Patent No. 220773A: Improvement In Bungs And Stoppers For Casks

Today in 1879, US Patent 220773 A was issued, an invention of William H. Stewart, for his “Improvement in Bungs and Stoppers for Casks.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

My invention relates to bungs and stoppers for faucet holes in lager-beer and ale casks and kegs; and it consists in the exterior form of the bung or stopper, whereby it is adapted to be more easily driven into the cask or withdrawn therefrom when desired.

Heretofore such stoppers made of wood or cork are objectionable, for the reason that the gases readily penetrate the pores of such materials and leave the beer or ale unfit for use in consequence of becoming flat or stale. The wood and cork will become saturated with the liquid, and after being once used will become sour and injuriously affect the beer.

In the use of the elastic bung or stopper I find that great difficulty exists in extracting it in the form in which it has heretofore been made from the aperture in the cask or vessel, on account of the adhesive properties of the rubber, and this especially is the case when using it for lager-beer or ale casks, where the aperture is wood or iron bound. If the bung or stopper is made very hard, or even hard enough to drive easily in the aperture, there is no certainty that the aperture will be perfectly sealed, as the harder the composition the less the elasticity,and the less the certainty of its filling any irregularities that may exist in the aperture. On the contrary, if the composition be made softer to gain more elasticity, then the difficulty of driving in the bung or stopper occurs, as the composition sticks and adheres to the sides of the aperture, and after as shown in Fig. 5, being once driven in is very difficult to extract.

The special object of my invention is to overcome these several difficulties by making a bung or stopper which can be readily driven in or extracted, and which will also perfectly seal the aperture in the cask.


Patent No. 568133A: Apparatus For Barreling And Bunging Beer

Today in 1896, US Patent 568133 A was issued, an invention of Alfred E. Feroe, for his “Apparatus For Barreling and Bunging Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

My invention relates to an apparatus for barreling and bunging fermented liquors, and the object and purpose of my invention is to produce a means whereby carbonated liquors may be barreled and confined by any kind of bung without the loss of liquor or gas during the operation.


Patent No. 504610A: Barrel Registering Machine

Today in 1893, US Patent 504610 A was issued, an invention of Andrew W. Oppmann, for his “Barrel Registering Machine.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention relates to machines for registering barrels, half barrels, and kegs, the nature and objects of which will fully appear from the subjoined description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, in Which- Figure l is a perspective view of my new registering machine as seen arranged over an elevator, for receiving the barrels from below. Fig. 2 is a like perspective view of the same as seen for receiving the barrels through an opening in a well from a room on the same floor. Fig. 3 is a view of an office or room located above or in another part of the building having electric bells connected with the machine for the purpose of announcing the delivery and registration of barrels or kegs by the said machine.


Patent No. 2564163A: Receptacle With Elastic Bag Insert And System For Filling And Emptying The Same

Today in 1951, US Patent 2564163 A was issued, an invention of Jean Emile Lucien Leperre, for his “Receptacle With Elastic Bag Insert and System For Filling and Emptying the Same.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

it is submitted between the brewery and the consumer. Numerous laboratory experiments have shown that beer samples removed with all the required care directly from the brewery tanks keep well. The case is no longer the same when the beer has passed through different casks and various drawing means.

The different causes of contamination are as follows:

In the case of wooden casks, these casks are always infected by the beer dregs remaining inside the casks emptied at the retailers. Once the cask is contaminated it is not possible to sterilize it again completely and the infection is continued by each new filling with beer.

Laboratory experiments of a very complete character have shown that when it is possible to superficially sterilize a cask, the infection begins again as soon as the cask has been put again under pressure.

It is a well-known fact that the dissolution of air in beer is also a cause of the lack of stability of said beer.

Moreover, the beer containers of the drawing 01! means where the beer has always a tendency to become hot. and to lose a part of its carbonic gas, the return into said containers of the froth and of the counter-pressure gases, as well as the presence of the plunging tubes of the drawing oil means, are several of the factors causing alteration of the beer.

As to the dealing out of the beer, it is a known fact that as long as a cask is not broken into, the beer retains generally its quality but once it has begun being dealt out the beer loses in a few hours most of its quality.

On the other hand for breaking into his cask. the retailer introduces into his beer a plunging tube which has generally been left about in the cellar and at the same time he drives into it the stopper of the cask which is unavoidably contaminated.

The present invention has for its object to remove these multiple drawbacks, and it comprises chiefly a special container having a yielding receiver mounted inside a rigid receiver with means being provided for allowing the liquid under pressure to enter inside the inner yielding receiver and also for allowing a counter-pressure fluid to be introduced between this inner yielding receiver and the outer rigid receiver.

A further characteristic feature of the invention consists in that the recess formed by the inner yielding receiver is reduced to zero for the filling of the cask with beer under pressure so that said recess is consequently completely emptied of its air, this being produced by a counter-pressure exerted between said receiver and the rigid outer receiver, the former increasing gradually in volume through the introduction of beer under pressure inside it while said counter-pressure gas progressively escapes from the outside of the yielding receiver.

According to a still further feature of the invention, there is provided a rigid receiver containing a yielding removable fluid-tight receiver, pouch or pocket into which the liquid under pressure is introduced while means are provided firstly for allowing the latter to communicate with the outside and secondly for adjusting the pressure of the fluid contained between the two receivers.


Patent No. 706884A: Valved Bung And Connection For Beer Barrels

Today in 1902, US Patent 706884 A was issued, an invention of Dillon Beebe, for his “Valved Bung and Connection For Beer Barrels.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

The objects of this invention are to provide a valved bung for service more particularly in connection with packages of beer, ale, or carbonated beverages; to provide locking means for the valve and cooperating key means for operating said locking means; to enable what is termed a slip-rod, such as commonly used by saloon-keepers, to open the valve after the same has been unlocked by the forcing of said slip-rod through the said bung; to secure impervious closure; to protect the working parts, and to secure other advantages and results, some of which may be referred to hereinafter in connection with the description of the working parts.

The invention consists in the improved bung for barrels or other packages adapted to contain beer, ale, or other carbonated beverages or liquids under pressure and in the arrangements and combinations of parts of the same, all substantially as will be hereinafter set forth and finally embraced in the clauses of the claim.


Patent No. 194010A: Improvement In Beer Pumps

Today in 1877, US Patent 194010 A was issued, an invention of Edward Stewart, for his “Improvement in Beer Pumps.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

My invention relates to an improvement in beer-pumps, the object being to provide a beer pump of such construction that the vacuum formed within a barrel or keg of beer or other liquid as the same is drawn therefrom maybe supplied with air, and any desired pressure maintained within the keg, thereby preventing the escape of the contained gases and rendering the beer pleasant to the taste.

My invention consists in the combination, with an air-pump, the upper end of which is provided with a flexible tube to connect with a barrel or keg, of a pivoted platform, one end of which rests in contact with the lower head of the bellows or piston, While the opposite or free end of the platform projects outwardly to allow the party engaged in drawing the beer to stand on the treadle and operate the pump by his weight to force air into the keg as the beer is being drawn therefrom, whereby the hands of the operator are entirely free to hold the glass or other vessel into which the beer is to be drawn, and also to regulate the faucet and accurately govern the flow of beer, the weight of the operator on the movable platform serving to force a sufficient quantity of air into the barrel or cask to effect the desired object.


Patent No. 322853A: Combined Bung And Faucet For Ale And Beer Barrels

Today in 1885, US Patent 322853 A was issued, an invention of Robert Reilly and Francis King, for their “Combined Bung and Faucet for Ale and Beer Barrels.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

Our invention relates to a combined bung faucet for beer, ale, and other casks.

The object of the device is to provide a bung normally closed by a spring-valve and the gaspressure of the contained liquid, and only opened by the introduction of the faucet.


Patent No. 795237A: Bung

Today in 1905, US Patent 795237 A was issued, an invention of Henry Schmidt, for his “Bung.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention relates to new and useful improvements in bungs especially designed for use in connection with beer-kegs, beer-barrels, and similar vessels or packages; and it consists in the construction and arrangement of parts hereinafter fully set forth, and point ed out particularly in the claims.

The object of the invention is to provide simple and efficient means for closing the bung-hole or the aperture through the bung bushing in a manner to prevent the escape of the contents, to protect the rubber or other compressible washer from the deleterious action of the beer or similar liquid, and to enable the bung to be quickly and easily removed and readily replaced, the same bung being adaptable for use many times.


Patent No. 28799A: Ventilation Of Casks Containing Liquids

Today in 1860, US Patent 28799 A was issued, an invention of Louis Wilhelm, for his “Ventilation of Casks Containing Liquids” or “Cock.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

The nature of my invention consist-s in the arrangement of a ventilator in the top of the cask and the connection of the same by means of a cord or chain to the tap or faucet so that when the plug of the faucet is turned to allow the liquor to escape from the cask the ventilator will be opened and admit air in at the top of the cask and when the plug is turned to stop the flow of the liquor the ventilator will close itself by the action of a spring.


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.