What's this Old Timey thing in photograph


That black contraption on the left. Seems to have temperature and/or pressure gauges. And at least one crank.

WAG, Coffee machine.

I was thinking industrial coffee grinder but can’t find anything that looks like it on a google image search. I don’t see a spout, but does have a crank. Hmmm…

WAG #2 Coffee bean grinder. Maybe part on the left is a coffee maker but…

Coffee bean grinder and roaster.

Beckdawrek I think that’s correct. My God it’s built like a tank though.

I think it’s a decorative storage/dispenser unit for some dry good like flour or sugar.

The ‘gauge’ in between the two towers is a clock; the thing to the left is a spring scale that’s probably hanging from the adjacent metal bathtub.

There are painted letters on the two stacks: “LE” on the left one, and what looks like “AN??Y” on the right. I’d guess that that’s what’s left of “PANTRY”



That’s a pretty clever design, actually. It looks like the two outside stacks would hold meal and flour, which would be dispensed through the bottom using those sifter levers at the sides; maybe a fixed volume per pull. The coffee would go into a nested tube in the right stack, and be dispensed by the drawer right below the grinder handle. Sugar goes in behind the clock and there are two other tubes for mystery dry goods, although it isn’t clear how you get those to dispense.

See here for better pictures of one

Damn you guys are good

Good find! In the context of the period and the whole chuck-waggon story, what would I find in the ‘CAKE’ drawer?

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen John Wayne or Slim Pickens or Clint Eastwood eating cake.

Cake is traditionally anything with a flour dough pressed into a compacted form. For example, a ‘pancake’ is a cake, but not a dessert. ‘cake’ could have been a flatbread, or tortilla, or in this context maybe ingredient(s) for making some kind of cake.

Given that it’s under the cornmeal drawer, maybe johnnycakes?

They could have been drawers for different types of flour: bread flour, cake flour, standard flour. The sifter at the left probably had various textures of sieve. The flour would have come from the mill in a huge sack with a lot of different sized particles in it. You had to sift it yourself. The finest ones would sift to the bottom - cake flour. The medium sized bits were standard, and the largest were used for making bread. Meal would probably be used for ground corn, but it could also be graham flour.

The middle column of containers is for spices, extracts and such.

Fascinating! Boy, would I love to visit that store!

These types of things would seem to be the direct antecedents to the ‘Hoosier’ cabinet?

CMC fnord!

If I had one of those, I would definitely relabel the “bread” side so that the options were CAKE or DEATH.

I found a patent for a Kitchen Cabinet (the PORTABLE PANTRY), #591,037, awarded to William J. Gooch of Franklin, Kentucky on October 5,1897. The Ebay example that I posted differs a bit from the patent drawings, but all in all this is a surprisingly complex item, with a lot of hidden partitions. In addition to the internal sifters and coffee grinder, and the big bins for meal and flour, there are smaller storage bins for “Graham flour, hominy, or some other material…rice, oatmeal, or the like.” Sugar goes in behind the clock and dumps into the space behind the ‘sugar’ door in the bottom, where it can be scooped out.

In the patent drawing, the spice tins in the center are cylinders threaded on both ends: the knob end unscrews to reveal a small sifter screen, while the whole other end cap unscrews for a wide-mouth opening for filling or scooping. The Ebay version doesn’t have it, but the patent calls for another little drawer that contained a spring-loaded grater for nutmeg or other hard spices. Oh, and the flour bin has a hidden internal rod that slides out to the side to hold a spring scale - so the scale in the OP’s picture was probably hooked to the pantry after all!

All this was available to the salesman for $10, or $8 if a prepaid coupon was used; I don’t know what kind of markup they would have charged. The salesmen paid the Portable Pantry company for rights to specific territory, and then ordered the pantries separately from the Cincinnati Stamping Company.

I thought it was a baby Dalek, but if it makes coffee, I want one!!

I was just writing about the decline of GQ.

I was wrong. Amazing job everyone, especially brossa.