A Battle of Manual Grinders Broken Down in Images


A manual coffee grinder consists of a rotor and grinder. Grinders are categorized by the type of blade that is used to grind the beans. The blade can be a “flat” blade, which uses two sharp metal edges that scrape the surface of the beans, or a “cone” blade, which uses one edge to cut into the beans while they spin on an axis.

The parts are on top of what looks to be a container for wet sand with liquid coming out from it.

The three main parts are labeled

The blade: this part rotates and uses an edge to cut into the coffee beans. The handle: it is connected to the grinder by a metal rod that runs through the center of the grinder, with two more rods going up vertically from there to connect at the top to what looks like an electric motor. The grinder: this is the horizontal part that has a rectangular piece of metal between two other perpendicular rods to create an L shape at the bottom.

The blade is in place on top of the grinder, with the wheels above it, and the handle has been attached with three screws. Three wires are sticking out from underneath the grinder, and there are another three wires coming out from the handle. The top of the grinder is also covered with something that looks like it was made for holding it down while being ground on. There are two metal pincers to hold down the thing you want to be ground as well. There appear to be two additional pieces I can’t quite see that are holding the top of the grinder to the rest of it.

They are labeled blade, handle, and grinder respectively. The one on top is obviously the blade, as it is sharpened and cuts into things unlike most of the other parts they separate from. The bottom part I can not see enough detail to say from this picture, it may be the grinder or another handle of some sort. It is connected to two other rods that run through the middle and up to connect into the top part.

The bottom rectangle piece must be a container for liquids or dry materials as it would make sense in a machine like this.

There are three pieces coming out of the handle, each with a different function. Two coming out of the bottom are what seem to be electrically connected to motors(due to their shape). Another comes out of the top that allows for easy manual movement. The wires can also be seen coming out from here, which is most likely where it connects to the rest of the machine and its power source. The very top has a small handle with which one can control the speed of the grinder. There is also what could be some sort of rubber gripping or covering to make easier handling, but this is uncertain from this picture.

The three wires coming out the bottom corners are connected to two different pieces, so I will assume that they are different pieces of the machine, to avoid confusion later. The one on the left is connected to what seems to be a shaft that pushes and turns the wheel on top, which points towards the blade and uses its edge for cutting into the matter. The two rods are connected with metal clamps or screws in order to ensure their position and keep them in place. The next wire is connected to the shaft directly above the blade, which has a small wheel on top of it that turns when the handle is turned. This creates a circular motion that makes grinding into matter easier as there is constant and rotating movement.

The three wires on the top right point directly upwards and are more spread out than the others. This is most likely where it connects to the power source and controls, but I am only speculating on that.

The metal clamp on the bottom of the grinder at 11 o’clock has a small bit sticking out from underneath it. It would seem to function as an anchor or anchor mechanism for holding the top piece in place during use.

There are also three screws or bolts holding the grinder to the bottom metal piece with which it sits and connects into. This would anchor it on one side of its rotation, but not prevent it from moving up and down. The other two screws may be attached to the base that this machine sits on or into a more complexly designed grinder that I can not see enough of to identify.

There are also two metal pieces, one with a sort of handle and the other looking like it might be a clamp or vice-like grip for holding down material to be ground. These metal clamps are both connected to another rod that runs through them. The top clamp is connected to a rod that runs through the top of the grinder and is connected with a screw into one of the gears seen in earlier pictures. 

The bottom clamp is connected to a rod that goes to what seems like an anchor/anchor mechanism, which sits on the base it sits upon which runs down and connects directly underneath where this clamp would be. This holds it in place and allows for grinding.

The small metal pieces on the sides of the grinder are most likely to be holding down pins or feet that hold it in place, being a part of its base. These screws can be seen coming out from underneath the clamps as well and have very similar functions, just with less stability.

The wire coming out of the bottom center is connected to a gear that has another smaller gear on top of it. It would seem this gear’s purpose is to hold down the material and keep it in place while grinding as well. The shaft going through it on both sides would then be used for easier manual grinding or rotation, though I cannot see how it would be of use.

The small metal piece that looks like a pin on the right is most likely to keep the grinding at a constant speed as well, with its placement being just as important and useful as the other gears involved in this process. The two wheels are connected to each other and seemed like they could be used for manual manipulation of grinding speed, though how I cannot tell. 

The three wires coming out the side would be connected to more complex machinery that can not be seen and are most likely used for fine-tuning and increasing the accuracy of this device. There are also three metal rods that sit upon each other in a triangle shape with another rod going through them on one end and a clamp on the other. The screws that make up this clamp would most likely be used to keep it in place so that this can grind uniformly and more accurately.

I think that the wires are attached to an electric motor or some machinery involved with turning, as there has to be a source of power connected somewhere somehow. I believe the grinder itself would also need to be connected to this power source, but I cannot tell where it would connect. 

The grinder can rotate in any direction the handle is turned or pushed/pulled with, though there seems to be a slight resistance on only one specific axis of rotation. This could mean that it may have rotational gearing inside as well or that is just a part of the design.

The bottom piece has four bolts that come up through it, connecting into the top piece by a slot on an axle inside. This would cause a slight resistance and halt in rotation to stop grinding or adjust its position either upwards or downwards during use. 

There are also two simple wheels attached to each other on a rod, which allows for manual rotation. This would be used simply to move the grinder around or to turn it into a way of grinding up something else and then turning it back into its original position so that it can grind their material.

The screws attached on the bottom may also have some sort of added function in addition to just holding down the weight of the grinder itself and its parts. The rods that connect the gears to other pieces may be used for more than one purpose as well, so I am not sure if this is all that is needed or if there are any extra parts involved in making it work. It could also be possible that these were only used for stability during transport, but that is only a guess.

The handle and grip have to be connected to this machinery somehow, as I am assuming you cannot just hold it down or use the sides of the grinder where all of its mechanisms and parts are. The screw on the front near the hinge may fit into some sort of part and could be holding down extra weight so that this has more stability, but I am not sure about that either.

The handle is connected to a screw on one end that goes through the top piece and into some lever of sorts on the other side. The handle itself then moves up and down with an addition of another simple gear that allows it to grind faster or slower depending on how fast it is turned. The screw on the side could also be used to adjust the position of where this would grind as well, though I cannot tell if that is its main function or not.

The last piece in this mechanism would be a clamping joint for the rod to connect to the bottom part and have some sort of joint so that it can move in any direction the handle is turned. This part and its position could have a variety of functions, but I am assuming that this would be used to lock the grinder into a certain position so that it cannot turn freely with just gravity holding it down.

This grinder’s purpose seems to be grinding up nuts or some sort of material like that. Due to the small size, however, I am assuming it would have been used to grind only one specific material like nuts or grains of some sort and not a range of different things, but I cannot know for sure without researching its intended purpose. The screw on the top piece is probably used as a way to secure the handle so that it cannot just be lifted up or pushed down by itself because it would be dangerous to have something this large and mechanical above ground that could fall at any moment.

The wires and electric motor are a mystery to me though as I do not know where these would be used in conjunction with the grinder itself. It may work independent of electricity and is only on the image to show what it was made for or that it is connected to electricity. This could be because there is no place in a manual grinder where an electric motor would fit, but I am not sure about that either so I cannot say anything else on the subject.

This had a good amount of elements and parts inside that allowed for it to not only grind one thing but also allowed some movement depending on how the user used and wished to use it. The handle at least allows for more ways of use as you can hold this above-ground without needing to place much weight on your arm.

The whole piece is very complex when looking at it in its entirety with so many different parts and pieces that allow it to be moved in any direction the user wishes. The grinder also has a good overall design, but with so many different moving parts inside of it, I am surprised that this thing even works or lasts very long.

This could have been made anywhere from just one person to a group of people working together with a purpose to make this grind-up material fast and easily. I am guessing that this grinder was probably made in the 1900s or possibly early 2000s due to how old it looks, but I am not sure about that either. There were no major improvements made to grinders when comparing this old manual one to newer ones with motors, so I don’t know if this one has any special functions that would tell me when it was made.

And I think that is all the information you need to get out of this image, because there really isn’t much else left to see here other than a bunch of wires and gears revolving around each other while the handle moves up or down on its own.

The most interesting part about this is that all of the stuff inside can move independently of each other, with no real connection between them. I am not sure how long it would last with so many moving parts, but it is a great thing to look at all this intricacy considering how much work went into making something like this.

The whole reason I used this is that there are examples of manual grinders that were used long before electric ones became popular and well known. The manual user experience would have been much more difficult to use than an electric one, but you can probably get better results with a hand-powered tool assuming you know how to use it correctly.

This particular grinder is an example of a good amount of work being put in to create something that doesn’t look very complex from the outside but has a surprising number of things going on inside. The handle and top section are probably what attracted me, but looking at the whole thing really opened my eyes to how complex a manual grinder can be with so many separate parts.

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