Having made around 5000 silver salt & pepper mills throughout my career, in a variety of different shapes, I consider myself something of an authority on this subject. What one has to take into account though is that while I might be an authority on making silver mills I am obviously not as proficient with using and maintaining them on a day to day basis. I do however use one at least once a day everyday.
I discovered a few days ago, on topping up a mill with fresh peppercorns, that a mill kept full, or nearly full, produces far more ground pepper than a lesser full one. (A nearly empty mill grinds painfully slowly – even a JA Campbell mill fitted with a Peugeot mechanism.)
The simple reason for this is that the weight of the corns pressing down on the grinding mechanism is much greater when the mill is full ,or nearly full, forcing more corns through per turn.
As with all spices there is no comparison between freshly ground and ready ground.
For information, even though we do not make a coffee grinder, the same applies to grinding coffee beans and you will find it easier in the beginning than at the end, but it is worth it for the fresh aroma of newly ground coffee beans.
In a recent silverware blog I gave information regarding how to clean silver salt & pepper mills and I highly recommend you read this to ensure you do not accidentally cause damage to the mill bodies or the mechanisms in the mills.
Whenever you use JA Campbell Silver remember to enjoy it, use it, do not keep it shut away in a cupboard, it improves with use and will give your friends and family pleasure as well as yourself.
Master Silversmith at JA Campbell