I found a good deal on one of the last style wall grinders Zassenhaus offered before ceasing production of the style. At one time this type of mill was very popular. Most homes had one of these appliances mounted on the wall in the kitchen so the morning coffee could be ground - perhaps only a few moments after the beans were roasted in a pan on a hot stove. The hand mills hold smaller quantities of beans so these were probably more popular in homes with only one coffee drinker or where one person preferred espresso or mokka to coffee and needed a personal grinder for this task.
The wall mount grinders certainly could grind fine enough for espresso, but I suspect the larger hopper found on these wall grinders was there for a reason. These ornate, decorated ceramic containers can hold a lot of beans. Someone making a large 12 cup pot would not have to refill the hopper in the middle of grinding. Also these are easier to use since no energy is spent bracing the grinder while turning the handle. The only drawback I can see is durability. A clumsy person could drop the glass catch cup which was thick but still fragile. The ceramic hopper also is fragile and could be cracked on accident.
I think the advantages of the design outweigh the disadvantages for function, but cost is something the manufacturer could not contain. These last models carried a retail price of two hundred dollars. This is a lot of money for a grinder with no motor, and quite frankly I could not see paying that much either. These do make a nice display item that can still perform it's intended function if you find a vintage model in decent condition.
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