Today in 1990, US Patent 4913680 A was issued, an invention of Donald A. Desmarais, for his “Low-Trellis Mobile Hop Picker.” Here’s the Abstract:
A mobile hop picking machine is provided with independently elevatable wheels. The picker straddles a trellis to position opposing picking cats on either side of the vines. Front and rear banks of picking hooks move upwardly to pick the hops. A bank of resilient raking tines comb the vines upwardly between the picking banks. The picking cats are pivoted about their front edges and are supported for transverse movement on their rear edges. Cylinders urge the rear of the cats toward the vines. A contact member connected to the cat moves the cat transversely, to avoid cat contact with poles, against a biased mounting provided for the hydraulic cylinder. Longitudinal conveyors transport the hops rearwardly and upwardly. A squeeze conveyor floats on a top support over the elevating end of the longitudinal conveyors. An alternate arrangement intersperses the raking tines and picking hooks.