Today in 1955, US Patent 2710818 A was issued, an invention of Ralph J. Winters, assigned to Ballantine & Sons, for his “Method and Apparatus For Simultaneously Washing Containers and Removing Labels Therefrom.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:
My present invention relates to the automatic washing of containers carrying labels and more particularly to a method for simultaneously washing such containers, removing and disposing of the labels as well as apparatus for carrying out the same.
In the art of packaging products, particularly products intended for human consumption, highly complex and expensive equipment for substantially automatically handling the containers has been provided. This is especially true in the brewing industry where machinery capable of handling many thousands of bottles per hour has been provided for automatically washing the bottles. In this industry containers such as bottles are used over and over again. Before each use each bottle is scrupulously cleaned. It is conventional for each bottle to have affixed thereto a paper label which washes off or otherwise becomes detached from the bottle during the washing process and settles downward in one or the other of the compartments of the washing machine. While the machines are provided with a dead space at the bottom of such compartments, nevertheless the accumulation of labels is so rapid that in a relatively short time they extend upward sufficiently far to impede the passage of the bottles. To avoid damage which may result therefrom, it has been customary to put the washing machine out of operation to permit manual cleaning and removal of the labels. Manual cleaning is, of course, time consuming and costly. Furthermore, because of the highly caustic washing solutions commonly utilized, care must be exercised in carrying out the removal of the labels to avoid injury to personnel during the operation.