Ham-mer time: a slice of Berkel’s history goes under the gavel

Ham-mer time: a slice of Berkel’s history goes under the gavel

Our editors set a high bar when it comes to the products they cover. So when you see a meat slicer on our pages, you’d better believe it’s one to watch.

Ever since the Chicago auction house Wright announced it would be selling off a collection of vintage Berkel flywheel slicers, we’ve been ogling its Instagram feed and counting the days. Wright, a specialist in modern and contemporary design, is hosting a preview of the machines until 9 February, when they’ll be auctioned off at the West Hubbard Street headquarters.

Flywheel slicer, Model P, manufactured by Sigma for Berkel, 1932–1946 / c2000

The sale, called ’Design in Motion’, features other vintage kitchen ephemera, but the star lots are 20 standing slicers dating from the 1890s to the 1950s. It’ll be the first-ever auction dedicated to the vintage flywheel slicing machines, designed by a Dutch butcher and manufactured in the American Midwest since the early 20th century.

Highlights include a 1930s ’Model 9H’ in iconic ’Berkel red’ with a rippled base; an ’Art Nouveau Model C’; and a matt black ’Model P’; and a ’Piccolo’, from the 1930s. Crafted in enameled iron and polished steel, they are not only incredibly precise but also precisely detailed, with meticulous pin-striping, ripples and lettering. They’ve been restored down to the concave blade.

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