Sharps Carbine Coffee Grinder

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vmicraig

Corporal
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
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411
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Mobile, AL
Pulled from the website, Kitchensisters: Andrew Smith, author of “Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War”. When there was not a battle going on, Confederate soldiers and Union soldiers met in the middle of fields and exchanged goods.” Smith says. The Confederates had access to tobacco and Southern foods; Northern soldiers had access to coffee.

Perhaps the North’s access to caffeine gave them a strategic advantage. At least that’s what one Union officer, Gen. Benjamin Butler, thought. He ordered his men to carry coffee in their canteens and planned attacks based on when his men would be most wired. His advice to other generals was: “If your men get their coffee early in the morning, you can hold.” Desperate Confederate soldiers would invent makeshift coffees, roasting rye, rice, sweet potatoes or beets until they were dark, chocolatey and caramelized.The resulting brew contained no caffeine, but at least it was something warm and brown and consoling.

In 1859 Sharps Rifle Company began to manufacture a carbine with a hand-cranked grinder built into the butt stock – or handle – of the rifle. Union soldiers would fill the stock with beans, grind them up, dump them out and use the grounds to cook the coffee. As the morning began, one Civil War diarist described a scene of “little campfires rapidly increasing to hundreds in numbers that would shoot up along the hills and plains.” The encampment would buzz with the sound of thousands of grinders simultaneously crushing beans. Soon, tens of thousands of muckets [coffee pots] gurgled with fresh brew.

“Here’s an irony,” says Grinspan. “These soldiers who were fighting ostensibly to end slavery are fueled by this coffee from slave fields in Brazil.”

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redbob

Captain
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Feb 18, 2013
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Hoover, Alabama
Perhaps this is a foolish question, but did the handle come off because if it didn't; it would appear that it would get in the way .
 

Jobe Holiday

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 1, 2010
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2,483
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The Perpetually Frozen North
A few thoughts on some of the discussion here.

Yes, Sharps did manufacture some carbines with a grinder attachment, and the handle was removable. Research years ago showed that the "Coffee Grinder" was in fact intended to grind grain for their horses, and not coffee for the soldiers.

As for Mr. Claude Fuller, yes he got us collectors started in the right direction....BUT....he was also a close friend of the Bannerman dynasty of arms dealers. It was his book, "Springfield Shoulder Arms, 1795 - 1865", written in 1933 and printed by Bannerman's that introduced the unwary to the fantasy "Civil War Artillery Rifle". And who made 90% of those "Artillery Rifles"? None other than the Bannerman family! This is the same book where we took to heart his example of a "Fremont Short Rifle", which was rifled and sighted with a rear sight that didn't make its appearance for some 5 or 6 years after the last Fremont Expedition! Do you think that Bannerman's may have told the unsuspecting Claude Fuller "Here is the Fremont needle in the haystack that you've been looking for!"
J.
 

Kurt G

Sergeant
Joined
May 23, 2018
Messages
887
A few thoughts on some of the discussion here.

Yes, Sharps did manufacture some carbines with a grinder attachment, and the handle was removable. Research years ago showed that the "Coffee Grinder" was in fact intended to grind grain for their horses, and not coffee for the soldiers.

As for Mr. Claude Fuller, yes he got us collectors started in the right direction....BUT....he was also a close friend of the Bannerman dynasty of arms dealers. It was his book, "Springfield Shoulder Arms, 1795 - 1865", written in 1933 and printed by Bannerman's that introduced the unwary to the fantasy "Civil War Artillery Rifle". And who made 90% of those "Artillery Rifles"? None other than the Bannerman family! This is the same book where we took to heart his example of a "Fremont Short Rifle", which was rifled and sighted with a rear sight that didn't make its appearance for some 5 or 6 years after the last Fremont Expedition! Do you think that Bannerman's may have told the unsuspecting Claude Fuller "Here is the Fremont needle in the haystack that you've been looking for!"
J.
I never met a horse that needed its grain ground up . Also , it would take forever to grind enough for a horse .
 

Kurt G

Sergeant
Joined
May 23, 2018
Messages
887
The patent for it is for a grain mill, and a few years back, we sent all the weapons in the Fuller collection to be conserved and cleaned, so we tried the coffee beans, they wouldnt fit. Only 8 (I think) were ever made and they were all prototypes.
I would understand if they were for grinding grain for the soldiers but anyone who has been around horses knows they don't have any trouble eating full kernels of grain .
 
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