This map is basically a creative interpretation of the Coffee Belt, which indicates where coffee currently is grown, but it also sheds some light on its origins as well which is to say, Africa, and more specifically Ethiopia.
As you will see in the following video, Ethiopians have a very long and intimate relationship with coffee which is almost a religious experience unto itself, and they know countless ways to prepare it as well.
To this day, Ethiopians take their coffee very seriously, and even have a ceremony dedicated to coffee, which involves roasting fresh green coffee beans and creating an intoxicating waft of coffee aroma before serving up some of the finest coffee youll ever taste.
Maybe youve heard this tale and maybe not, but it is looked to as the origin story of coffee, and it features a simple goatherd named Kaldi who once lived in Ethiopia in around 800 A.D. and traveled around with his flock of goats.
As that tale continues on, monks, known to be attuned with the divine spirit, took a hint from Kaldi and began sampling the berries. They used them for different purposes, such as a popular coffee-derived wine at the time.
It wasnt long after coffee was discovered as something we could consume in various forms that humans started to experiment with it. Part of that experimentation meant grinding up the coffee cherry seeds, not to mention cooking or roasting them.
As these mortar & pestle combos were the primitive versions of coffee grinders back in our history, they were used more out of pragmatism. They had not yet entered their highly decorative phase as you will see.
Yet, certain stones or pieces of wood were selected to fulfill their purposes obviously people must have had their favorites. You might say this was the beginning of style when it came to coffee grinders.
These grinders were (and still are) stunningly made. They are sold around the world, with many copycats trying to capture authentic Turkish and Persian design elements, which have now been around for hundreds of years.
One example of such a design improvement is that they were able to design the tall, cylindrical coffee grinders we see everywhere now today. They introduced a functional grind receptacle, as well as other new types of handles and hidden pockets.
This was also around the same time that Middle Eastern kitchens were being updated to include such things as coffee bean-roasting braziers, which would slow roast beans over a flame and be ornately designed as well.
Not only this, but large, elaborately decorated and hand-crafted Turkish serving sets began to appear, and soon, between the coffee & spice grinders, their unique serving sets, and the coffee pots,coffee is very much their drink.
A bold claim, to be sure, but it certainly lends credence to the fact that coffee has, by now, spread throughout different parts of the world, becoming popular nearly wherever it goes, and this includes England by the 17th century.
Finally, we come to the United States in coffee grinder history. The first U.S. patent for a grinder was issued to Thomas Bruff. He was a dentist living in Maryland. Heres a fun fact; he was Thomas Jeffersons dentist.
After using the current grinder design of the time, he brought about improvements. In 1913, he applied for a patent for a grinder with teeth powered by electricity. (That certainly sounds a bit scary!)
I always have people asking me about the availability of the glass hoppers for the wall mount coffee mills. I usually don't have any to spare as I would be giving up the chance to put together a complete grinder for myself. The cast iron bodies are fairly plentiful, but the glass hoppers are one of the parts that was frequently broken. I know of no replacements currently being made and it's not something you can pick up at Wally World so their value is almost the same as a complete grinder.
These are a good replacement for the Arcade No. 3 and many other coffee grinder catch cups. They measure 3 7/8" tall 2 3/4" across the top and 2 1/4" arcoss the base. An original Arcade No. 3 cup is 3 3/4" x 2 3/4" x 2 1/4". It is shown beside an original No. 3 catch cup when you click here. These are embossed with a Horseshoe and Star in the base and are textured near the top. I only have a few of these on hand so please refresh the page to make sure they are still available.
These measure right around 3 3/4" tall by 3" across the top and 2 1/4" across the base which is a slightly larger top diameter than an original No. 3 catch cup which measure 3 3/4" x 2 3/4" x 2 1/4". When you click on the picture it is shown mounted in an Arcade #25 and an Arcade #3, also in the middle of 4 original catch cups (Arcade early generic, Arcade No. 3, This Ball Jelly Jar, an Enterprise #100 and a Parker). This MAY work on an Arcade No. 1 if the lower section of the glass top lip was ground slightly but the rubber grommets are usually too brittle to use.(Click to See on a No. 1)
Shown beside an original No. 4 catch cup when you click on the picture. These measure 3 3/4" tall and 2 3/4" across the top and are a very close match to an original #4 cup. I have a very limited supply of these.
Shown between two original No. 3 catch cups when you click on the picture. These measure 3 1/2" tall and 2 3/4" across the top. These are 1/4" shorter than an original Arcade cup so are not as tightly held in the spring mechanism as an original.
Shown beside an original Arcade catch cup when you click on the picture. These are a good match for the early paneled generic Arcade catch cups and work well on the Arcade No. 25, Golden Rule, Monarch and others that used the early style catch cups. Some cups have stars with the horseshoe and some have other symbols.
These measure 3" across the top and will fit the same grinders as the cup with panels shown above. They are a little large for the later Arcade No. 3's as they will slightly over-hang on the cast iron lip where the base of the grinder meets the top of the glass, but they will fit some of the earlier No. 3's which were made with a wider base.
This is one of the few cups I have found that will actually fit and hang between the guides on an Arcade No. 1. I only have a few of these and I don't think I'll be able to locate more any time soon. I found one glass in this batch that has a man in the moon etched into the glass. If this would interest you rather than a plain one let me know.
This is a cast alloy copy of the oval catch cup that fits the Enterprise 00 mill, Landers Frary and Clark 001 mill and maybe some others. It has the same look as an original and can be purchased with either a semi-gloss black enamel or in a red with a black interior for the LF&C.
This is a cast alloy copy of the flat back catch cup that fits the Arcade X-Ray, Arcade Royal, Arcade Fruit Jar and maybe some others. It has the same look as an original and is finished in semi-gloss black enamel.
These will fit No.'s 1,2,3 and 4 Arcade mills, Parker, Later Enterprise 100, Rev-o-noc, Wrightsville Peerless, Brighton Premier, Steinfeld, and some others that I'm sure I'll think of later.
The first sign of a antique coffee grinder, or mill, as enthusiasts call them, is the handle. Believe it or not, coffee is older than electricity. The first electric coffee grinder was created in 1938 but didn't become popular until the 1950's, which is when the hand powered coffee mills stopped being produced. Antique coffee grinders are always hand powered. Another sure sign of a antique coffee mill is the materials it's made out of. Antique mills are only made from glass, cast iron or wood. If you find a coffee mill made from plastic, that is a sure sign its post 1950 and it's a replica.
When hunting for antique coffee mills, the brand can tell you what country it was from and give you an idea of what decade. Most coffee mill manufacturers printed their names right on the front of the coffee mill. If it's not on the front, then the brand should be stamped on the back. Another important detail to look at is the serial number; without looking up the serial number, telling the exact year of a antique coffee mill can be difficult. The serial number is usually located with the brand stamp. The MacMillan Index of Antique Coffee Mills is book that most mill collectors keep to reference serial numbers.
Chances are if you are in the US coffee mill hunting you are more likely to come across American manufactures. The most popular manufactures that you are most likely to come across are Charles Parker Co., Fray & Clark and Arcade King, who were all Connecticut based companies. A Pennsylvania based manufacturer called Logan & Strobridge is well known for making high quality cast iron mills dating all the way back to 1890. The Charles Parker Co. made mills from 1860 to 1950. In 1900 Charles Parker Co. started marking their mills with the initials C-P-C and then changed to Parker after 1920. Arcade King stopped making mills after 1910 but because their models were such high quality cast iron, these old mills are still rather common in antique shops.
Some of the most popular of the European manufacturers are; Kenrick from England, Spong from England, PeDe from Germany, Armin Trosser from Germany, DeVe from Holland, M-S-F from Spain and Elma from Spain. The Kenrick company from England manufactured the same model of cast iron mill from 1850 to 1948, these could easily all look the same if it wasn't for the serial number. However with the PeDe brand from Germany, all their mills are easily identifiable because they are all made from white glass and say "koffee" (that is German for coffee) on the front. The font PeDe used changed every couple of years making a mill from 1940 look very different from a mill made in 1920. DeVe in Holland is another company that is known for having art work painted on their glass mills, making them instantly recognizable.The style of art work will often be the sign of the decade in which the mill was made.
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When assessing a coffee grinders age to an exact year, you should understand that this may not be an easy task, as there have been many, many makes and models of coffee grinder produced all around the world, designed in all manner of styles, and made from all different types of material from wood, to cast iron, to brass, or even porcelain.
These materials do give us some idea of when and where the coffee grinder may have come from, but in order to know for sure, we might like to have some familiarity with the overall history of coffee grinders, as well as the evolution of coffee grinders over time in terms of how they function and why they function the way they do.
We should also be aware of the possibility that our coffee grinder may not even strictly be a coffee grinder, as there are other types of food grinders out there, like spice grinders, or pepper mills, that might look very similar to a coffee grinder.
In addition to these names, there are more manufacturers besides these, and this is why it takes antique dealers sometimes their entire lives to become familiar enough with one particular type of item, such as a coffee grinder, enough to know how to solve conclusively the mystery of its origins.
With coffee grinders dating back thousands of years to Ethiopia in the 9th century, when they used a mortar and pestle to grind the roasted beans up, there have been many iterations of coffee grinders over the centuries, around the world.
Now, as to the coffee grinder that you presumably are gazing upon while reading this article, the first thing you can do to date your coffee grinder is to look for things like names that may appear on it, model numbers, and especially the DATE, or any sort of inscription that you can find on it anywhere. If you fin the date bingo youve got it!
Many coffee grinders made in the last 200 years likely will have some sort of make or model number on them, to give you a clue as to their origins. Once you have a make or a model number, this is a great start to finding out how old it is.
Here, for example, is an old wooden box grinder mill with some decorated components, made from what appears to be iron, with a knobby wooden handle and some lovely old wood appeal, including a drawer at the bottom where the grinds are collected. Chances are it still works and can still grind coffee. Now thats quality!
Options include you can take it to someone who is an expert in antiques, you can go to the library and dig through books on the topic, or you can do what you did to find this very article youre reading now, and Google it.
In this particular case, we know from reading up on some historical online archives about the Waddel Company, that this is a late 19th century piece, probably dating to somewhere around 1900. Weve seen this very model fetch about $50 USD on an online marketplace.
Now, our question to you would be, is there a Middle Eastern connection in your family? Because this coffee grinder certainly would appear to have that type of origin, as it matches the look and build of many a Turkish coffee mill that weve seen.
So, might we safely assume that this coffee grinder might be that old? Could it be? There is no sign of any name or model number that we can see on the above picture. How likely is it that this brass coffee mill dates back to theBattle of Marj Dabiq?
Before we go ahead and assume that this is a 500 year old coffee grinder, there are a few things to consider. If youve read our Best Turkish Coffee Mills article, you can see that even modern Turkish coffee grinders adhere to the old style that theyve had for centuries.
People from all over the world, to this day, love a coffee grinder that features the beautiful hand-crafted qualities and brass make that the Turks of centuries past held dear, and so even the new models often look just like the old models. This doesnt really help with the dating process, does it?
Your best bet would be to find someone who specializes in antiques from that part of the world, and see what they have to say, because, without any features that can directly point to a time or place of origin, you are simply guessing as to the date of said item.
When you take into consideration that many manufacturers still to this day like the antique look of certain products, and will go out of their way to emulate it, and then you consider that, like the world of fine art copycats, there are actually fake antiques out there, the onus is on the seller to prove that their item is a true collectible.
At the same time, if youre reading this, this isnt to say your coffee grinder is not an antique. It certainly may be, and it is more likely than not that if you came by this coffee grinder honestly, and it would appear to be old, it probably is.
For instance, if your coffee grinder has the manufacturers name on it, you are in luck, and it shouldnt be that hard to date with a bit of research into who that manufacturer is or was, and where they came from, and when they were operating.
Fortunately, coffee grinder manufacturers just love to put their name and logo right on the grinder. Its rarer that a coffee grinder has no such label, than to have a label. We have the human ego to thank for this!
Beyond labels found right on the product, or access to a very knowledgeable antique coffee grinder expert who can tell you something significant offhand, your job of dating your coffee grinder then gets exponentially harder, but maybe not impossible.
Even a certain type of wood, or a particular shape, or some sort of embellishment might give away the origin of your coffee grinder, but it would be up to you as the person who possesses this item to look into it to an extent where a conclusive answer may be reached.
All in all, theres no magic formula for determining the age of a coffee grinder. It is as simple as looking for clues on the grinder itself, and, beyond that, it requires a fair amount of deductive reasoning. Let us know if you have any stories about antique coffee grinders in the comments below, and how you managed to date yours, if you were able to do so!
Clear glass round canister, with screw top. Chilled steel grinders with screw adjustment, wall bracket gear casing made of cast iron. Cup holder fitted with spring to hold cup (not included) under grinder, making it air tight. Hopper screws on to frame and can be removed for cleaning. No. 3 Crystal Capacity of hopper 1 pound, height over all 17 inches.
Clear glass round canister, with screw top. Chilled steel grinders with screw adjustment, wall bracket gear casing made of cast iron, japanned. Cup holder fitted with spring to hold cup (not included) under grinder, making it air tight. Hopper screws on to frame and can be removed for cleaning.
One of the most popular antique coffee mills today is Crystal No 3 from Arcade. Not only that, it is the most desired model of the entire Arcade coffee mill line among collectors today along with No 4. For that reason, Crystal No 3 parts are easier to find compared to other Arcades antique coffee mills.