Today in 1871, US Patent 2064748 A was issued, an invention of George Arthur Hinds, for his “Machine For Plucking Hops.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:
This invention has for its object to provide an improved machine for plucking hops, that is to say for detaching the flowers or cones from the main parts of the plants (commonly termed vines or bines).
The invention comprises, for use in such a machine, a plucker in the form of a comb-like device having notches adapted to be engaged by only the thinner stems of the plants, namely those attached to or in the immediate neighbourhood of the flowers.
The invention also comprises the combination of a plurality of the aforesaid pluckers, movable means on which the pluckers are mounted, means for suspending the hop plants in the inverted condition adjacent to the pluckers, and means for producing relative movements between the pluckers and plants.
In particular the invention comprises the combination of an endless conveyor, pluckers as aforesaid carried on this conveyor, an overhead conveyor fitted with means from which the hop plants can be suspended, the second conveyor being movable in a line parallel with a plane containing the working side of the plucker conveyor, and means for reciprocating or swinging the hop plants towards and away from the working side of the plucker conveyor.
Further the invention comprises the combination with plucker and plant conveyors, of means for producing an air stream whereby the plants are moved towards the pluckers, and means for intermittently interrupting the air stream.