Patent No. 5133233A: Bottle Opener Glove

Today in 1992, US Patent 5133233 A was issued, an invention of Charles M. Erwin, for his “Bottle Opener Glove.” Here’s the Abstract:

Bottle opening tool having bottle cap-engaging hook and end fulcrum bar, each secured to a rigid back plate, is incorporated into the palm of a glove. Back plate is shaped to conform to the shape of the palm of the wearer hand. Bottle cap is removed by back of user’s hand applying lifting force to glove. Entire bottle opening tool member fits within palm of glove, thereby leaving fingers unrestricted to movement both while opening bottles and when not being used to open bottles.


Patent No. 734985A: Apparatus For Converting Wort Into Beer

Today in 1903, US Patent 734985 A was issued, an invention of Charles Spindler, for his “Apparatus For Converting Wort Into Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to improved apparatus for the manufacture of fermented liquors, particularly beer; and it has for its object to provide an improved apparatus of this class which shall be superior from a standpoint of continuity and efficiency of operation, comparative simplicity in construction, compactness in form, and in the obviation of the use of a number of separate apparatuses the use of which is customarily incidental to processes involving the employment of apparatus of this class.


Beer In Ads #1630: Nothing So Good … For Good Company!

Monday’s ad is for Carling’s Black Label, from 1955. All it took was a shirt, a bowling ball, pin and whatever the hell is on top of the ball to make an abstract person holding a bottle of beer. In the mid-1950s, bowling was huge — a very high percentage of people not only bowled, but were involved in a weekly league. But another oddity I noticed was on the neck label, where it reads “Full 12 oz.” That seems strange, were there breweries using smaller than 12 oz. bottles that Carling felt the need to call attention to the fact that their bottles were a full 12 ounces?


Beer Birthday: John Mallett

Today is John Mallett’s 51st birthday, John is the production manager at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a post he’s held since 2001. John has a great sense of humor and I recall a particularly side-splitting kvetching evening-long conversation with him and Fal Allen at CBC in San Diego a number of years ago (not the most recent one) and a couple of years we judged together in Japan, which was great fun. In addition, John also recently published the Brewers’ Publications book on Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse. John me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

Mugging for the camera at GABF in 2007, with Bob Pease, Ray Daniels and Mark Dorber.

At Bruce Paton’s “Tion” Beer Dinner. That’s John in orange trying to smooch with Peter Bouckaert from New Belgium.

John, me and other judges in Tokyo to judge at the Japanese Craft Beer competition in 2013.

John with Fred Bueltmann of New Holland Brewing, at Red Horse Ranch in Michigan (photo purloined from Facebook).

If you’d like to see John wearing lederhosen, click here.

Patent No. 3594995A: Hop-Picking Machine

Today in 1971, US Patent 3594995 A was issued, an invention of Thomas Lee Evans and Charlie J. Soules, for their “Hop-Picking Machine.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to hop-picking machines and, more particularly, to novel, improved machines for field picking hops from vines hanging from overhead wires or trellises or other supports.

We have now developed a novel, improved machine for filed picking hops which does not have the drawbacks of machines heretofore proposed for this purpose and accordingly represents a significant advance in the art over the latter. The novel hop-picking machines of the present invention are preferably self-propelled and, generally speaking, include graspers for engaging the lower ends of the vines and maintaining them in picking position as they move through the machine, picking cuts for stripping the hops from the vines, a conveyor arrangement for carrying the hops away, a cutter for severing the vines to free them from the supports, and an arrangement for expelling picked vines from the machine.

One of the important advantages of the novel hoppicking machine described herein is that, being self-propelled, it can be maneuvered through a field more easily and much faster than the cumbersome pushed-type” picker described in the Horst patents identified above and is accordingly capable of picking hops at a much higher rate. Another advantage, also resulting in increased capacity, is that the machines of the present invention are capable of picking two rows of vines simultaneously in contrast to the patented Horst machines which are single-row pickers.

In the Horst machines, the vines are pulled down through the machine as they are picked. Accordingly, a field hand must accompany the machine and cut the vines free from the trellises as they move into the machine. Applicant’s novel machine in contrast does not depend on downward movement of the vines they are picked; and, moreover, it is provided with its own cutter for severing the vines to free them from the trellises. Accordingly, the necessity of employing hand labor for this purpose is eliminated by the present invention together with the attendant expense.

In conjunction with the foregoing, another novel and important feature ofthe present invention is that the picking cats are vertically adjustable. This makes it possible to quickly adjust the cats as the heights of the overhead supports change so that the vines can be picked clean up to the supports.

Another important feature of the present invention is a novel conveyor for the hops stripped from the vines which normally discharges into a truck or the like but can be employed to store picked hops so that the machine can continue to pick while a loaded truck is being replaced or the machine is turning at the end ofa row, etc. In similar circumstances the picking operation would have be stopped in heretofore proposed machines such as those .described in .the Horst patents, for example.

Yet another important feature of the present invention is a novel grasper line for holding the vines in the proper position for picking in which the grapsers are moved at a speed matching the ground speed of the picking machine. Further, the grapscr line is configured to compensate for sagging vinesupporting wires, thereby ensuring that the vines are grasped at the proper location.

Other important features of the invention are a novel cutter mechanism for severing the vines and freeing them from the trellises and a novel mechanism for expelling the picked vines from the machine. Yet another novel and important feature of the invention is that the operating mechanisms are powered entirely by hydraulic motors, substantially eliminating belt and chain and similar drives. This makes the novel machines disclosed herein significantly simpler than comparable prior art harvesters.


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Beer In Ads #1629: The Goodness Of Malt & A Match

Sunday’s ad is another one for the Barley and Malt Institute, also from 1959. This is the sixth ad I have from the now defunct trade group for barley growers. In this one a man sitting a bar, with the evening newspaper and bowl of pretzels in front of him, lights a match to fire up his cigarette as he glances to his left, watching the glass of beer he ordered as it’s just about finished being filled. It looks like the perfect way to end a workday, circa 1959.


Beer Birthday: Mark Ruedrich

Today is the 64th birthday of Mark Ruedrich, co-owner, and original brewer, of North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg. Mark was a marine biologist who discovered good beer while living in England. Looking for a spot to build a brewery in Northern California, he was drawn to the tidal pools around Fort Bragg, and built a mini-beer empire there beginning in 1988. His Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout was one of the first truly great world-class beers made by early American microbreweries and helped put the nascent industry on the map. Plus he’s great fun to share a pint with. Join me in wishing Mark a very happy birthday.

Mark with North Coast co-owner Tom Allen at GABF in 2006.

North Coast brewer Ken Kelley with Mark at the brewery last year.

Patent No. 2477222A: Beer Dispenser With Coil Cleaning Means

Today in 1949, US Patent 2477222 A was issued, an invention of Frederick J. Warcup, for his “Beer Dispenser with Coil Cleaning Means.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to beer distributing systems such as are used in taverns and saloons for conducting beer from kegs, in which the beer is delivered from the brewery, to taps located behind the bar. The length of piping between a keg and the tap includes a cooling coil through which the beer flows.

One object of the invention is to provide an improved beer distributing system in which water can be conveniently introduced into the beer lines and accurately controlled so as to avoid the loss of beer that results from having beer stand in the pipes, from draining of the lines for cleaning, and the loss that occurs when an empty keg is replaced with a full one.

It is another object of this invention to provide means by which tavern operators can clean their own lines without having to connect or disconnect any unions or fittings, and in the preferred embodiment of the invention the system is constructed so that the beer lines can be cleaned without even leaving the bar. The tavern operator can fill his beer lines with water preparatory to cleaning them and all of the usual loss of beer incident to cleaning line is avoided.

Another important saving is effected by this invention when a keg becomes empty and it is necessary to tap a new keg. Whenever the contents of one keg become exhausted, the beer line fills with foam and the first beer from a new keg surges into the line and foams to such an extent that the first glasses drawn after a new keg has been tapped cannot be used because of excessive foam. With this invention the line is filled with water before tapping a new keg and there is no surge of beer into the line.


Beer In Ads #1628: The Goodness Of Malt While Boating

Saturday’s ad is for the Barley and Malt Institute, from 1959. This is the fifth ad I have from the now defunct trade group for barley growers. In this one a woman is pouring a beer on the dock for a man sitting in boat of uncertain size, though it’s probably relatively small, and trying to grab the glass (glass?!?) mug even before she’s finished filling it. The tagline is similar to other Malt Institute ads, suggesting it was a series of ads: “Fun-Flavors your favorite beer—healthfully.” I’m not even sure that quite makes sense.


Beer Birthday: Paul Gatza

Today is also Paul Gatza’s 51st birthday. Paul is the Director of the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado. He’s held numerous executive positions with the BA and its previous incarnation, the Association of Brewers. An avid homebrewer, Paul is great face for the BA and a terrific person. Join me in wishing Paul a very happy birthday.

Toasting in New Orleans for CBC.

Working the AHA booth at GABF.

At the podium during the opening of CBC in 2008.

Paul giving his annual state of the industry talk at CBC in 2012.