Early-Day Sickle Bar Grinders Salvaged

Collector closing in on complete set of sickle bar grinders

| May 1999

  • Two sickle bar grinders from the collection of Gailey Henderson
    Two sickle bar grinders from the collection of Gailey Henderson, Williamstown, W. Va. The first grinder was patented in 1859 by David Hinman, Berea, Ohio. By the turn of the century, Gailey says 60 patents had been filed for sickle bar grinders.
  • Gailey Henderson
    Gailey Henderson
  • the rarest piece in Gailey Henderson's collection: a Montgomery Wards grinder, made in Chicago
    the rarest piece in Gailey Henderson's collection: a Montgomery Wards grinder, made in Chicago.
  • When needed, the sickle bar grinder could be bolted onto the side of a wheel, as shown here
    When needed, the sickle bar grinder could be bolted onto the side of a wheel, as shown here.
  • A ruffle maker, dating to 1886
    A piece in Gailey's "what is it?" exhibit: A ruffle maker, dating to 1886. The plate at right was heated, then inserted in the ruffle maker's case (left). Fabric was placed between the case and the roller, and pressure applied to create ruffles. 
  • Galley's rolling collection includes sausage grinders on the top row
    Galley's rolling collection includes sausage grinders on the top row. "Women like to see those," he says.

  • Two sickle bar grinders from the collection of Gailey Henderson
  • Gailey Henderson
  • the rarest piece in Gailey Henderson's collection: a Montgomery Wards grinder, made in Chicago
  • When needed, the sickle bar grinder could be bolted onto the side of a wheel, as shown here
  • A ruffle maker, dating to 1886
  • Galley's rolling collection includes sausage grinders on the top row

Gailey Henderson is a man on a mission. He's closing in on a complete set of the farm memorabilia he collects. For some, the search for the final six or so pieces would become a, uh, grind. But for the collector known as "the Grinder Man," the hunt continues to be a lark. 

Gailey, who lives in Williamstown, W.Va., collects sickle bar grinders once used to sharpen the bar on horse-drawn mowing equipment.

"I have 50 altogether," he says, "and I know of at least six more that I don't have."

His oldest piece was made before the turn of the century. The grinder's heyday was from roughly 1900 to 1940.



"When electric side grinders came in," he says, "these went out of fashion real fast."

His collection started as the result of a chance question from a friend 13 years ago.