Coffee Mills and the Pony Express — by Connie Stevens
The first run of the Pony Express took place on April 3, 1860. So in celebration of the release of The PONY EXPRESS Romance Collection, the nine authors are having a bit of fun with “On This Date In History. . .” blog posts.
On April 3, 1829, James Carrington obtained a patent for a coffee mill. So I thought, “WoooHoooo! Coffee! A truly noteworthy historical event, marked by a milestone in the evolution of my most favorite beverage, to coincide with the launch of the Pony Express decades later.”
I smiled and rubbed my fingertips, readying them to uncover historical tidbits for this blog post.
While it is true, a patent was indeed issued to Mr. Carrington on April 3rd, 1829 for his coffee mill design, alas, there is no record of his mill ever being manufactured. Further research also turned up numerous patents issued from the very early 1800s through the 1890s to more than two dozen people. Clearly, the milling of coffee beans and the brewing of this delectable beverage was serious business to a great many, highly intelligent people with discriminating palates. Sadly, most of these designs never met with manufacturing success. James Carrington wasn’t the only inventor whose creation never got off the ground, likely due to a lack of funds.
So, without ironclad facts to validate my statements, it is pure speculation when I state those wiry, tough-as-nails, reckless young fellows who flew across the prairie on swift steeds, bearing the US mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California in only ten days were, without a doubt, fueled by copious amounts of coffee.
My research did reveal a pair of brothers, Charles and Edmund Parker, who were successful in manufacturing a coffee mill that eventually found its way into nearly every American kitchen over the course of a few decades. It is my opinion that one of these coffee grinders was present at most of the Pony Express outposts and stations, much to the chagrin and regret of Mr. Carrington. Or perhaps that is pure conjecture on my part.
I can tell you without a shred of doubt, everything I write is, indeed, fueled by countless cups of the rich brew, and there are numerous references to coffee as the beverage of choice in my story, ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART. In any event, I like to believe James Carrington’s efforts in his inventor’s workshop were similarly driven by his desire for caffeine.
About “ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART”:
Two discontented hearts, both of whom must stand aside and watch others fulfill the dreams they desire, discover God has something better in mind, if only they are willing to accept it.
A lifelong reader, Connie Stevens began creating stories by the time she was ten. She enjoys gardening and quilting, but one of her favorite pastimes is browsing antique shops where story ideas often take root in her imagination. Connie lives in north Georgia and has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2000.