After my shitty electric coffee grinder broke, my Mother gave me one that belonged to her grandparents. It was filthy and the internals rusted, but I wanted to try it out.


It’s an Arcade Crystal model No. 3, produced sometime around 1918. Same year my grandmother was born.

My Mother remembers it being used when she was a kid but figures it hasn’t seen use since the 70’s. My Grandmother had repainted it sometime in the 80’s and hung it in her kitchen for decoration. After she passed in the mid 90’s it made its way to my Mother and now me.

Dismantling is easy. There are two slotted machine screws that go into square nuts on the back. This allows the body to separate and permits removal of the glass hopper.

Advertisement

Don’t drop the glass! Amazingly the rubber seal is still soft and kind of like a putty in that it almost holds a shape when pressed. Natural rubber?

This is the front half.

Advertisement

And the back.

There are two nuts which lock against each other that hold the handle and shaft/drum in place. Once those are removed and the handle set aside, the drum and shaft just slide out of the front half.

Advertisement

The front half with the drum removed.

Advertisement

Not too bad for decades of disuse.

For rust removal I decided to try this stuff out instead of a wire wheel.

Advertisement

Two hours in the bath.

Holy Shit! That stuff works great.

Advertisement

Some paint came off during the process. Not sure yet if I want to repaint it or leave it be.

Advertisement

I put it all back together for a test run.

I’ve determined that you don’t really want that grinding noise at all. The two nuts that lock each other in place and hold the handle on also control how much the internal drum presses against the housing. Too tight and you can’t turn it. Too loose and the handle wobbles around. I did a test run with the tension backed off to where the drum and housing barely meet and got some fine ground coffee.

Advertisement

Next was to figure out a place to mount this thing.

It needs to be shimmed out a bit since that lower catch arm is further back than the rest of it. I found some scrap wood from when I made a key for my MB.

Advertisement

I ended up gorilla glueing two of these together to get the appropriate thickness. Then rounded the edges using my bench grinder and sanded smooth. I should have drilled my holes at this point. I did not.

Advertisement

Had this stain laying around so that took care of that.

After two coats.

Advertisement

Three coats of poly.

I found a good spot to mount it in my kitchen where it will be out of the way and in close proximity to all my coffee supplies.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Had gotten some beans for my birthday so let’s give it a shot.

Takes a bit longer than anticipated but it’s worth it.

This much took about 3 minutes.

Advertisement

Pretty cool to be using something that is almost 100 hundred years olds. Even cooler that it’s something my Great Grandfather/mother purchased and used for years. I still may paint it and want to replace the two washers on the inside but overall I’m incredibly pleased.