Gripped by Grinders

| February 2001

In an era when those who still cook use commercially processed foods, it is easy to forget the labor that meal preparation once required. Spend a bit of time with Dave Paulus' collection of grinders, and those chores loom large.

Dave's collection of grinders started as nothing more than a question.

'I had one or two old grinders in the garage, and I began to wonder how many different manufacturers there were,' he said. 'So I started collecting them. When I got to about 30, my wife said to stop at 100. Well, I have over 600 now.'

About 200 (with no duplicates) are displayed in a trailer which Dave takes to shows. The inventory is a dizzying assemblage of what Dave classifies as 'hand crankers': pea hullers, tool grinders and a drill press, cherry pitters, salad grinders, juicers, vegetable cutters, sausage sniffers, coffee grinders, apple peelers and more than 100 ice cream freezer cranks.

Dave has no idea where it will end.

'You just don't know what's out there,' he said. 'There's no book or reference guide to grinders. And it's hard to come up with any background information because many of them are so old ... those companies are not in business anymore. Some of these grinders were patented as early as 1887.'