Patent No. 8166893B2: Table System Beer Cooler

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Today in 2012, US Patent 8166893 B2 was issued, an invention of Edgar Davis, for his “Table System.” Here’s the Abstract:

A table system that includes a table top having an upper surface and a surface covering which covers substantially the upper surface of the table top. The table top and the surface covering have concentric openings with substantially similar diameters.

This invention is directed to a table system and more particularly to a table system having a table top, an opening on the surface of the table top, and a removable bucket contained in the opening.

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Beer In Ads #1897: Meeting Her Parents


Saturday’s ad is entitled Meeting Her Parents, and the illustration was done in 1949 by Douglass Crockwell. It’s #28 in a series entitled “Home Life in America,” also known as the Beer Belongs series of ads that the United States Brewers Foundation ran from 1945 to 1956. In this ad, a young man is apparently meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. He’s thoughtfully helping her move a table so her mother can set down a tray of beers on it. Once they’re married that will stop, of course, as dear old Dad just sits there while everyone else serves him. There’s only three beer bottles on that tray. I wonder who’s getting stiffed? Also, look closely at the magazine in Dad’s lap. It’s open to a page showing the same ad we’re looking at. How meta.

028. Meeting Her Parents by Douglass Crockwell, 1949

Historic Beer Birthday: Lawrence Steese

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Today is the birthday of Lawrence Steese (April 20, 1912-April 19, 1991). Steese is part of the more recent lore of Anchor Brewing. Originally from Mill Valley, in Marin County, he bought Anchor in 1960 when Joe Allen was retiring, though Allen stayed around to teach him how to make Steam Beer. Fifty-one percent of the brewery was then bought by Fritz Maytag, who eventually bought out Steese and assumed full control.

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Steese was from Mill Valley, and in the July 14, 1962 edition of the Daily Independent Journal, an article used the headline How a Marinite Rescued Steam Beer, which included the following in its coverage.

SOME THREE years ago the requiem for steam beer was being played, and the sad demise of a California tradition was being mourned. At that time Joe Allen, owner of Anchor Brewery, announced his retirement. There was no one skilled in the exacting art of steam beer brewing to take his place, and no one, it seemed, who cared to take the time and trouble to learn from the old master. No one, that is, until Lawrence Steese decided he’d like to try. Joe Allen was more than willing to teach. And since his official “retirement” these three years past, Allen has spent his days at the brewery as professor of steam beer brewing. The making of steam beer is not like the brewing of other beers. Steam beer is naturally carbonated; neither additives nor preservatives become it. “The Sincere Beer,” it is called by some. IT IS TRULY a “health food,” its devotees assert, containing more malt and hops than other beers, and without corn or rice to lighten it.

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And this is Steese’s story, distilled to its essence on Anchor Brewery’s website today.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Gustav Hodel

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Today is the birthday of Gustav Hodel (April 30, 1875-July 3, 1966). Hodel was born in Emmendingen, Baden, Germany, the youngest of seven. His father, Christian Hodel, owned the local Hodel Brewery. One of his brother’s emigrated to America and became a maltser in Nebraska, then another brother came and became a brewer, and eventually so did Gustav, who everybody called “Gus.” He started in one brother’s brewery in Galena, Illinois but struck out on his own and either owned or worked for a number of different breweries over the course of a 56-year career in beer. He retired in 1946 to Santa Cruz, California to be closer to his daughters, where he remained until his death in 1966.

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Brewery Gems has a great account of Hodel’s life, apparently with considerable help from Gus Hodel’s grandson, William “Bill” Whetton. And given that it’s the only source I could find, your best bet it to just go read it there.

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Billings Brewing Co. in Montana, just one of many where Hodel worked.

Historic Beer Birthday: Philip Jacob Ebling Jr.

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Today is the birthday of Philip Jacob Ebling Jr. (April 29, 1861-September 26, 1896). He was the son of Philip Ebling, who along with his brother William Ebling founded the Ebling Brewing Co., which was known by several different names during its life from 1868 to 1950, including the Philip Ebling & Bro. Wm., Aurora Park Brewery, Ph. & Wm. Ebling Brewing Co. and Ebling Brewing Co., which was its name almost the entirety of the 20th century, both before and after prohibition.

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Here’s a short biography from Find a Grave:

Philip Jacob Ebling, son of Philip and Catherine (Baum)Ebling, was president of the Ebling Brewery when his father Philip Ebling died in 1895. He Then directed all of its affairs until death called him in 1896. Philip Jr. was a member of Wieland Lodge No. 714, Free and Accepted Masons; he was also a member of the Schnorer Club and the K.O.S. Bowling Club. Philip Jacob Ebling married at Union Hill, New Jersey, April 12, 1894, Amanda Anna Peter, born March 01, 1872, daughter of William and Caroline (Aeppli) (Ohlenschlager) Peter. He had one child her name was Priscilla Katherine Philipine Ebling.

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The brewery apparently aged some of their beer in Bronx caves, and for some of their beers, like Special Brew, whose label boasts that the beer was “aged in natural rock caves.” Which sounds crazy, but in 2009, road construction crews in the Melrose section of the Bronx found the old caves, which was detailed by Edible Geography in Bronx Beer Caves.

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An Ebling beer truck on 61st Street in New York in 1938.

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A 1908 calendar from the brewery.

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Beer In Ads #1896: Television Party


Friday’s ad is entitled Television Party, and the illustration was done in 1949 by Douglass Crockwell. It’s #27 in a series entitled “Home Life in America,” also known as the Beer Belongs series of ads that the United States Brewers Foundation ran from 1945 to 1956. In this ad, a group of people watch a basketball game on one of those newfangled tee-vees. The ad ran in March of 1949, early in the NBA’s fourth season. The champions that season were the Minneapolis Lakers, who beat the Syracuse Nationals in the finals. Unless, of course, they’re watching March Madness. That year, the NCAA champion was Kentucky, who beat Oklahoma A&M 46-36 on March 26, 1949.

027. Television Party by Douglass Crockwell, 1949

Historic Beer Birthday: Matthew Vassar

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Today is the birthday of Matthew Vassar (April 29, 1792-June 23, 1868). Vassar was born in England, specifically in East Dereham, Norfolk. While he’s best know for having founded one of the first women’s colleges in America, Vassar College, the money came from operating his brewery, M. Vassar & Co., which when he first built it in Poughkeepsie it was the largest brewery in the Americas.
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Here’s a short biography from Find a Grave:

Business Magnate. Self-made man with only a very basic formal education. When his father’s brewery burned in 1811 and he discontinued business, Matthew Vassar started his own brewery independently. As business increased he became involved in many things. Among others, in 1842 he became President of the Hudson River Railroad. In 1861, inspired by a niece, he endowed the first women’s college in the United States, with $408,000 and 200 acres of land east of Poughkeepsie which is where present-day Vassar College still stands. A lasting legacy for him which is also humorously embodied in an old song, “And so you see, to old V.C. Our love shall never fail. Full well we know that all we owe To Matthew Vassar’s ale.”

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For much more thorough biographies, there’s Wikipedia, the Vassar Encyclopedia, and the Vassar Quarterly has a long article about the brewery, The Brew that Built Vassar.

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There’s also another piece in a blog concentrating on the Hudson Valley, The Rise and Fall of M. Vassar and Co..

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This is the larger brick brewery on the waterfront Vassar built in 1836, just above the Main Street Landing. The waterfront facility had a brewing capacity of 60,000 barrels annually.

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Portrait of Matthew Vassar, by Charles Loring Elliott.

Patent No. 426965A: Beer-Filtering Apparatus

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Today in 1890, US Patent 426965 A was issued, an invention of Phillip Seibel, for his “Beer-Filtering Apparatus.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This filtering apparatus is intended especially for beer or other liquids liable to foam, and has means for the removal of the foam into a settling-chamber, from which the liquid is withdrawn as it subsides. The apparatus is composed of two or more similar filters connected with the same system of circulating pipes.

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Beer In Ads #1895: An Evening Of Bowling


Thursday’s ad is entitled An Evening of Bowling, and the illustration was done in 1949 by Douglass Crockwell. It’s #26 in a series entitled “Home Life in America,” also known as the Beer Belongs series of ads that the United States Brewers Foundation ran from 1945 to 1956. In this ad, at least three couples, maybe more, are enjoying some beers during an evening of bowling. Surprisingly, beer and bowling do go together well, and it was a hugely popular game in the late forties. But even so, they seem to be throwing back quite a few.

026. An Evening of Bowling by Douglass Crockwell, 1949

Historic Beer Birthday: Ernst F. Baruth

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Today is the birthday of Ernst F. Baruth (April 28, 1842-February 1906). While what would become Anchor Brewing began during the California Gold Rush when Gottlieb Brekle arrived from Germany and began brewing in San Francisco at what he called the Golden City Brewery, it didn’t become known as Anchor Brewing until 1896, when “Ernst F. Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr., bought the old brewery on Pacific Avenue and named it Anchor. The brewery burned down in the fires that followed the 1906 earthquake, but was rebuilt at a different location in 1907.” Baruth had passed away the same year as the earthquake, shortly before it.

According to Anchor Brewery’s website:

[In 1896] German brewer Ernst Frederick Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr., bought the old brewery on Pacific (the first of six Anchor locations around the City over the years) and named it Anchor. No one knows why Baruth and Schinkel chose the name Anchor, except, perhaps, for its indirect but powerful allusion to the booming Port of San Francisco.

Surprisingly, there isn’t much biographical information about Baruth. He was born somewhere in Germany, and arrived in New York City on August 13, 1875, on a ship named the “SS Neckar” that departed from Bremen, Germany and then sailed to Southampton, England, before heading west to America.

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The Anchor Brewery in the early 1900s.