Iowa man has more than 150 apple parers, segmenters and slicers

If you have any apples that need peeling, paring or segmenting, Lyle K. of Cedar Rapids can help out. That’s because Lyle has an extensive collection of apple paring gadgets that date back to the 19th century. He now boasts a collection of apple parers that number about 150 apple parers, segmenters and slicers.

The entire collection exceeds 1,000 pieces, which is a massive collection. Getting to the core of Lyle’s collection means a host of grinders or graters or cabbage cutting machines. He is attracted to any antique/vintage piece that features a turning handle.

After speaking with Lyle on the telephone, he sent several copies of past articles about him and written by him on his collection as well as explanations of how some of these pieces operate. He has subscribed to Collectors Journal for more than 20 years and is now retired, so he has lots of time to devote to his collection.

Assisting him with dating objects, Lyle swears by the book, “300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles” by Linda Campbell Franklin. Now in its 5th edition, the book has helped Lyle with values of his objects as well as serving as a reference tool in dating items and learning about the manufacturer of these items. It is available online through Amazon and other booksellers.

Lyle is a past member of “KOOKS” which stands for Kollectors of Old Kitchen Stuff, but he said the group has disbanded in recent years.

But when he began collecting about 1967, he started with a much different interest. “I started out collecting antique coins,” Lyle said. But while working on a farm for the summer (during college) Lyle found an old wooden ice box dating from the 1880s or 1890s, and that find started his fascination with kitchen-related utensils and gadgets. In an article from 1988, Krug said he typically pays between $70 and $130 for his pieces; although he did dig deep and spend $320 for a large apple parer that was likely used in a bakery. Lyle said that the high water mark has surpassed $320. Nowadays, Lyle’s spent up to a few thousand dollars for certain pieces. “It depends on the condition, the numbers of pieces available; and the (particular) parer---some of them go for quite a big sum.”

He said that a Climax brand apple parer sold in 1997 for $4,800; and that one and another similar one sold for $10,000 just recently.

“An Improved Monroe’s Patent Egg beater and batter mixer sold for a really good price too, $5,000,” he said.

If it’s anything to do with a kitchen collectible, Lyle probably has at least one and maybe several. Some of the other items are: meat grinders, cherry pitters, horseradish graters as well as the apple parers. “Some of the pieces I have date to the 1830s,” he said. “That’s (apple parer) probably my oldest –it’s from the 1830s and is made of forged iron.” Lyle also has a cast iron apple parer dating from the 1850s. And he also has 30 wooden pieces in his collection. Those who collect jars will be happy to know Lyle has about 50 fruit and canning jars as well as glass lids.

He related a story about his aunt who picked a ceramic/porcelain rolling pin of her aunt’s out of the trash. The rolling pin is a Farmers Mercantile and is probably more than 100 years old.

Recently Lyle’s been trying to sell some of his collection. “I have a house I’m trying to empty out,” he said. He has a few dealers trying to sell stuff; as well as a customer from North Carolina who recently arrived in Iowa and left with several items.

Lyle will very likely hold on to his most treasured kitchen items and he shared a sage collector’s adage: “Never throw out anything.”