"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2012 - All rights reserved
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
C.S. Bell Company - No. 1½ Corn Mill
Thursday, February 2, 2012
So, sure, you would ask, "What the heck is a corn mill doing on Espresso My Espresso?" I have an answer. Two years ago, while perusing CraigsList I came across an ad for a sliding glass patio style door. As I had one that was worn out I contacted the person. As it turns out, we knew each other.. Twice!
As you can guess, it had about two pounds of scale in the stainless steel boiler.
That's a sample of scale I found. After cleaning it out I reassembled and resealed it and used my digital thermometer to set the thermostat. Five months later it is still working wonderfully- better than before, based on her reports, and she was thrilled as she loves the coffee it makes. She wanted to thank me, so she perused through her substantial collection and brought me this:
This is a C.S. Bell, No. 1½ Corn mill. Charles S. Bell bought his foundry in 1858 and produced a number of items over the years including bells (church, school, etc.) as well as various mills. These hand mills were often also used as coffee mills as folks, particularly on farms, found multiple uses for tools and other household items (as Lizzie Borden). The C.S. Bell company is still in business but the last of the mills as seen here was produced in 1970. They do make an updated version of the No. 2 and the similarities in design show the modern mill's heritage rests in the No.1½ I now have. A number of the bells they produced over the last 150 years or so are available on eBay as collectables. Have a look.
Here is the mill completely disassembled. Simple and sturdy, made to last.
The inner burr, outer fixed burr and operating shaft
You can see where the cross-pin of the shaft interlocks with the inner burr.
Designed before lawyers were invented and after personal responsibility became obsolete, here is a view into the hopper. The red arrow indicates the inner, operating burr. A stray wedding ring or finger would not fare well.
Even though the burrs were not designed for coffee, and are well-worn, I ran some beans though. There is not much hope at all that the mill will work for espresso, but for filtered coffee (Espro, drip, etc.) it would be sufficient in a power outage.