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 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.
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.
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.
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.