Pre-Revolutionary Inns & Ale Houses Of Old Philadelphia

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Here’s another fun historical artifact that I came across when I one of my beer ads was for the Robert Smith Ale Brewing Company, which was founded in Philadelphia in 1774, incorporated in 1887, and was apparently acquired by Schmidt’s around 1881. In 1909, Schmidt’s, through their Robert Smith Ale Brewing Company brand, commissioned a local artist, James Preston, to create a series of twelve works depicting pre-revolutionary taverns and inns in or near Philadelphia as way to promote the heritage of the Robert Smith beer brand.

James Moore Preston (1873-1962) was artist and illustrator who trained under Thomas Anshutz at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Preston also did one cover for the “Saturday Evening Post,” in April 1905, although his most active period was during the 1920s. Here, you can read more about Preston’s http://rogallery.com/Preston_James_Moore/Moore_Preston-biography.htmlbiography.

And here’s more about Robert Smith, from an article in Zymurgy magazine by Pennsylvania beer historian Rich Wagner from 1991.

Another brewer who withstood the test of time was Robert Smith. What was to become Robert Smith’s Ale Brewery had its humble beginnings in 1774 when Joseph Potts established a brewery at Fifth and Minor Streets in Philadelphia. During the British occupation of the city, the brewery was seized and used as a barracks.

In 1786 Henry Pepper purchased Potts’ brewery and operated it quite successfully. His wealth and philanthropy were demonstrated when he provided the clock and bell in the tower of Independence Hall. Upon his death in 1898 he donated large sums of money to many charitable and cultural institutions of the city. His son George headed the brewery and directed it successfully before leasing the establishment to Robert Smith.

In 1837 Smith came to America after having served an apprenticeship with the Bass Brewery in Burton-on-Trent, England. He began brewing on St. John Street near the Delaware River. He became acquainted with Pepper and Sickel and in 1845 purchased their brewery.

The Robert Smith India Pale Ale Brewing Company was incorporated in 1887 and moved to a new plant at 38th and Girard (right across the Schuylkill River from “Brewerytown”). It operated until Prohibition as the oldest brewery in continuous operation in America. In 1891 Robert Smith was described as a “hale and hearty” 84-year-old who was still running the brewery. He died two years later and the business was reorganized as the Robert Smith Ale Brewing Co. owned by Schmidt’s Brewery of Philadelphia. The Smith brewery produced mainly ales and stouts. Production figures for the turn of the century are: 1902: 53,521 bbl.; 1905: 61,910 bbl.; 1907: 64,400 bbl. Brands included Tiger Head Ale, XXX Stout, Porter, IPA, Old Mystery, Imperial Burton and English Pale.

The twelve prints show up from time to time on eBay, antiques auctions, collectibles websites and even on Amazon. They’re also in the collection of the Library of Congress.

In addition to the posters, they also created a short book — more or a pamphlet at 37 pages — with information about the brewery and each of the twelve images.

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Here’s the book’s introduction:

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Below are all twelve illustrations. In each case, I used the biggest and best image I could find. Below each print I’ve added the text from the book, and it appears that some editions of the posters may have even included that text just below each print.

The Falstaff Inn
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Penny Pot Tavern and Landing
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Indian Queen Hotel
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Spread Eagle Inn Inn
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State House Tavern
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The Three Crowns
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Drawbridge and Blue Anchor Inn
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London Coffee House
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City Tavern
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Black Horse Inn Yard
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Smith’s 1774 Brewery
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Moon and Seven Stars
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And here’s the final page of text from the 1909 book.

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Patent No. 2477222A: Beer Dispenser With Coil Cleaning Means

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Today in 1949, US Patent 2477222 A was issued, an invention of Frederick J. Warcup, for his “Beer Dispenser with Coil Cleaning Means.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to beer distributing systems such as are used in taverns and saloons for conducting beer from kegs, in which the beer is delivered from the brewery, to taps located behind the bar. The length of piping between a keg and the tap includes a cooling coil through which the beer flows.

One object of the invention is to provide an improved beer distributing system in which water can be conveniently introduced into the beer lines and accurately controlled so as to avoid the loss of beer that results from having beer stand in the pipes, from draining of the lines for cleaning, and the loss that occurs when an empty keg is replaced with a full one.

It is another object of this invention to provide means by which tavern operators can clean their own lines without having to connect or disconnect any unions or fittings, and in the preferred embodiment of the invention the system is constructed so that the beer lines can be cleaned without even leaving the bar. The tavern operator can fill his beer lines with water preparatory to cleaning them and all of the usual loss of beer incident to cleaning line is avoided.

Another important saving is effected by this invention when a keg becomes empty and it is necessary to tap a new keg. Whenever the contents of one keg become exhausted, the beer line fills with foam and the first beer from a new keg surges into the line and foams to such an extent that the first glasses drawn after a new keg has been tapped cannot be used because of excessive foam. With this invention the line is filled with water before tapping a new keg and there is no surge of beer into the line.

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Beer Birthday: Fergus Carey

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Today is the 52nd birthday of Fergus Carey, better known simply as Fergie. Fergie owns Fergie’s Pub in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is co-owner of Monk’s Cafe with Tom Peters and is also a partner in Nodding Head Brewery. Fergie’s always a fun person to have around and he’s as kind as soul as ever I’ve met in the beer world. Join me in wishing Fergie a very happy birthday.

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Fergie huddling up with Tom Dalldorf and his Monk’s Cafe partner Tom Peters at 2st Amendment in San Francisco.

Tom Peters, Frank Boon, Jean Van Roy, Fergie Carey and Armand Debelder
Tom Peters, Frank Boon, Jean Van Roy, Fergie and Armand Debelder at a Lambic Beer Dinner last month at Mon’s Cafe during Philly Beer Week.

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Outside Monk’s cafe: Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, Fergie, Lucy Saunders, the beer cook, and Tom Peters, after the Canned Beer Dinner in 2007.

Patent No. 928588A: Apparatus For Dispensing A Measured Quantity Of Beer

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Today in 1909, US Patent 928588 A was issued, an invention of Harry S. Cornish, for his “Apparatus for Dispensing a Measured Quantity of Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My invention is primarily designed for dispensing beer and to regulate what is known as the pint trade.

The main object of my invention is to avoid any waste of liquid when changing from one source of supply to another and to insure that the first liquid drawn from the new source will be of the full measured quantity.

To these ends my invention consists in providing an apparatus for drawing a measured quantity of liquid with means for changing from one source of supply to another, when the first has become exhausted, together with means for venting or freeing the air from the pipes and intermediate connections of the empty end of the system previous to connecting the new supply, so that the new supply can immediately fill the empty end and a full measured quantity drawn at the first draft from the new supply.

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Patent No. 2287500A: Sanitary Beer Comb And Cocktail Mixer Receptacle

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Today in 1942, US Patent 2287500 A was issued, an invention of Peter Solinas, for his “Sanitary Beer Comb And Cocktail Mixer Receptacle.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My invention relates to receptacles for cleansing beer combs and cocktail mixers.

Heretofore in the art where beer has been served over a bar it has been customary for the bartender to use a. beer comb to scoop off the excess top foam of a glass or stein of beer. The bartender by custom then places the beer comb in a glass of stationary water until he needs to use the beer comb again for another service. It is apparent that where a glass is used that the water is stationary and in a comparatively short time becomes stale and mixed with some of the beer leavings which have been introduced into the glass from time to time. It is obvious that very soon after the glass has first been used that the water will be so sour and distasteful that it will not properly clean the beer comb but will on the other hand leave the beer comb in such a condition that when the comb is next used to scoop out the top of a beer glass that the comb will leave stale drippings on top of the latest glass of beer to the distaste of a patron.

It is an object of my invention to provide a device whereby the beer comb may be conveniently held and entirely cleansed before each serving of a glass or stein of beer.

It is a further object of the invention to provide such a device in an accessible position and in which the beer combs may be easily placed.

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Patent No. 2043856A: Apparatus For Dispensing Beer

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Today in 1936, US Patent 2043856 A was issued, an invention of Ray Knapp, for his “Apparatus For Dispensing Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it states that the “invention relates to a method and apparatus for dispensing beer, and has for its principal object to afford a structure that employs a cooling chamber made of glass or glass lined material, the beer being retained in the glass cooling chamber and conducted therefrom directly to the dispensing faucet.”
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Patent No. D135747S: Design For A Holder For Beer Foam Scrapers

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Today in 1943, US Patent D135747 S was issued, an invention of Joseph Austin, assigned to the F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company, for his “Design for a Holder for Beer Foam Scrapers.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described incredibly simply in the application, stating only that it’s an “ornamental design for a holder for beer foam scrapers, substantially as shown and described.” Which is funny, because that’s about the only description there is.
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Patent No. 3321861A: Beer Tap Handle

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Today in 1967, US Patent 3321861 A was issued, an invention of Charles G. Tate Jr., for his “Beer Tap Handle.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

Because of competition most beer companies provide bars with fancy tap handles carrying the name of the particular brew. These handles are changed frequently to attract attention and are made in all materials in numerous shapes and sizes. Attempts have been made to provide such handles with electrically operated devices such as lights and other moving parts. However, most communities are provided with safety regulations which prohibit the use of electric lines to beer tap handles be cause of the danger involved, the bartender normally having wet hands and handling a wet product. Battery power has also been suggested for such purpose but these are expensive because the batteries must be frequently replaced. Furthermore, a busy bartender will often forget to turn the switch and turn on the device when he comes in in the morning. The present invention is designed to provide an electrically powered beer tap handle utilizing rechargeable batteries. The device of the present invention operates with a novel switching arrangement so that the batteries are being charged only overnight when the de vice is not in use. Also, removal of the charging device turns on the beer tap handle.

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Patent No. 3091366A: Beer Dispenser

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Today in 1963, US Patent 3091366 A was issued, an invention of Thomas A. Hutsell, for his “Beer Dispenser.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

This present device relates to the general art of devices intended for the measuring and dispensing of effervescent beverages. More particularly this invention relates to a beer dispensing device for dispensing draught beer. Means are provided in this present device to automatically dispense a measured amount of beer and the device is further capable for adjustment so that the desired amount of head of foam can be supplied as a part of the measured amount even though the beer in the dispensing keg may have physical properties quite different from that of the beer in the keg to which the device was previously connected.

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Patent No. 20130126009A1: System For Cleaning Beer Lines And Recovering Draft Beer

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Today in 2013, US Patent 20130126009 A1 was issued, an invention of Tracey M. Killarney and Lawrence A. Kent, for their “System for Cleaning Beer Lines and Recovering Draft Beer.” Here’s the Abstract:

A beer recovery system which uses CO2 to blow unused beer backwards through the beer lines and back into a beer keg is disclosed.

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