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Antique Treen Coffee Grinders in the 17th and 18th century

The first coffee house was believed to have opened in the UK in Oxford 1651/2 closely followed by one opening in London. Coffee houses began to spring up all over London and in cities around the Uk. They were meeting places for men, women were excluded from these coffee houses and so was alcohol! Men would meet to conduct business, discuss politics, science, poetry and news. Interestingly each coffee house r coffee clubs, these were similar but you paid a subscription fee and has an elected committee, had specific customers e.g. St James Coffee House attracted the Whigs whereas around Covent Gardens the literary and actors tended to go. After about the mid 18th century coffee became popular

Coffee beans initially were crushed by a pestle and mortar which was very time consuming hence creating a demand for a mechanical coffee grinder. Sometime between 1657 and 59 a gentleman called Nicholas Brook living in St Tulies's Street London was the only known man to be making mills for grinding the coffee to powder. they were expensive being between 40 to 45 shillings per mill. They were however of very well made using lignum vitae wood, which in itself was very expensive at that time, and also they had grinding cogs of hand forged steel.

The lid of the antique treen coffee grinder unscrews and at handle fits on the top, the coffee beams are fed into the top of the mill, then pass through the grinding section and powdered coffee drops to the bottom compartment which unscrews. All the sections of the antique coffee grinder thread together and the folding handle is stored in the bottom section.

The images here are of an antique treen coffee grinder turned from lignum vitae with a very good colour and patina.

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