Today in 1981, US Patent 4276738 A was issued, an invention of Dominick Ferraro, for his “Hop Picking Machine.” Here’s the Abstract:
A picking machine is described for harvesting hops from vines that have been trained over a low profile trellis. The machine includes two sets of vertical picking conveyors that straddle the vines. The conveyor sets are transversely adjustable toward or away from the vine. A forward picking conveyor set includes picking fingers that move continuously downwardly, stripping hops down from opposite sides of the vine downwardly onto horizontal receiving conveyors. A rearward set of picking conveyors follow the forward set with picking fingers moving upwardly. The upwardly moving picking fingers lift the vine, “stringing” the vine vertically and stripping the remaining hops so they will fall downwardly onto receiving conveyors below.