Wednesday, July 6, 2011

FL & C No. 101

No, I have not lost my mind.  The title of this entry is not some whacked-out code, gibberish and random keystrokes.

That coffee mill I mentioned in my West Virginia post?  I have a name.....

Frary, Landers, and Clark Model No. 101.  My title isn't so weird now, is it?

Here she is:

So, what is the scoop on FL & C?  It is short, simple, and goes something like this...

Landers is a carpenter and Dewey is a metalworker.  1842? They partner and form "Landers and Dewey".  Dewey drops dead.  They become "Landers and Smith" in 1853.  1862 shows the purchase of "Frary and Clark" by "Landers and Smith". Mush the names together and you have "Frary, Landers, and Clark".  Smith apparently fell off the planet.

For the next 100 years, they were a manufacturing powerhouse.  By 1922, it was estimated that 60% of all homes in the United States had something made by FL&C.  I could go on and on and tell you about everything they made, but I would be here all day. Coffee mills, mouse traps, gas masks (during WWI), stoves, pressure cookers, and even radiological survey meters (I have no idea what that really is....) are just a few of the hundreds of items.

By 1965, they were done. Purchased by the Union Manufacturing Company right up the road in Meriden, Connecticut, they disappeared from the landscape.

So, how do I know it is a FL &C?  Um... this picture should help you.

Once I had the maker, it was as easy as thumbing through the correct pages of the Good Book

The only wooden mill in their section is a perfect match for mine. The No. 101 Mill is simply dead-on.  The pattern of the embossed top is a match.  Even the drawer pull is a match.

Patents records show this mill contained a 1878 and 1882 patents.  That makes this a potential oldie!  One hundred years old is just about guaranteed (they were making metal box mills by 1904).  130 years old is possible ,but unlikely.  Lets say 100-125 years old. Very cool. 

Sadly, as you can see, there is a sizable ding on the base. In fact, there is a second one on the back side, too. However, everything is original as far as I can tell.  So, we are back to that collector's conundrum - original and flawed or not-original and near perfect?

I know this.  I bought it for less than $65.  One is selling on eBay for $100. The drawer pull on that one appears to be a replacement. Hmmmmmm.....

I'll take mine. 

Freshly ground coffee beans, anyone?

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