Thursday, March 5, 2009

No. 65 Imperial

So, as I was making my way to Canada last week, I found myself accidentally inputting "A-N-T-I-Q-U-E" into my GPS. Within seconds, a series of antique malls coordinates were generated. At that point, we accidentally veered off course (only a few miles, I swear) and accidentally found ourselves looking at items from years past. I even accidentally bought a few things.

In the first room of the antique mall, I found myself holding the mill you see in the photo. A few things caught my eye. All metal. Stamped (as in "machine stamped", not postage stamped). Barely 6 inches on a side, but slightly taller (maybe 8 inches). A graceful curve to the grinding handle with a wooden knob. A gentle crank of the handle was rewarded with one of smoothest turns I have ever experienced on an antique mill. Wow! So far, so good, right? Yeah, okay, no label or mark to easily identify the maker, but that is not a bad thing. One last thing I had to check: the condition of the drawer.

One little problem: no drawer.

Now think about this for a minute. If the coffee beans go in the top and are ground, somehow, you have to get them from the mill, right? A simple flip and I had my answer - tucked into the bottom of the mill was a metal receiving cup.

Despite the lack of a label, the all-metal mill with a recessed coffee receiver in the bottom should make my task of identifying the maker pretty easy, right?

It did. According to the MacMillan Index, only one other mill had a receiver in the bottom. So, this one had to be the No. 65 Imperial Mill from Lalance and Grosjean out of Brooklyn, New York. In fact, this mill received Patent Number 312,493 on February 17, 1885! Unfortunately, this is where my history starts to fall short. Just because a patent was rewarded in 1885 doesn't mean it was made in that year. I know from the entry that the company switched back and forth from peacetime construction to wartime construction as the needs arose (over the course of their manufacturing, they ultimatley provided equipment and supplies for FOUR wars - Civil War, Spanish-American War, and both World Wars). But I will never be able to know when this particular mill was made. 1886? 1910? 1894? They are all equally plausible. All I know is that many were made over the decades.

From the standpoint of a collector, I think I did good. No label? Oh well. But, everything is intact and in good shape. The receiver is there (a big bonus in my world) and everything looks about as good as one would hope given the age (we'll say 100 years old). Quoting the Good Book - "...a unique and wonderfully collectable coffee mill..."

Total purchase price? $30.00

1 comment:

Uniquities Home Accents said...

I recently purchased this same mill from a garage sale for $20. It does have the label but time has definitely not been kind to it. Lol