Have you ever wondered where herb grinders originated?

We've done some digging and the worlds first granted patent for a "tobacco & other substances" grinder devise was filed by W. H. WINGFIELD & J. BALDING in 1905 at the USA patent office.

W. H. WINGFIELD & J. BALDING Herb Grinder Patent US795746A


W H Wingfield and J Baldwin are from Boort Australia:
"Be it known that we, WILLIAM HENRY WING FIELD and JOHN BALDING, subjects of the King of Great Britain and Ireland, &c., residing at Boort, in the State of Victoria, Commonwealth of Australia, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Cases and Devices for Holding and Disintegrating Tobacco or other Substances;"
See their patent description quote, outlining the need for a dedicated grinder devise:
"The object of this invention is primarily to enable plug-tobacco to be disintegrated for pipe-smoking without the use of a common knife or the like, and the accumulated shredded tobacco is retained and kept stored as long as desired. A knife is not always available. It is frequently too blunt. It becomes stained and unsuitable for immediately afterward cutting food or other substances, and it does not permit of the preparation of the tobacco for the pipe satisfactorily, for after using a knife the flakes of tobacco still require treatment, and this is usually given by their being rubbed between the smoker's palms-an unsanitary unpleasant practice, avoidable by the use of our invention, in which rubbing accompanies the disintegration and can be continued at will."
Their initial intention was predominantly for shredding pipe tobacco and the pervious mentioned technique was using knifes. Sure most of us have tried using a knife, certainly not ideal. Thanks to these two inventive fellows, we are all able to efficiently grind our herbs since 1905.


FIG 1 illustration shows a 2 piece herb grinder design and the technique / principle thats still used in 99% of all manual herb grinder designs to this day!

FIG 2 Illustrates the aerial view within grinder compartment. Describing the interlocking teeth that rotate and move in-between one another to pulverize tobacco into smaller, processed pieces, fit for application.

Take a look at FIG 3. Looks identical to those plastic 2 piece grinders on sale today. 


This patent laid the foundation of herb grinder design. The fundamental principle expressed has varied very little. Its the blueprint of a herb shredding compartment, as seen in 99% of all contemporary 4 piece, 3 piece and 2 piece herb grinders. Its a simple, effective and efficient solution thats lasted the test of time.

Read our next article on the EVOLUTION OF GRINDER DESIGN

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