Bean Slicer; Ken Bowes & Co. Ltd; c1940; 2015.15


Port Macquarie Museum


Bean Slicer

About this object

This table mounted metal bean slicer with turn handle and 3 rotating cutting blades was made by Ken Bowes & Co. Ltd (KBC), a South Australian based manufacturing company established in 1936.

Similar bean slicers were made by other companies. Intended as a domestic labour saving device to cut beans, some owners relegated their bean slicer to the back of the kitchen cupboard as they didn’t like the way the slicer cut the bean into chunks.

The Port Macquarie district was once a large bean producer, particularly during the 1940s and early 1950s. In 1943 the local bean crop was reported as the best crop for years with picking averaging 20 to 30 bushels per day. Crops were consumed both locally and freighted by rail to Sydney markets.

Heavy rains and floods in the early 1950s resulted in local vegetable growers sustaining large financial losses with a number leaving the industry. Land in and around Port Macquarie previously farmed as market gardens and fruit plantations was progressively subdivided for housing and commercial developments including tourist accommodation and attractions.

Numerous kitchen gadgets have been invented over the years. Intended to help women slice, dice, mix, clean and generally remove the drudgery of kitchen and household chores and to save time, many of them have had mixed success.

KBC made its first domestic bean slicer in 1938 and by 1949 had produced 300,000. This is one of them!

Debbie Sommers
11 September 2016


Ken Bowes & Co. Ltd

Maker Role


Date Made


Place Made

South Australia

Medium and Materials

Metal alloy, steel, wood, paint

Inscription and Marks

'KBC' impressed


225mm L, 100mm W

Credit Line

Donor: Fay Miles

Object Type

Bean slicers

Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved


This object is from


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