Patent No. 2222767A: Hop Picking Machine

Today in 1940, US Patent 2222767 A was issued, an invention of John Gray Charles, assigned to the Guinness Son & Co. Ltd., for his “Hop Picking Machine.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The present invention relates to hop picking machines of the kind in which the bine, after having been cut from the plant, is attached to a conveyor which draws it past one or more series of transverse rows of moving projections or picking fingers carried upon rotating drums, chains, or the like, and which are designed to engage the hops and pull them from the short stalks or stems by which they are attached to the bine, the arrangement being such that the effective portions of the paths of movement of the projections or picking fingers is parallel or substantially parallel to the effective portion of the path of movement of the conveyor.


Patent No. 3480175A: Single Pull Ring Tab

Today in 1969, US Patent 3480175 A was issued, an invention of Nick S. Khoury, assigned to the Continental Can Co., for his “Single Pull Ring Tab.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This subject has to do with easy opening can ends having a tear portion defined by a weakening line and wherein a pull tab is attached to the tear portion to effect the removal thereof. The pull tab overlies the tear portion so as to protect the tear portion against accidental removal. By having the pull tab coextensive with the tear portion, more space is made available for a larger tear portion.

This invention relates in general to new and useful improvements in easy opening containers, and more particularly to a novel easy opening panel construction of the type having a tear portion defined by a peripheral weakening line and a pull tab secured to the tear portion and adjacent a starting end thereof to facilitate both the initial rupture of the container panel and the tearing out of the tear portion.

When a tear portion of an easy opening container is placed in the end panel of a container end, in the past the extent of the tear portion has been restricted by the size of the end panel. This has been because the pull tab has normally provided an extension of the tear strip. In accordance with this invention, it is proposed to have the pull tab disposed coextensive with the tear strip whereby the starting end of the tear strip is not restricted to a position immediately adjacent the center of the end panel as has been customary.

Another feature of this invention is to position the pull tab in overlying relation to the tear portion whereby the pull tab protects the tear portion and prevents accidental rupture of the container panel along the weakening line defining the tear portion.

Still another feature of this invention is to provide adjacent the tear portion upstanding ribs which support the pull tab in an elevated position above the tear portion to further prevent the accidental rupture of the container panel along the weakening line defining the tear portion.


Patent No. 2861603A: Coin Operated Beer Dispensing Machine

Today in 1958, US Patent 2861603 A was issued, an invention of Harry R. Terlecki, for his “Coin Operated Beer Dispensing Machine.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My invention relates to a coin operated multi-barrel beer dispensing machine which delivers cold palatable beer in individual cups to the purchaser without an undesirable amount of foam, which indicates exhaustion of the cups and beverage without the need of a liquid indicator device for the beverage, and which draws the beer equally from a plurality of barrels.

In the present invention a machine is provided which will dispense cold beer without an undue amount of foam. The machine will dispense beer from a plurality of barrels received in the refrigerated base portion of the machine. The quantity of beer remaining in the barrels is accurately measured by the cup counting device itself. In brief, a cabinet, having an insulated refrigerated space, is provided to hold the beer dispensing mechanism. The refrigerated space of the cabinet contairis a plurality of beer barrels and the cooling coils of a refrigerating unit. An insulated jacket extends upward from the refrigerated space into the uncooled upper portion of the cabinet to the beer dispensing device. This jacket,-which opens into the refrigerated portion immediately in front of the cooling coils, houses the conduit leading from the barrels to the beer dispensing device. A motor driven fan mounted behind the cooling coils assures the circulation of a steady stream of cold air in this jacket. Thus the beer is kept cold until dispensed. With the use of a cup chute designed to deposit the cup at a minimum distance from the beer dispensing device, the formation of an undesirable amount of foam is prevented when the beer is dispensed in the cup. The beer in all barrels is kept under constant equal pressures. This is achieved by means of an air pump and a pressure regulator valve. These are connected to the barrels and provide an equal and constant pressure inside the barrels. Consequently, when the faucet is opened beer is drawn equally from all the barrels. Thus, since all barrels initially contain equal quantities of beer they become empty simultaneously. There is no need to provide a complex automatic switching mechanism which would be required if the barrels emptied consecutively. The cup dispenser is initially filled with a number of cups to correspond with the initial quantity of beer contained in the barrels. Therefore the barrels and the cup dispenser become exhausted at the same time. Therefore, at any time the quantity of beer remaining in the barrels is quickly determined by the number of cups remaining in the cup dispenser The empty signal light is controlled by the cup dispenser and there is no need for a fluid indicator device operated by the fluid in the barrels.


We actually had a beer dispenser in the day room of our barracks when I was in the Army, but it was more like a soda vending machine, and just dispensed cans of beer. But the beer vending machine below, for Wilsons Draught Bitter, looks closer to the one patented, and the photo’s from around 1960, so the timing works. It would be great if you could just walk up to a machine, plunk in a few coins — and voila — you’d have a glass of beer.


The Coolest Cans

This is hands-down one of the coolest designs for a beer can I’ve ever seen. Designed by a Romanian company, Remark Studio SRL, it even won a Gold Pentaward last year for concept design in the worldwide packaging design awards competition. The only sad news is that while it’s an award-winning concept, no brewery has yet stepped up to actually put their beer in the cans, and Volksbier is just a made-up prototype name.

The cans are actually moulded so the dimples are really in the cans, which would make them both stand out and be easier to grip. While I don’t generally like the idea of drinking directly from a beer can — I still firmly believe it should be poured into a proper glass — it’s hard not to imagine drinking straight from this can. And I love the idea that the color of each can could be the exact color of the beer inside. How cool would a brewery’s range of beers look in these cans?


Patent No. 441477A: Bottling-Machine

Today in 1890, US Patent 441477 A was issued, an invention of William H. Foye, Jr., and William H. Foye, Sr., for their “Bottling-Machine.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

Our invention relates to improvements in bottling-machines used in bottling fermented liquors and other fluids which contain carbonic acid gas or are to be charged with the same.

Our objects are, first, to provide a machine capable of adjustment to any size or shape of bottle; second, to force out the atmospheric air contained in the bottle and fill the same with carbonic-acid gas; third, to fill the bottle with fluid and prevent the same from coming in contact with atmospheric air, if desired, thereby preventing the escape of carbonic-acid gas and preserving the life and aroma of the fluid; fourth, to saturate the fluid with carbonic-acid gas, when required, by pressure and agitation, and, fifth, to cork and secure the same by wiring before removing the bottle from the machine, if desired.


And here’s the original drawing filed with the application:

Patent No. 2660039A: Drinking Glass Construction

Today in 1953, US Patent 2660039 A was issued, an invention of Carl D. Newell, for his “Drinking Glass Construction.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

It is, therefore, the primary object of the present invention to provide drinking glasses and other relative glass matching items wherein the main body or base thereof is constructed of a plastic composition such as fine porcelain or china, pottery or other ceramic materials capable of withstanding the intense heat used in firing patterns or designs, to the end that drinking glasses and relative glass items may be provided with designs or patterns identical with the designs or patterns used on dinner or dish sets constructed of porcelain or pottery or ceramic materials thereby completing the set even to the drinking glasses.

Another object of the invention is to provide drinking glasses and relative glass matching items constructed of porcelain, pottery or other ceramic materials, and having a part or liner of glass or similar material extending beyond the upper edge of the body or base portion of the drinking glass, providing a lip engaging portion so that the person using a drinking glass will get the same effect in drinking from the glass as he would from the usual glass tumbler.


The Cult Of Propaganda

Some of the definitions of a cult, as defined by, include 1) “an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing,” 2) “a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.,” 3) “a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader,” and 4) “any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.” That sure sounds like Alcohol Justice, and many other prohibitionist groups, to me. They hold up the ideal that alcohol is bad, and anyone making it, selling it or saying anything good about it is not only wrong, but evil. They use extremist rhetoric and tactics to advance their agenda and they’re certainly “outside of conventional society” since the majority of people enjoy alcohol from time to time, and without question they use “methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific,” especially the unscientific variety masquerading as science. I don’t know if I’d call Bruce Lee Livingston “a charismatic leader;” he seems like more of an opportunist than an evangelist, but he’s also a “dancer” and a “tennis player,” so who knows? But as far as I can see, they pass the test for being a cult.

So it’s slightly amusing to see that the cult of propaganda, a.k.a. Alcohol Justice, has placed Anheuser-Busch InBev in the AJ Doghouse for the sin of making something that’s “flavored” and “glow-in-the-dark,” which of course means that it must be “youth-attractive,” whatever that means. And if that wasn’t vague enough for you, they helpfully include a link in their tweet to their doghouse explanation entitled “Flavored? Glow-in-the-dark? A-B InBev.” Which by itself seems fairly silly. I’m pretty sure almost everything, with the possible exception of neutral spirits, has a flavor of some kind. Frankly, even the neutral ones taste of something, I mean nobody confuses them with water. But why is glow-in-the-dark such a danger? Lots of things light up at night. What is Sheriff AJ so worried about this time?

In a desperate attempt to gain back young drinkers with tricks children enjoy, A-B InBev is going to dangerous lengths. A-B InBev hopes that its release of Oculto, a new tequila-infused citrus-flavored beer, will lure Millennials back to the A-B InBev stable and brands such as Bud Light.

I’m not sure what led them to declare it was “desperation” that led ABI to make Oculto, but the link tells you everything you need to know. It’s a Fast Company article from March of this year, meaning it took AJ nine months to sound the alarm. In its title, they ask Can AB InBev Seduce Millennials with a New Tequila-Infused Beer?, in which “Vice President of U.S. Marketing Jorn Socquet outlines the strategy behind the brewer’s new brand Oculto, which includes masks and secret messages.”

So who are these Millennials of which they speak? I’m never quite sure where one named generation starts, and another ends, so I took to that series of tubes known as the interwebs. When you Google the term, the immediate answer is “a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000; a Generation Yer.” So that would mean ABI is targeting drinkers who reached adulthood at least 15 years ago. Oh, the horror. But other sources do claim Millennials include people who were born as late as 2000. But regardless to insist that ABI is targeting people below 21, who are legally unable to buy what they’re selling is, as usual, an absurdity. I’m not a fan of Oculto as a type of drink, alcopops, or even many of ABI’s products more generally, but they have enough legal customers not to risk doing something illegal or trying to court underage customers. That AJ continues to insist that they’re doing exactly that strains credulity and exposes them as charlatans who would say or do anything to advance their agenda, whether it make sense or not. But AJ goes on in their delusional way.

With a campaign based on elaborate masks, whispered secrets, and mysterious club parties where new drinkers are indoctrinated into the brand, more brand ambassadors join the Oculto fold. Yes, it does sound like a dangerous cult or hazing ritual.

No, it sounds like a bad idea to pander to young adults’ love of Halloween by co-opting imagery from Mexico’s — and all of South America’s — Day of the Dead celebrations. But if you’re worried about a dangerous cult, you need look no further than a mirror. When you start manufacturing controversy, you’re engaging in your own cult-like behavior. Don’t look behind the curtain, reality is what we say it is.

Like other alcohol brands hoping to appeal to youth and attract those who would otherwise reject beer, A-B InBev is focusing the majority of its Oculto marketing strategy on social media, e.g. Instagram. The label includes a glow-in-the-dark, Day-of-the-Dead-inspired skull that looks and acts like a children’s decoration. While A-B InBev attempts to illuminate the Oculto brand label, the risk of harm to young people inside the bottle glows brightly.

You keep using that word “youth.” I do not think it means what you think it means. AJ acknowledges that it was inspired by the Day of the Dead, but mis-characterizes it as “a children’s decoration.” Have they seen a Day of the Dead celebration? Apparently not, or they’d know better than to accuse a glow-in-the-dark skull as being exclusive;y for children. What is it about something that glows in the dark that makes it “youth-attractive” anyway? That similarly makes absolutely no earthly sense. I love phosphorus gadgets, and our house and outside of it, is filled with them. I’m about as far away from youth as one can get, and I love things that glow in the dark.

Also, the idea that the target for Oculto is to “get” people “who would otherwise reject beer” is ridiculous, and completely misleading and false. Did AJ even read the article they’re using to put ABI in the doghouse? The people who are rejecting beer are drinking “hard booze,” drinks like “whiskey and tequila.” So this is really AJ specifically targeting beer — sigh, again — and not alcohol in general. If they were really worried about kids, or people’s health, they’d be applauding this effort to get young adults to drink something far less potent than hard liquor. Oculto, even at 6% ABV, is still no where near as strong as the weakest tequilas or whiskies. Tequila is usually 80 proof, or 40% ABV, while whiskey is around 40-46% ABV. But ABI’s in the doghouse for trying to get people to drink their weaker offering. How does that make any kind of sense?

Their laughable insistence that anything kids, or even young adults perhaps not quite 21, might find appealing is, by definition, “youth-attractive,” is a canard, and a dangerous one that they use time and time again. There is no division between “youth-attractive” and “adult-attractive.” Such delineations do not exist in the real world. Many things adults like, kids like, too. And many things kids love, adults continue to enjoy, as well. The only people who “put away childish things” as so-called grown-ups are, in my opinion, idiots with a stick up their ass who forgot how to enjoy their one and only life. But they’re just the sort of person who might join a cult, even one trying to rid the world of beer.


Patent No. 4708938A: Alcoholic Fermentation

Today in 1987, US Patent 4708938 A was issued, an invention of Stephen J. Hickinbotham, for his “Alcoholic Fermentation.” Here’s the Abstract:

Fermentation method and apparatus comprising an outer container with a plastics bag hung from the neck of the container to define a chamber between the bag and the container. Means to pressurize the chamber with a temperature controlled medium to control fermentation of material within the bag. Additional pressurization of the chamber causing the fermented liquid to be expelled from the mouth of the bag.


Patent No. 2422750A: Plastic Bottle Crowner

Today in 1947, US Patent 2422750 A was issued, an invention of Harold E. Rue, assigned to Pabst Brewing Co., for his “Plastic Bottle Crowner.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention appertains to bottle capping and more particularly to a novel machine for forming or molding plastic crown caps on bottle necks to bring about the tight sealing of the bottles.


Beer Can Plinking

I’m not exactly a gun person, but don’t have anything against them under the right circumstances — target shooting, hunting for food, etc. Although I don’t own any, I did earn an Expert Marksmanship badge when I was in the Army and I had a BB gun as a kid (note: I didn’t shoot my eye out). My psychotic stepfather owned quite a few, both pistols and rifles, and we’d sometimes go out in the woods and shoot targets, usually beer cans. But until this morning, I didn’t realize there was a name for doing that: plinking. Wikipedia describes plinking as “informal target shooting done at nonstandard targets such as tin cans, glass bottles, and balloons filled with water. The term is an onomatopoeia of the sound a bullet or other projectile makes when hitting a tin can, or other similar target, referring to the sharp, metallic sound, known as a ‘plink.'” It’s certainly a satisfying sound, and nicely validates your aim.

My stepdad also took me skeet shooting a couple of times, and that was fun, too, though I don’t remember being very good at it; I recall missing more often than not. Apparently, someone figured out a way to combine the two, The Targeteer Beer Can Target Launcher. I recently stumbled upon an old ad for this, Flying Beer Can Targets, which was sold through the Sunset House mail order catalog from 1964.


It seems like a great way to combine target shooting, skeet and recycling (or at least repurposing). It was actually patented in 1960 and Vox Box, a packaging blog, has the full story on the Targeteer Beer Can Launcher. It also seems like you could use it to shoot beer cans at another target, which may be why they weren’t more popular. I’m also afraid my stepfather would have drank the beer right before using them as a target, which wouldn’t necessarily be the best idea, in my experience guns and beer generally don’t, or shouldn’t, mix.