Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Going For A Spong!

I love our Spong mincer, my fiancé Bob purchased it in the 70’s in order to turn the leftovers of a Sunday roast into a cottage pie. At the time, I grumbled that this was extravagant- we were saving up for a wedding. I have had to apologise profusely down the years, every time I have used it [and that is quite often!]


Here it is – ivory and orange plastic with a suction base. But the plastic is starting to disintegrate, and the part that holds the suction unit in place cracked badly, to the point where you really needed three hands to operate the device!

I checked out replacements from Lakeland- £55 for an attachment for my Kenwood, or £25 for a cast iron one [clamps to the table] or for a plastic one with suction base. The clamp doesn’t work with modern fitted kitchens, and reviewers said the suction wasn’t good [it looked like thin plastic too] I looked at eBay for a genuine Spong. Spong have been around over 150 years, the company was started by James Osborn Spong [son of a nonconformist minister] in 1856.

advert 1960

Here is an ad from 1960 – Formice had become a popular material for kitchens in the UK in the postwar years, so the company modified its original screw clamp for a suction base. I bought this


Just like the one on the ad, and I am guessing from the 1950s, as the address is London and the company moved out to Essex in 1962. But there was a problem when I opened it – all the parts were there, but…


..that grey rubber seal suction unit was split and so didn’t work. And I still do not have three hands. I contacted eBay saying I was sorry this had not been mentioned in the ad, but I did not need a refund as I planned to keep the mincer anyway.However, the seller apologised, and generously refunded my 99p & postage costs. This made me very happy indeed.

design award 1979

Those clever people at Spong modified the design of the 601 in the late 60s, replacing the cast iron hopper with nylon fittings, and adding a shorter handle. The base and suction unit stayed a similar size, as you see in this photo.


And underneath the square base of my original 1970’s model was also a round black disc – and it fits my new cast iron one perfectly! Both the red/white and the ivory/orange mincer won awards from the Design Council – but I love my new older one. We swapped the black suction disc for the split grey one and it works perfectly. I have successfully made a meatloaf using my new Spong to mince the meat, onion and crusts. Hoping this one lasts another 35 years! Here’s an ad from 1972 – he’ll really appreciate a wife with a Spong!


This is very clearly pre-feminist advertising. I am not quite sure what is meant by ‘a meal in a mincer’ Close  scrutiny of the picture shows tomatoes and radishes that have been ‘Vandyked’ with a sharp knife. I think the brown sludge may be minced meat though. I think our first cost around £3.50 from Timothy Whites – and this one is a freebie!

Do you have a mincer? and what do you use it for?


  1. How I miss my old metal Spong mincer!
    I grind leftover lamb in the food processor but it's not quite the same.

  2. I do have a mincer and it is one you screw to the table - the old fashioned way. Luckily I do have a kitchen table but in the days when I didn't I used to screw it to the bread board and get Mr M to hold the board still on the worktop! I don't often use it since we rarely have a roast joint of lamb these days but I used to make shepherd's pie with minced leftover cold meat. Or maybe rissoles - now there's a blast from the past does anyone have rissoles these days I wonder?

  3. I had a mincing attachment for my bright orange, late 70's Kenwood Chef. The mixer was a wedding present but the motor burned out about five years ago.

    It might still be in the loft of the garage...somewhere!

    Nowadays I take the easy way out and buy steak mince, although minced lamb sounds lovely!

  4. As I saw your first picture it reminded me of the mincer my nan used to have which was metal. Then as I read on it must be the other one you have bought because it is just like it. I remember being told not to put my fingers by it, it terrified me !

  5. I have my mother's spong mincer; it has "25", "National" and "Made in England" on one side and "Spong" on the other, and all silvery coloured and clamps to the table. I have a vivid memory of watching Mum using it to mince steak and then feeding a piece of bread through to bulk out the meat and clean the mincer of the last bits of meat (before washing, of course). I have never used it because I have ME and muscles like sparrows' kneecaps; Mum must have had muscles like Charles Atlas! She did all the washing for 2 adults and 4 kids by hand, mangling it by hand and only got a spin dryer in about 1972. The mincer was probably a mere warm-up for her!

  6. On the very rare occasions that we have a joint of lamb I get my old metal mixer out and then have to wander round the house to find somewhere for it to screw onto as like you say new kitchen worktops are too deep. The rest of the time it sits in it's old box as minced beef is a whole lot cheaper than a joint

  7. never ever heard of one of those. Never had a mincer and don't think I will ever get one.

  8. When I was little mum had a hand mincer (no idea of the make)with a red handle. They must have it some where. They now have the attachment that goes onto the Kenwood and dad uses it a lot now. I was given my grandmas kenwood some year back and last year bought the mincer attachment from agros. I've used it a few times but not nearly enough.

  9. I like gadgets like this. I don't have one now, but we used to have one years ago. The food processor has now replaced the spong or meat grinder as we call it in the USA.

  10. I have just been given a yellow Spong 601 - in its original box - all in working order. My Mum has a green one that clamps to the work top - fond memories of helping her to use it!

  11. I have my Granny's Spong from the 50s - I think I can answer your comment about "a meal in a mincer" as I don't just have the mincer, I also have several different attachments: a bean slicer, a grater (coarse or fine) and a slicer that would give the Vandyke effect. Plus a wooden cylinder for pushing things down into the grater/slicer. Sadly, this year the rubber base has finally perished and I am into the three hands required situation.


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