December 30, 2008

The Computing Cheese Cutter

Computing Cheese Cutter Some time ago I visited Everybody’s Store, in tiny Van Zandt, Washington. Everybody’s is an exotic grocery store and temple to the hand-made sandwich, located outside Bellingham in a town so small it has no Wikipedia article (!).

I ordered some Havarti Dill cheese, which is a bear to slice. But it was no problem for the 100-year-old hoop cheese cutter they were using.

“I’ve got to get one of those,” I exclaimed.

“Good luck,” the owner replied.

And sure enough, even the Internet failed me. I couldn’t find one for sale anywhere.

Cheese Wheel Cutter Persistence paid off, though, and I eventually found one on a local classifieds site. The picture above shows it as delivered; below after a lot of elbow grease and some mineral oil, still on the workbench.

I’m happy that I found one with all the original parts; after a shot of lubricant we were even able to get the lever to turn the wheel (in precise regular increments, for honest cheese dealing).

My long season of searching helped me learn more than anyone could want to know about cheese cutters. A century ago they were the subject of frequent innovation, a wide spectrum of design, and cutthroat competition and lawsuits. (I found one of the patents for this model.)

Computing Cheese Cutter, Co. What makes a cheese cutter a computer? Integrated scales and measuring controls that could cut consistent-price wedges from wheels of varying weight.

In fact, the company that made my cheese cutter stayed with computing longer than cheese: you know it today as IBM.

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Comments

  1. You are hilarious! I can’t believe you put so much effort into finding this cheese cutter. I hope that one day I can see it in use – hopefully cutting up a piece of white and black truffle cheese for us! =)

  2. Landon Norton :

    That is SO interesting. Thanks for sharing that, Bob! And congratulations on finding one. There’s a “who cut the cheese” joke in there somewhere. But, I don’t bite the hand that puts cheese on my table. :-) Keep those posts coming!!!

  3. Liz Hisey :

    I am doing some research on the Computing Cheese Cutter Co of Anderson, Indiana, and wonder whether this is the same Computer Scale Co that became part of IBM.

  4. mike montgomery :

    I own the exact same cheese cutter and really is a beautiful old as useful as it is attractive.

  5. Danny Chesnut :

    I own one also…it was my great grandfathers, and he used it in his store, and in my store (Centre Ala), I use it everyday.

  6. Tony cristler :

    Bob thanks for the info i have been looking for information to restore mine i would like to know what colors they were painted so i can get mine back to mint condition i know the history of where mine came from but have no info on colors thanks very much.Tony

  7. Rob Eichenauer :

    Bob,
    Could you share more info with me. I have a model called the “Templeton” that my father had stored in his collection of stuff. It is Patented Dec. 10, 1901 . Rob

  8. Reta Roberts :

    i have one for sale in good condition contact me if you know anyone interested
    Thank you
    Reta Roberts

  9. Sandra Presley :

    I am interested in purchasing one. Reta Roberts has one for sale. Would you please email me…Thanks

  10. Chris Mullaney :

    I am also interested in purchasing a hoop cutter. Please e-mail photo and price.

  11. cathy :

    i am interested in buying a hoop cutter, please email me or call 256-395-2202

  12. Thanks for that fascinating post. I’m writing a paper on technology & food, and your research (which I will duly credit) will come in very handy!

  13. John Rutledge :

    I have a Computing Cheese Cutter that I’ve had since the 70′s. I bought it from a rural store I called on when selling for Kraft Foods. How can I find out what it may be worth? It’s in good working condition.

  14. jan :

    I have an IBM toranto limited ont. co cheese wheel patent 7089 Dec. 1901. Could someone tell me what it’s worth? Thanks

  15. Rod Garrett :

    I have one for sale…….1-949-637-1048

  16. Brian Eremenko :

    Thank god and B.P. (AKA sideways Omega) that I
    found out about the Computing Cheese Cutter Co.
    I bought one today for $60
    bucks at an out of the way place and my wife was on my case before we left the parking lot about wasting $ on that thing.. To me it was something I had never seen before (I’m 56) so therefore worth at least $60. When I found Bob’s site I knew I had found a kindred sprit.
    Time to cut some cheese!

  17. Allyson Duckworth :

    I am interested in buying one of these please contact me at allysonduckworth@gmail.com

  18. george carlson :

    I have 10 some good same need work. some for 20# hoops some for 40#

  19. ronnie ellis :

    i am looking for a cheese cutter to purchase….please contact me at thetruthis3@nc.rr.com

  20. Hey Cheese connaisseurs, we carry quite some cheese cutting equipment in our assortment, but when I saw this (fancy foodshow last week) I was surprised! wow. I would love to buy one! For more tools check http://www.boskaholland.com All the best, Martijn Bos

  21. Harlan Chapman :

    I have one like the one above. Its been in my family for at least 60 years would like to know about what it is worth.

  22. Bill Halliwell :

    G’day Bob, great post and pictures. A friend came across a similar cheese cutter marked Brentfield Computer Scale Company. We’d love to know more about this cutter if anyone can help.
    Regards,
    Bill
    Hobart, Tasmania

  23. Fabio :

    Good site!!! Ehi there i still looking cheese cutter like this or also hand crank cheese slicer to buy. Some body have some machines to sell??

  24. Alice Adams :

    I have a computing cheese cutter for sale and it is in a very old glass display case. My number is
    (360)435-0151

  25. mike kiser :

    I’m looking for a hoop cheese cutter for my Dad. He is in his late 70s and has mentioned it a couple times. If you have one for sale I would be interested in talking to you. Thanks

  26. mike kiser :

    I’m looking for a computing cheese cutter for my Dad. He is in his late 70s and has mentioned it a couple times. If you have one for sale call me @ 704-472-6453 or email me @ michaelekiser@bellsouth.net thanks

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