It is pretty remarkable to think that only 150 years ago, a grinding wheel to sharpen tools was so important, it was placed on a pedestal and photographed. We have come a long way from sharpening knives in that period of time. The CDV (carte de visite) photograph was an improvement on the tintype. They were most popular from 1859 to 1866. Often, photographs of inventions and hard goods were promoted with photographs, and it is possible this photograph played the role of a salesman sample.
Circa 1870 CDV of a Grinding Wheel Courtesy CURLEY'S ANTIQUES.