Henri Le Clerk


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This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.

Doris found it in a junk shop in Prague.
It had been there for some time.
The owner did not remember buying it so it must have been in the shop when he bought it and that was back in the 1930s.
Doris was intrigued.
She took it to a dealer who specialised in cheese graters.
It meant a trip to Paris, but she had an itch that needed scratching so Paris it was going to be. The dealer said he needed a bit of time, so she left it with him and came back the next day.
She could tell that he was trying to contain his excitement.
The grater was a prototype, handmade by the inventor of the cheese grater, Henri Le Clerk.
It was priceless!
Le Clerk was driven to invent the cheese grater because his wife was sick and tired of scraping her fingers on the sandpaper that everyone used to grate cheese before the invention of the cheese grater.
Henri Le Clerk never got around to putting a patent on the cheese grater. Like Howard Florey who developed penicillin and Jonas Salk who developed the polio vaccine, he simply gave it to the world.
His wife was proud of him, and that was enough to make him happy. 

26 thoughts on “Henri Le Clerk

  1. That grater is a beautiful piece of work. Love the drawer. I presume the pieces of rubber were added later to give the wood greater stability? Love that Doris “had to go to Paris” to meet the grater expert. Sounds awfully like an excuse to me!;-)


      • Actually what I was going to say was that I just happened to get a box of graters sent to me yesterday (true story) from Jacob Bromwell Co. (US-made, classic designs). While looking for care instructions, I found a story on their website about the origins of the grater. Another Frenchman (quel surprise!) is credited with this design and if your wife is so inclined, next time you guys can go to Le Havre to see the original. 😉 http://www.jacobbromwell.com/morgans-famous-grater
        Of course, I thought this coincidence of me and the graters and the French story was so weird and unlikely that I just went with a bad pun instead.


  2. Great story! (See, I resisted the obvious! And of course it has been used above.) I never thought of a cheese grater as having an inventor and thought of it as a tool that had evolved over time, but this just shows that great ideas are so simple and natural that they seem to have just always existed. What simple machine or tool awaits to be born in the brain of some creative person that we won’t be able to live without?


    • You showed remarkable restraint Catherine.
      Invention is a remarkable thing. Just when you think that everything that could have been thought of has been, along comes someone with one of those minds that sees clearly and they come up with something new. I love it.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment.


  3. Pingback: Henri Le Clerk | sscottyy's Blog

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