The History of Herb Grinders
Discover how herd grinders evolved into what we know and use today
Herb grinders are seamless, practical and ingenious tools often used to grind herbs. There are many reasons why people started using grinders. First and foremost, shedding herbs and spices for cooking has been done ever since antiquity. Even using grinders to shed cannabis for easier consumption is a practice with a long history.
Before grinders, people would use other ways to crush herbs, in most cases, using tools similar to mortars and pestles, which are nowadays often used to make pesto and similar sauces. The results with these methods were not as dependable and somewhat hard to control. Herbs would fly everywhere and the mess was a bit hard to contain. Thus, there was a strong need for a better solution.
The concept of a grinder as we know it today came about sometime early in the 20th century. This was a particularly pivotal time for the evolution of our society, as it was the height of the industrial age. This was when companies first started to experiment with mass-manufacturing, creating products on a large scale, therefore, requiring for practical and effective technologies to process materials quickly. The ancestor of the herb grinder design was originally intended as an industrial tool in order to process plant matter and cellulose, but the design was soon after translated from its initial industrial application, into a product for individual use.
Apothecaries and pharmacies later adopted the same concept but miniaturized in in order to be used to process herbs and materials for customers, grinding as much as needed to fulfill every person’s order.
Your average herb grinder is a cylindrical metal device, with several components. Typically, there would be a top half and a bottom section. Both sections are equipped with sharp metal teeth that are designed to be turned together, in order to shred the content in the middle of the two parts of the grinder. The best grinders were traditionally made with stainless steel, which is considered dependable and very easy to clean. However, it is currently possible to find more affordable grinders made with materials such as plastic.
Herb grinders started out mostly as kitchen items, but these days, the most common reference is found among cannabis users, due to the increased popularity of this recreational drug. In other words, you are a lot less likely to see an old granny using a grinder to pulverize some nutmeg, than your buddy trying to roll up the perfect joint!
Over time, grinders became even more refined and especially adjusted for marijuana use. Some grinders even feature screens, which are placed in between the two compartments of the grinder in order to allow separate collection “kief”, aka, marijuana trichomes. For those who might not know, trichomes are essentially resinous crystals, which actually feature a much higher concentration of THC, thus yielding a much powerful high and a greater psychoactive effect.