found in a mercantile or restaurant. The poster in the background is of a label for H. McWilliams & Co.’s Celebrated Express Brand Baltimore Oysters (from the late 1800’s).
Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact dates of when these coffee grinders were produced or used, but from some quick research it looks like 1872 – the early 1900’s.
The thing that struck me the most about these coffee grinders is their sturdy construction. Most seem to be made from iron or other heavy metal materials and they seem to have held up well over time. They make my home coffee grinder look boring and cheap—even though it cost around $80.
Anyway, I always think its fun to see these great historical items, regardless of condition, and I love imagining what stories they could tell!