Patent No. 2321631A: Fluid Pressure Controlling Apparatus

Today in 1943, US Patent 2321631 A was issued, an invention of Ludvik Sibal, for his “Fluid Pressure Controlling Apparatus.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

This invention relates to improvements of fluid pressure controlling apparatuses (gases, liquids,
etc.) and it is the principal object of the invention to provide means for adding gas or liquid pressure to containers from which their contents are being discharged at such a rate that the total pressure head at the point where the fluid flows out of said containers remains practically constant even during the discharge period.

This apparatus is constructed with the special object in view of making it applicable to the so called government tanks in the breweries, from which beer is being drawn to the bottle or can filling machines. In these tanks the beer stands under a gaseous pressure (air or otherwise) the level of which is so chosen as to insure a smooth filling process by the filling machine to which the beer is discharged from the government; tanks. The pressure at the filling machine must be kept constant during the filling process and therefore it is necessary and important that the pressure at the point of flow out of the government tanks likewise be kept constant. The total pressure at the point of discharge from the government tanks is composed of two components: (1) the weight of the beer and (2) the gas pressure within said tanks. As the beer is being drawn from the tanks, the total pressure head causing flow at the point of discharge from the tanks is being decreased due to the decreasing weight of the beer. To make up for this loss in pressure head, gas pressure must be supplied to the tanks until the original desired total pressure head is again reached at the point of discharge. This is usually accomplished by a control man whose duty it is to sight the pressure gauge reading or beer level and to adjust the gas valve accordingly.

The main purpose of this apparatus is to eliminate the human factor of such pressure regulation thus making the regulation as nearly free from all human errors and neglects as is humanly possible. Also my design is such that it is best applicable to breweries and other enterprises where apparatus of this kind must withstand severe mistreatment and where it is necessary to thoroughly wash its interior as well as exterior.

This invention provides an apparatus which, when connected by means of a conduit such as .a pipe or a hose to the point at which the discharge occurs from a tank, throws on or oil? a sensitive snap-action electric (magnetic) mercury switch whenever the pressure head changes slightly in the tank at the point of discharge. This snap action switch is connected by means of electric conduits to a solenoid valve in the gas line leading to the tank, and when contact is made, the solenoid valve is actuated by the electric current so that it opens and admits the gas to flow into the tank thus increasing the total pressure head to the original desired level. As soon as this desired total pressure head is reached, the snap action switch automatically turns off and the gas valve closes.


Historical Beer Birthday: John Lofting

Today is as good a day as any to celebrate the birthday of John Lofting (1659–June 15, 1742). Like many people born centuries ago who weren’t royal or otherwise well-born, we don’t know the exact day he was born, but we do know that he died today. Lofting was a Dutchman who lived in London as an adult, and patented several devices, the most famous of which was the fire engine, but he may also have been responsible for the beer engine.


Here’s his Wikipedia entry:

Originally Jan Loftingh, John Lofting was an engineer and entrepreneur from the Netherlands. His parents were Herman and Johanna. He moved to London, England, before 1686. He patented two inventions being the “sucking worm engine” (a fire engine) and a horse-powered thimble knurling machine. His mill was set up in Islington, where Lofting Road is named after him. However, in or about 1700, he moved his main operation to Great Marlow in Buckinghamshire to take advantage of the River Thames’ ability to turn a water wheel which improved productivity, enabling the production of over 2 million thimbles per year.

The Sucking Worm Engine, from the British Museum.

And while Joseph Bramah patented the first practical beer engine, Lofting’s design made it possible for Bramah to build on and create his. Although there’s little I could find specific about Lofting’s invention, it is mentioned in the Wikipedia entry for the beer engine:

A beer engine is a device for pumping beer from a cask in a pub’s cellar.

The beer engine was invented by John Lofting, a Dutch inventor, merchant and manufacturer who moved from Amsterdam to London in about 1688 and patented a number of inventions including a fire hose and engine for extinguishing fires and a thimble knurling machine as well as a device for pumping beer. The London Gazette of 17 March 1691 stated “the patentee hath also projected a very useful engine for starting of beers and other liquors which will deliver from 20 to 30 barrels an hour which are completely fixed with brass joints and screws at reasonable rates.”

The locksmith and hydraulic engineer Joseph Bramah developed beer pumping further in 1797.

The beer engine is normally manually operated, although electrically powered and gas powered pumps are occasionally used; when manually powered, the term handpump is often used to refer to both the pump and the associated handle.

The beer engine is normally located below the bar with the visible handle being used to draw the beer through a flexible tube to the spout, below which the glass is placed. Modern hand pumps may clamp onto the edge of the bar or be mounted on the top of the bar.

A pump clip is usually attached to the handle by a spring clip giving the name and sometimes the brewery, beer type and alcoholic strength of the beer being served through that handpump.

The handle of a handpump is often used as a symbol of cask ale. Keg beer dispensers usually feature illuminated countertop fittings behind which a handle opens a valve that allows the gas pressure in the keg to force beer to the attached spout.

A modern beer engine.

Patent No. 1143243A: Keg Refrigerator

Today in 1915, US Patent 1143243 A was issued, an invention of Leopold H. Vogel and John Burrows, for their beer or keg “Refrigerator.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

This invention relates to an improved refrigerator to he used in connection with a bar for serving liquors and the like.


Patent No. 890031A: Malting Kiln

Today in 1908, US Patent 890031 A was issued, an invention of John F. Dornfeld, for his “Malting Kiln.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

I have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Malting-Kilns, of which the following is a specification.

Malting kilns as heretofore constructed comprise buildings of considerable height, in the upper part of which are arranged the malting floor or floors, and in the lower part are introduced the hot gases and. products of combustion from a furnace, together with a quantity of fresh air. No means is provided for mixing the hot and the cold air to produce a uniform temperature throughout the kiln and asa consequence the hot air rises in columns through the cooler surrounding air reaching the top of the kiln and there escaping through the ventilator at a temperature considerably in 4excess of the cool fresh air remaining in the bottom of the kiln.

One of the objects of this invention is to obviate the difficulty mentioned by mixing by mechanical means, the hot air and gases with cool fresh air, making a uniform mixture and introducing said mixture into the Further objects of the invention are to reduce the height of the kiln building, which reduction is rendered possible by locating the furnace outside of the kiln proper, and in other ways to improve the construction of such kiln.


Patent No. 7730912B2: Bottle Filler

Today in 2010, US Patent 7730912 B2 was issued, an invention of John Richard Blichmann, for his “Bottle Filler.” Here’s the Abstract:

An improved bottle filler assembly for filling bottles from kegged carbonated or non carbonated beverages without carbonation loss or oxidation that is intuitive to use, sanitize, and keep free of bacteria. In the preferred embodiment, a long hose gradually reduces the pressure of the beverage on the way to the filler. Two tubes are placed inside each other forming an annulus where CO2 can be forced to the bottom of the bottle via a CO2 valve thereby purging the bottle of air (O2). A valve seat placed on the bottom of the tubes allows the beverage to flow into the bottle from the bottom by depressing a trigger.




Patent No. 4836097A: Whirlpool For Coarse Sludge Separation In Brewing Of Beer

Today in 1989, US Patent 4836097 A was issued, an invention of Hans Tretter, assigned to Anton Steinecker Maschinenfabrik Gmbh, for his “Whirlpool for Coarse Sludge Separation in Brewing Of Beer.” Here’s the Abstract:

The present invention refers to a whirlpool for coarse sludge separation from the wort in brewing of beer, said whirlpool being being constructed as a circular receptacle provided with a base on which the sludge deposits and with a heating means for heating the wort.

For providing a possibility of treating the wort in a space-saving manner and without any special insulating measures in the wort heating process, the invention is characterized by the features that a rotationally symmetrical inner boiler is provided as a heating means, said inner boiler being arranged in the interior of the receptacle such that it is concentric with the longitudinal center axis of the receptacle and such that its lower side extends in spaced relationship with the base of the receptacle.


Patent No. 700833A: Manufacture Of Fermented Liquors

Today in 1902, US Patent 700833 A was issued, an invention of Joseph Schneible, for his “Manufacture of Fermented Liquors.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

This invention relates particularly to the carrying on of the fermentation of liquors such as malt beverages, for example and to the culture, propagation, and separation of yeast for further use As the fermentation of such liquors is now commonly practiced the yeast propagated for further use is separated and collected under conditions which are liable to result in contamination of the yeast by contact with air,usually teeming with wild ferments and very often with fungi, and in subsequent injury to the finished product.

It is the object of this invention to provide for the carrying on of the fermentation and the separation of the yeast in such a manner as to avoid exposure of either yeast or liquor to such contaminating and injurious influences, while at the same time the fermentation is carried on under practically normal conditions as to pressure.-

In accordance with this invention the newly-fermented liquor containing the yeast in suspension for further inoculation is transferred from the vessel in which the fermentation was carried on to a clean vessel, in which the separation of the yeast intended for further work from the liquor takes place and from which the liquor is withdrawn, thereby leaving the yeast in the clean vessel. The further quantity of liquor to be fermented is then introduced into the vessel containing the yeast and is inoculated thereby,thus avoiding altogether the removal of the yeast from the vessel in which the same has been allowed to separate from the fermented liquor and avoiding its exposure to the contaminating influences above referred to. This process is carried on successively in the manner referred to, the newly-fermented liquor being transferred from the vessel in which the inoculation has taken place and the main fermentation was carried on to a clean vessel, as before.


Patent No. 1760071A: Centrifugal Separator

Today in 1930, US Patent 1760071 A was issued, an invention of Henry George Koepke, for his “Centrifugal Separator.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

My invention relates to centrifugal separators of the discharge nozzle conical type, primarily constructed for the separation of yeast from most of the associated liquids in which it has been’ propagated.


Patent No. 5906151A: Apparatus And Method For Brewing An Alcoholic Beverage

Today in 1999, US Patent 5906151 A was issued, an invention of Adam Firestone, Jeffers Richardson, Donald E. Othman, and Michel A. Blom, assigned to Firestone Walker, LLC, for their “Apparatus And Method For Brewing An Alcoholic Beverage and Beverage Brewed by Same.” Here’s the Abstract:

An apparatus for brewing an alcoholic beverage includes a plurality of wooden barrels including at least one first wooden barrel, at least one second wooden barrel, and at least one third wooden barrel; an enclosed trough; a plurality of first conduits providing flow communication between each of the plurality of wooden barrels and the enclosed trough; an enclosed catch pot in flow communication with the enclosed trough; a plurality of second conduits providing flow communication between the enclosed catch pot and each of the plurality of wooden barrels; and devices, such as valves, for controlling flow between each of the plurality of wooden barrels and the second conduit. The at least one first wooden barrel is a new barrel that has been filled with an alcoholic beverage up to 5 times, the at least one second wooden barrel is a middle aged barrel that has been filled with an alcoholic beverage from 6 to 12 times, and the at least one third wooden barrel is an old barrel that has been filled with an alcoholic beverage from 13 to 30 times.

This is essentially a patent for Firestone Walker’s modified Burton Union System that they pioneered when they first started, and then scaled-up when they bought the old SLO Brewery in Paso Robles and increased the size of their beer production. Jeffers, of course, is still there is the Barrelmeister, or Director of the Firestone Walker Barrelworks. That system is one of only two such brewing systems left in the world, the other being at Marston’s in Burton-on-Trent in England.

Here’s a few photos of the system at the Paso Robles brewery in 2012.



Patent No. 2420708A: Beer Meter

Today in 1947, US Patent 2420708 A was issued, an invention of Clifford S. Hutsell, for his “Beer Meter.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

To carry out the principles of my invention, the liquid is passed through a cooling coil which is immersed in some suitable cooling medium, the length of such cell can be varied so that the beer or other liquid can be passed through one loop or many loops of the coil; in this way the beer is brought under constriction in which its velocity is dissipated by frictional losses without the liquid itself being agitated. The liquid is then led through a discharge opening from which it may be drawn into a glass or other receptacle. This whole dispensing action is controlled, except for the adjustment of the length of coil used, by a single operating lever. My device will control the delivery of beer so that its included gas will be properly handled. The volume of the liquid is accurately measured. Each portion dispensed is accurately counted. The control and serving of beer on draught has always presented a difficult problem due to the beers susceptibility to the influence of three ever-present, variable factors; pressure, balance. Beer in its making is charged with carbon dioxide, the retention of such charge is essential to maintain its quality. When the beer is quiescent, at a sufficiently low temperature, the carbon dioxide is inert. This temperature is below the desirable serving temperatures and as the temperature is raised for serving there is a area sufficiently small to form a restriction to the temperature and agitation or tendency to discharge the carbon dioxide from the beer. To offset this tendency to dissipate its included gas and also to raise the beer to the discharge faucet, gas or air pressure is applied to the beer in the keg. The amount of pressure necessary to hold the carbon dioxide charge in the beer is in direct proportion to the tempera considerable degree, destroys the essential quality of the beer and in addition frequently causes excessive foaming at the faucet and a consequent wastage of beer.

A certain degree of refrigeration together with some form of constriction between the beer keg and the discharge tap would effect adequate control of the beer if the composition and condition of the beer were constant. However, no constant amount of restriction of the line is equally effective at all times because the beer may vary in its gaseous content, in its temperature, or it may have been recently agitated.