written by:
March 31, 2011

While we've all heard of Dansk, far fewer of us are aware of the talented artist behind the company: Danish designer Jens Harald Quistgaard. Formed in 1954 with American entrepreneur Ted Nierenberg, Dansk has become an internationally recognized flatware and cookware company. Its beginnings, however, were in Quistgaard's teak pepper mills. Recently, Dansk reissued three mills by Quistgaard (who passed away in 2008) exclusively for Crate and Barrel: Henrik, Lisbet, and Jesper.

The pagoda-like Henrik is a skinny two-and-a-half inches in diameter but stands six inches tall.
The pagoda-like Henrik is a skinny two-and-a-half inches in diameter but stands six inches tall.
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Lisbet measures in at four-and-a-half inches in height and three inches in diameter.
Lisbet measures in at four-and-a-half inches in height and three inches in diameter.
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A top view shows the salt-shaking holes in each mill's top as well as the stoppers that can be removed for adding salt.
A top view shows the salt-shaking holes in each mill's top as well as the stoppers that can be removed for adding salt.
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Each mill is marked with both the Dansk name and Quistgaard's initials.
Each mill is marked with both the Dansk name and Quistgaard's initials.
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Instead of using teak, the new mills are made of acacia wood, which is a more sustainable wood than teak but one that still offers warm hues.
Instead of using teak, the new mills are made of acacia wood, which is a more sustainable wood than teak but one that still offers warm hues.
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My new favorite items at my house: two Jens Quistgaard mills, reissued by Dansk for Crate and Barrel.
My new favorite items at my house: two Jens Quistgaard mills, reissued by Dansk for Crate and Barrel.

The three mills are representative of Quistgaard's collection of soft, sculptural creations (the total number of which far exceeds that which any one person—other than a devout collector—could find use for). Though the Henrik, Lisbet, and Jesper designs come from the Dansk archives, technically the mills are reinterpretations: Instead of being made of teak like the originals, the company opted to use sustainable acacia wood.

The pagoda-like Henrik is a skinny two-and-a-half inches in diameter but stands six inches tall.
The pagoda-like Henrik is a skinny two-and-a-half inches in diameter but stands six inches tall.
Lisbet measures in at four-and-a-half inches in height and three inches in diameter.
Lisbet measures in at four-and-a-half inches in height and three inches in diameter.

I recently ordered two of the mills: the tall, towering Henrik and the short-and-squat Lisbet. (I can't help but find it an odd coincidence that the names of these mills so closely mirror the names of two of the main characters of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Henrik Vanger and Lisbeth Salander.) Nevertheless, while each mill features a removable top and holes for shaking salt, I purchased two: one to mill pepper and the second to mill salt, a situation that I prefer.

A top view shows the salt-shaking holes in each mill's top as well as the stoppers that can be removed for adding salt.
A top view shows the salt-shaking holes in each mill's top as well as the stoppers that can be removed for adding salt.

The bottom of each mill features a removable black piece that holds the grinding mechanisms in place and gives access to the area where unmilled salt and pepper can be stored. The bottom also features the Dansk name and Quistguaard's initials: JHQ.

Each mill is marked with both the Dansk name and Quistgaard's initials.
Each mill is marked with both the Dansk name and Quistgaard's initials.

The mills are available from Crate and Barrel (though the site is advertising limited availability). Originally listed as $39.95, they're currently on sale for $29.95. For more about Quistgaard's mills, read our 2009 story about their designs and one avid American collector, Mark Perlson, author of Danish Pepper.

Instead of using teak, the new mills are made of acacia wood, which is a more sustainable wood than teak but one that still offers warm hues.
Instead of using teak, the new mills are made of acacia wood, which is a more sustainable wood than teak but one that still offers warm hues.

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