Patent No. 2348797A: Crown Cap Selecting Machine

Today in 1944, US Patent 2348797 A was issued, an invention of Louis A. Fischer, assigned to the Schaefer Brewing Co., for his “Crown Cap Selecting Machine.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to crown cap selecting machines, and has for its object to provide means for inspecting the interior of such machines while the same are running, and also provide means for preventing the caps from clogging during the operation of the machine.

In the use of such cap selecting machines, it frequently happens that inspection of the interior of the same becomes necessary and also that certain caps which have become clogged be removed. Also certain foreign matters must be dislodged.

This requires a shutting down of the machine and a re-starting, this requiring several hours of non-use of the machine.

The invention consists of a door closed opening which permits the caps to be ejected from the machine, capable of being opened and closed during the operation of the machine, and the invention also consists in the means for preventing clogging of caps.


Patent No. 257977A: Beer Chip

Today in 1882, US Patent 257977 A was issued, an invention of Bernard Rice, for his “Beer Chip.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My said invention relates to the chips or shavings employed by brewers for clarifying the beer in vats or thus previous to kegging it. These chips consist of beechwood, by preference, and have heretofore been used in the form of thick shavings, or of sawed lath-like chips, straight and flat, or of a mixture of the two. Grave objections lie to either form, which it is the design of my invention to obviate. The shavings invariably break in numerous places on the convex side, form ing interstices into which the particles of yeast and impurities settle, rendering it impossible to properly cleanse the shavings in the usual revolving washers. The sawed chips, while not open to this objection, are deficient in superficies, are liable to pack and stick together, and on the whole are inferior to the shavings. The desideratum is a shaving or chip having a large superficies, curved so as not to pack nor adhere to other chips, tough enough to withstand the agitation in the washer without breaking, and one which will not mildew when kept in stock. Such a chip I have succeeded in preparing, and that at a cost less than that of the chips as heretofore made. In practice I cut a sheet of veneer from a revolving login the usual way, choosing by preference the inner portion of the log, which is free from knots, and comparatively free from resin, and thoroughly dry the sheet. Either before or after drying I cut it into chips about eighteen inches long by one and a quarter inch wide, and pass them between heated calender rolls. This process has the effect to compact the fiber and prevent the chips from becoming soggy and sinking in the vats, to toughen them and prevent them from breaking in the cask or washer, and it gives them a. permanent curvature, so that they never straighten out. It also increases the density of the wood, rendering it of substantially the same specific gravity as the beer, whereby the chips do not tend to float exclusively at the surface, but remain suspended in the beer. The calendering, furthermore, dries out the sap and resin.

In order to insure a proper bending of the chips, an extra roller or bender may be attached to the calendering machine; but that is not essential. The rolls may also have embossed figures or lines, so as to indent the chips and increase their superficies.


Patent No. 28289A: Improvement In Beer-Powders

Today in 1860, US Patent 28289 A was issued, an invention of John McKellar, for his “Improvement In Beer-Powders.” There’s no Abstract, although for this one I’ve included the entire description because it’s so odd and interesting:

The constituents and proportions of the said beer-powder are as follows: one pound of hops, eight pounds of wheat-flour, one pound of powdered ginger, one pound of rasped or powdered lignum vitae, three fourths of a pound of tartaric acid, and seven and one-half ounces of essence composed of one part of some essential oil such as that of spruce, for instance, and four parts of common alcohol.

In making the said composition or beer-powder, the hops, with a sufficient quantity of water, should be put into a boiler or kettle, which should be heated until a very strong decoction is produced. After this the liquor should be separated from the hops and again boiled away to four and one-half pints, after which it may be suffered to cool. Next, three pounds of the flour should be mixed with it, and to the mixture should be added a little of the beer-powder, some yeast or other matter suitable to produce fermentation in the mixture. After such fermentation has been produced three pounds more of the flour should be stirred into the mixture and allowed to stand until a second fermentation takes place, after which the remaining two pounds of flour shuld be added to the mixture in order to convert it into dough, which subsequently should be spread or rolled out into thin sheets and dried. After desiccation has properly taken place the mixture should be ground to a powder and mixed with the tartaric acid. Finally, the lignum vitae, ginger, and essence should be commingled, and after the alcohol may have evaporated from them and the mixture become dry, this last combination should be thoroughly incorporated or mixed with the first, the Whole constituting the composition or beer-powder, as above mentioned. In respect to the different ingredients thereof, their purposes or operation may be explained as follows: The flour, from having been fermented, serves to cause and promote fermentation during the manufacture of beer with the said composition. The tartaric acid renders the beer palatable and prevents it from becoming ropy or sticky, and, furthermore, the acid operates to quench thirst, while the essence gives to the beer the proper flavor. The hops, the lignum vitae, and the ginger impart richness and strength to it, and, besides, are advantageous in other respects.

Most persons are unacquainted with the usual processes of making beer, and, besides, these processes are more or less expensive and productive of loss, for reasons well understood. With my powder or composition either a small or a large amount of beer can be expeditiously manufactured, as occasion may require. Besides the said beer-powder is not likely to spoil in any climate or under any change of temperature, and therefore is very useful on shipboard, as well as on shore.

In using the said beer-powder in the manufacture of beer the following mode of proceeding may be adopted: Put one-half pint of molasses and nine ounces of sugar into a stone or earthen vessel and with hot water sufficient to dissolve the saccharine matter and stir the whole until the same is dissolved. Next add to the solution a sufficient quantity of water to make the whole equal to six quarts and bring the same to a temperature of about bloodheat, and add to the mixture two ounces of the beer-powder. Stir the whole a few minutes, and next allow it to stand in a warm place or room for twenty-four hours, or until fermentation takes place. The commencement of fermentation will be discovered by the small bubbles which will appear on the surface of the liquid. After the fermentation has been continued a suitable length of time the liquor should be drained carefully from the sediment and strained and bottled. In the course of twelve or twenty-four hours it will be fit for use. Should a thick scum appear on the surface of the beer it should be removed before separating the beer from the sediment.

These weird concoctions appear to have been reasonably common during the Victorian period. Here’s an example from 1885.


Look again at the ingredient list:

One pound of hops, eight pounds of wheat-flour, one pound of powdered ginger, one pound of rasped or powdered lignum vitae, three fourths of a pound of tartaric acid, and seven and one-half ounces of essence composed of one part of some essential oil such as that of spruce, for instance, and four parts of common alcohol.

In more modern times, there’s a Japanese product that is described online as “Top Grade Purely Natural Organic Beer Yeast Powder Tea Slimming Creams Fat Burning Weight Loss,” which appears at least as strange as Victorian beer-powder.


Patent No. 4516698A: Keg-Pump Construction

Today in 1985, US Patent 4516698 A was issued, an invention of Vincent J. Cerrato, for his “Keg-Pump Construction.” Here’s the Abstract:

A keg-tapping device wherein a probe is selectively actuable within a tap body, between axial positions of communication with and cut-off from the inner volume of the keg, to which it may be attached. The probe extends upwardly beyond the tap body and carries an axially reciprocal air pump at its upper end, while a beverage-dispensing port is open laterally, at a location beneath the pump and above the tap body. A pressure-relief valve with external actuating access is carried by the probe, and the arrangement is such that the probe and all components mounted thereto are bodily rotatable, over a full 360 degrees of lateral-discharge direction for beverage delivered at the discharge port. Conveniently, a flexible hose connects the discharge port to a selectively operable dispensing valve, and the dispensing valve is therefore flexibly adaptable, without keg movement, to serve glasses within a maximum radius (hose length), whatever the azimuth direction at which a glass is to be served.


Patent No. 298686A: Faucet For Drawing Beer

Today in 1884, US Patent 298686 A was issued, an invention of Peter Gardner, for his “Faucet For Drawing Beer and Other Liquors.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to certain improvements in faucets for beer-kegs and other vessels containing liquids under pressure; and it has for its objects to provide a faucet which may be applied to any vessel or keg, and by means of which the same maybe tapped conveniently without waste of material, as more fully hereinafter specified. These objects I attain by the means illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which Fig. 1 represents a view partly in longitudinal section and partly in side elevation of my improved faucet, showing the same attached to a beer-keg; and Fig. 2 represents a perspective view of a metallic screw-threaded annulus to be employed in connection with the faucet, in order to adapt it to bushing of different sizes, the interior diameter varying according to the size of faucet used.


Corks & Suds Benefit For Autism Friday Night In Novato

Tomorrow night in Novato, at the Unity In Marin church, located at 600 Palm Drive, a benefit for Autism — a cause near and dear to me — will be held. Corks & Suds will take place from 7:00-10:00 PM, and will feature music by “The Decades” and special guest piano performance by young man with autism.

Lagunitas, Anchor Brewing, Iron Springs and many more special guest beers from San Francisco Brewing Collective, Food from Alta Cuisine and Sonoma wines plus much more will be there! An evening of fun for a great cause.

Tickets are available at both Eventbrite and Global Offerings and there’s more information at the event’s Facebook page. I’m not sure how long this coupon will work, but put in Coupon code “CAS-SPECIAL” and get your ticket for $45 instead of $70!


Patent No. 2283100A: Pressure Regulating Attachment For Liquid Containers

Today in 1942, US Patent 2283100 A was issued, an invention of Harry C. Shores, assigned to Anheuser-Busch, for his “Pressure Regulating Attachment For Liquid Containers.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The present invention relates to new and useful improvements in means for creating pressure within liquid containers, such as beer kegs, and the like, and has for its primary object to provide an inflatable bag adapted for attaching to a wall of the keg and projecting therein so that pressure of the liquid in the container may be increased by expanding the bag.


Jackson Family Wines To Build Sonoma County Brewery

You know the brewing industry must be doing something right if one of America’s largest producers of wine has decided to jump in with a new brewery. Brewbound has the scoop, with Jackson Family Wines Proprietor Launching Sonoma County Craft Brewery.

It’s certainly not the first time. Does anybody else remember Sonoma Mountain Brewing? And more recently, Carneros Brewing built a brewery on the grounds of their Ceja Vineyards. And don’t forget that Korbel Winery once launched their own small brewery, hiring a young brewer to make the beer. After a short time, they decided to get out of the beer business, and brewer Vinnie Cilurzo obtained the name and moved Russian River Brewing to downtown Santa Rosa, and with his wife Natalie Cilurzo, built it into a destination brewery that’s undoubtedly helped put Sonoma County on the map for beer, as well as wine. So some have worked great, others not so much.

This one at least seems off to a big start. It’s not officially a project of the Jackson Family Wines, but Christopher Jackson, who is the son of winery founder Jess Jackson. Of course, most start-ups don’t have the resources to start by “constructing a 25,000-barrel craft brewery” with “an initial brewing capacity of 8,000 barrels.” Most start-ups don’t have $8 million as their initial capital, even though Jackson states that “[i]t is a passion play” and I “am the sole proprietor and it is my project going forth, but we are employing a lot of similar philosophies from my wine background.”

The new brewery will apparently be called Seismic Brewing Company, which name Jackson bought from San Diego’s Rough Draft Brewing. The new brewery will be located at 2870 Duke Court, Santa Rosa and plans to open in late summer.

It sure seems like Sonoma County is indeed becoming a “craft beer Mecca,” as Jackson called Santa Rosa. I think that’s truer of the whole county, but certainly between Santa Rosa and Petaluma the county’s doing pretty well. Sonoma County currently has 31 licensed breweries, at least according to the latest number from the CCBA, which means we’re nowhere near the 100+ that are now open in San Diego County. Still, I think Sonoma probably has more than most counties.


Patent No. 1139007A: Barrel Rack

Today in 1915, US Patent 1139007 A was issued, an invention of Randolph L. Wright, assigned to Anheuser-Busch, for his “Barrel Rack.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to barrel holders and particularly to a device for supporting barrels, preferably kegs containing nails, in position whereby the said keg may be tilted to discharge the contents thereof wholly or in part without undue effort of the operator, the said invention furthermore including novel means whereby the keg is held in a vertical or upright position by gravity when manipulation thereof ceases.


Patent No. 2936100A: Dispenser For Carbonated Beverages

Today in 1960, US Patent 2936100 A was issued, an invention of Victor H. Chatten, assigned to Anheuser-Busch, for his “Dispenser For Carbonated Beverages.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to apparatus for dispensing a gas-charged liquid from a container and is particularly directed to apparatus for dispensing a carbonated beverage, for example, beer, from a conventional keg.

It is the principal object of this invention to provide an insert member which can be introduced into the interior of the container through an opening therein which member includes a cavity containing liquified gas under pressure and which member also contains a regulator device for introducing gas from the cavity into the container, the action of the regulator being controlled from a member accessible exteriorly of the container. Another object is to provide dispensing apparatus of this type in which the insert member includes a passage for delivery of fluid from the interior of the container. A more detailed object is to provide dispensing apparatus of this type in which means accessible exteriorly of the container are provided to control flow of gas from the cavity to the interior of the container and also to control flow of liquid from the interior of the container.