Collection of Old Meat Grinders

Old meat grinders reminder of days past.

Old meat grinders on display

A portion of Leroy’s display of meat grinders and early household items on display at the Big Knob Antique Tractor and Equipment Assn. show, Rochester, Pa.

Photo by Erin Blank

Content Tools

I am homespun and rustic. I love to go to fairs, and antique and tractor shows. My hobby became a collection many years ago. I had gathered a few meat grinders from sales and family members. I thought they were interesting. I clamped them all on a shelf, and I hung my hats on the handles.

One day I was told that if you display a collection at some county fairs, they may give you a few tickets for the week. So I gathered up about 40 grinders and set off for the county fair. My mother had collected coffee pots; she showed them there. We ended up receiving three tickets each. The quest was on. If it worked at one fair, maybe the next county’s fair would be the same. Sure enough, more tickets. The next event that year was the antique tractor show. What better to display than antique meat grinders? Now my collection started getting bigger.

As I started displaying my collection, people began asking me if I had a business card. Business cards? For a collection? These people often had an old grinder they wanted to get rid of and offered it to me. Although I’ve gotten many of the grinders in my collection that way, I’ve also purchased some from other collectors.

When we attended a heritage festival, someone told my mom, “You need to have cast iron, too.” So she went home and brought back the Dutch ovens and griddles that we still use. Off went another line of collecting.

Eventually I became a collector of meat grinders, cast iron, aluminum and pottery. What started out as a collection of 40 grinders has expanded to almost 200 pieces. If I had a nickel for every time someone said, “My grandmother had one of those … ” I’d be rich.

My collection had grown so large that I needed a way to display so it could be seen from every side. I had a set of wooden shelves made that can be easily dismantled. The shelves are held to the sides by wooden pegs, adding to the antique feel.

It’s funny that no one seems to want old meat grinders, apple peelers or vegetable slicers until they see my collection. Then they decide they really need “one of those.” Many people try to buy pieces out of my display, but I do not sell.

The next time you see an old meat grinder, consider that many in the younger generation have never seen such a thing before. That’s a big part of the reason for my display, to preserve the past. FC

For more information:

— Leroy Bintrim, 378 Stanford Rd., Prospect, PA 16052.