Today in 1877, US Patent 197744 A was issued, an invention of Moses C. Smith, for his “Improvement in Hop-Vine Stripper and Separator.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:
This invention is in the nature of an improvement in machinery for picking or stripping hops from their vines for separating the hops from the vine-leaves; for separating or breaking up bunches or clusters, and for delivering the hops into bags ready for the kiln, the said machinery being portable, and designed for use in the field.
The invention consists in rolls of soft yielding material for feeding the vines to the stripping mechanism; of moving stripping-teeth disengaging the hops from the vines as they are fed forward, and carrying said vines forward; of a table beneath said moving teeth for receiving the vines from the feed-rolls, and made yielding, so as to avoid choking by accumulation of the vines; of a toothed revolving apron, operating in connection with a toothed bar, for delivering said hops into a chute, from which they are discharged into bags in condition for the drying-kiln, these several elements being combined as hereinafter claimed.
The invention further consists, in connection with the above-described or equivalent mechanism, in a fan located in the forward end of the machine; a fan-hood, the throat of which is guarded by a number of tongues depending from the yielding table before described, to prevent the escape of hops and leaves into the fan-casing; a perforated apron moving over rollers, and. a shaker or sieve placed beneath the said apron, and over the and the perforated apron, over which the vines pass, and between which the hops fall onto the toothed apron.
The invention also consists in arms or rests secured to the frame of the machine, and projecting laterally therefrom at either side of the feed-opening, for the purpose of permitting the stacking of the hop-poles, with the vines thereon, in convenient reach of those feeding the machine.