Today in 1962, US Patent 3045679 A was issued, an invention of Fritz Kibinger and Hans Eder, for his “Hop Picker.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:
The present invention relates to a device for the harvesting of hops.
In order to sever the strobiles of hops from the branches carried by the bines, a picking device has been proposed having driven shafts on the periphery of a rotary disc, perpendicular to the plane faces thereof, with revolving cutter tools, to which tools gratings were associated fixed to the said disc as supporting means for the material to be separated and as deflectors for the strobiles, the material to be separated being thrown into the space enclosed by the gratings.
Each of the gratings associated with such a rotating cutter tool consisted of two wires, bars or the like, partly curved in the shape of circular arcs, arranged one above the other, the lower being below the plane of the cutter tools. The radius of curvature of each wire, bar or the like in its arcuate range was smaller than the largest radius of the cutter tool, and both wires, bars or the like were connected to one another by deflector bars, preferably of V-shape, extending substantially radially to the axes of the cutter tools. The bends of the deflector bar-s had a distance from the axis of rotation of the associated cutter tool which exceeded the radius of the cutter tool. The spacing between the wires, bars or the like forming the grating, which are to be considered as fixed relative to the axes of rotation of the cutter tools, was so dimensioned that even the smallest strobile could not pass between these wires, bars or the like. A second disc was also associated with the rotary disc above which deflector means and severing means were arranged. Both of these discs were rigidly connected to one another by stays and were mounted on an axle. Between these two discs driving means were provided for the shafts of the cutter tools. Each rotating shaft was provided with several cutter tools arranged one above the others and having associated gratings, and provision was made for varying the spacing of the cutter tools arranged one above the others from one another. Additionally, bars taking part in the rotation may be arranged between any two adjacent cutter tools, which bars move the out material outward.
The use of such a picking device is based on the assumption that the branches severed from the bines are cut into pieces so that the branches had to be cut into pieces either by hand or by a special cutting device before being inserted into the device. This picking device has proved successful as such, but has the disadvantage that the danger of jamming exists when too much of the mate rial is thrown into the picking device.
The present invention has the main object of providing a device for the harvesting of hops which can be used not only for the dividing of branches into pieces, but also for the picking, depending on how its associated components are arranged relative to one another. It is also an object of the present invention to use in a pure severing device the same components as in a picking device. It is yet another object of the invention to effect an improved, and particularly a quicker supply of the material.