Coffee Cup
"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2012 - All rights reserved

Coffee Cup
131
C.S. Bell Company - No. 1 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!
      About a decade earlier the door's owner had contacted me when I was operating the Feather River Canyon News (our local newspaper at the time). She had seen a stray dog in one of our local canyons and wanted to put a notice in the paper. I always ran such announcements for free so in it went.
      Fast forward a few years, and across the street from my wife's place of employment there was a safety fair in the park. One of the booths was the Sheriffs Dept search and rescue, and one of the people at the booth had a German Shepherd. Well, we need no further enticement than that at any time, so my wife went over, introduced herself and spent some time lavishing love and attention on the dog.
      Forward back (?) to the door. As it turned out, that was her all three times (lost dog, GSD, and door)!She still had the Shepherd and so we got to talking, and she uttered the the words that are like five free grams of heroin to an addict; "Would you like to have a German Shepherd?" With the further enticement that if we took the dog we could HAVE the door, we went back a week later with our-then male shepherd to see if they could get along. Without all the butt-sniffing details, they got along handsomely, and as we came with one, we left with two dogs.
      "Great," you say. "What about coffee content?"
      I'm getting there! We have had the dog for two years now (as I mentioned earlier), and we have been in contact all this time. On one visit I noticed that her Curtis commercial brewer was out in the garage. "Wuz up with that?" it had overheated one day and boiled enough water out to form a cloud and minor weather pattern in the kitchen.
      "I can fix that"
      "I was just going to buy another one."
      "I can fix that." So when I (finally) went with a friend and picked up the door I also took the brewer.


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. 1 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.1 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.
      So the moral would goes something like, if you ever need a sliding door, and can fix a commercial brewer, a German Shepherd and an antique coffee mill await you. Maybe not. How about something which centers on good deeds and good friends. Make one up yourself.


Coffee Cup
  -   -   - Silvia
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