About Us


Chef Specialties is celebrating 80 years of crafting Made in USA pepper mills, salt mills, shakers, and accessories. 

Established in 1940, we are America's first pepper mill manufacturer. Our long lasting performance pepper mills are found in commercial establishments and home kitchens world-wide.

We are a 4th generation family-owned and operated manufacturer of premium spice mills, driven by our love for cooking, and entertaining! We are located in Smethport, Pennsylvania. 

Metal workers at heart, our story begins in 1906 with the founding of our parent company, Backus Novelty. Backus began as a manufacturer of hat, coat, and umbrella locks for commercial venues. Backus invented the automatic bowling pin setter in 1916 which was later licensed to AMF in the 1920’s. Backus has manufactured a variety of precision machined products over the years including lighter components, pocket knives, survival tools, money clips, golf and fly fishing tools, aerospace industry components, and of course, Chef Specialties Professional Series salt and pepper grinding mechanisms. Backus Company continues today with more than 100 years of experience in manufacturing and product innovation.

Committed to American Craftsmanship, we manufacture our Professional Series grinding mechanisms in our Pennsylvania factory. Our Professional Series wood line is crafted from American hardwood and each mill is hand assembled and inspected by our team. In addition, our filled spice products are filled in the United States to ensure the highest level of quality and food safety. 

Our product line includes a full range of wood, acrylic, and stainless steel spice mills in a variety of finishes and sizes in classic to contemporary designs. Many of our products are customizable with designer hand painting, laser engraving, and private label services. We also offer a full assortment of seasonings and accessories.

This year, we are celebrating the 113th anniversary of Backus Company and 80th anniversary of Chef Specialties. Never changing is our commitment to high quality American craftsmanship and service.