Station: [17] Room 9: 20th Century

In 20th century middle-class households, coffee grinders were no longer ostentatious showpieces; they were objects of daily use. After the Second World War, the focus was on utility. The models reverted to being as plain as in the early days. It was the time of the lap grinder you’ve been hearing so much about. It was based on the type of grinder that started its triumphal march in the middle of the 19th century: the cube-shaped, basic lap grinder, generally made of wood, with a crank, a shallow funnel and a drawer to catch the coffee powder. That was the coffee grinder of the post-war generation. It’s the prototype of the musical coffee grinder…

…that so enchanted the Robber Hotzenplotz that he stole it from Kasperle's granny. 

In this room, you’ll find a range of designs made by well-known manufacturers, from Peter Dienes to Zassenhaus. Some of these coffee-grinders are made of plain wood – they’re in the showcase on the right-hand wall. Others are in the colours of Germany’s economic miracle: pale blue, pink, turquoise and yellow. You’ll find those in the display case opposite. 

Next to the colourful lap grinders, some square and others round, you’ll also come across an old friend: the black Bakelite coffee mill – though this one was made in 1960. As you can see, its shape hasn’t changed since the 1930s. Next to it on the left are two squat Bakelite grinders with metal tops and chrome-plated cranks from 1950. They were made by the firm of Geska, which was established in 1919. 

In the early 1970s, electric coffee grinders gradually conquered the market. Some of you are no doubt familiar with the cylindrical, hand-held blade grinders. They chopped rather than ground the coffee beans. The down side was that the beans became too hot, which impaired the flavour of the coffee. Today, the technology is more sophisticated, with the development of cone or disc grinders. More about that subject at the next stop.

All depictions: © Kaffeemühlenmuseum Wiernsheim