Chapter XXXIV: THE EVOLUTION OF COFFEE APPARATUS -- All About Coffee, by William H. Ukers

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Chapter XXXIV


Showing the development of coffee-roasting, coffee-grinding, coffee-making, and coffee-serving devices from the earliest time to the present day—The original coffee grinder, the first coffee roaster, and the first coffee pot—The original French drip pot, the De Belloy percolator—Count Rumford's improvement—How the commercial coffee roaster was developed—The evolution of filtration devices—The old Carter "pull-out" roaster—Trade customs in New York and St. Louis in the sixties and seventies—The story of the evolution of the Burns roaster—How the gas roaster was developed in France, Great Britain, and the United States

A book could be written on the subject of this chapter. We shall have to be content to touch briefly upon the important developments in the devices employed. The changes that have taken place in the preparation of the drink itself will be discussed in chapter XXXVI.

In the beginning, that is, in Ethiopia, about 800 A.D., coffee was looked upon as a food. The whole ripe berries, beans and hulls, were crushed, and molded into food balls held in shape with fat. Later, the dried berries were so treated. So the primitive stone mortar and pestle were the original coffee grinder.

The dried hulls and the green beans were first roasted, some time between 1200 and 1300, in crude burnt clay dishes or in stone vessels, over open fires. These were the original roasting utensils.

Next, the coffee beans were ground between little mill-stones, one turning above the other. Then came the mill used by the Greeks and Romans for grain. This mill consisted of two conical mill stones, one hollow and fitted over the other, specimens of which have been found in Pompeii. The idea is the same as that employed in the most modern metal grinder.

Between 1400 and 1500, individual earthenware and metal coffee-roasting plates appeared. These were circular, from four to six inches in diameter, about 316 inch thick, slightly concave and pierced with small holes, something like the modern kitchen skimmer. They were used in Turkey and Persia for roasting a few beans at a time over braziers (open pans, or basins, for holding live coals). The braziers were usually mounted on feet and richly ornamented.

About the same time we notice the first appearance of the familiar Turkish pocket cylinder coffee mill and the original Turkish ibrik, or coffee boiler, made of metal. Little drinking cups of Chinese porcelain completed the service.

The original coffee boiler was not unlike the English ale mug with no cover, smaller at the top than at the bottom, fitted with a grooved lip for pouring, and a long straight handle. They were made of brass, and in sizes to hold from one to six tiny cupfuls. A later improvement was of the ewer design, with bulbous body, collar top, and cover.

The Turkish coffee grinder seems to have suggested the individual cylinder roaster[Pg 616] which later (1650) became common, and from which developed the huge modern cylinder commercial roasting machines.

The Oldest Coffee Grinder The Oldest Coffee Grinder
Ancient Egyptian mortar and pestle, probably used for pounding coffee

The individual coffee service of early civilization first employed crude clay bowls or dishes for drinking; but as early as 1350, Persian, Egyptian, and Turkish ewers, made of pottery, were used for serving. In the seventeenth century, ewers of similar pattern, but made of metal, were the favorite coffee-serving devices in oriental countries and in western Europe.

Between 1428 and 1448, a spice grinder standing on four legs was invented; and this was later used for grinding coffee. The drawer to receive the ground coffee was added in the eighteenth century.

Between 1500 and 1600, shallow iron dippers with long handles and foot-rests, designed to stand in open fires, were used in Bagdad, and by the Arabs in Mesopotamia, for roasting coffee. These roasters had handles about thirty-four inches long, and the bowls were eight inches in diameter. They were accompanied by a metal stirrer (spatula) for turning the beans.

Grain Mill of Greeks and Romans Grain Mill of Greeks and Romans
Also used for grinding coffee

Another type of roaster was developed about 1600. It was in the shape of an iron spider on legs, and was designed, like that just described, to sit in open fires. At this period pewter serving pots were first used.

Between 1600 and 1632, mortars and pestles of wood, iron, brass, and bronze came into common use in Europe for braying the roasted beans. For several centuries, coffee connoisseurs held that pounding the beans in a mortar was superior to grinding in the most efficient mill. Peregrine White's parents brought to America on the Mayflower, in 1620, a wooden mortar and pestle that were used for braying coffee to make coffee "powder."

The First Coffee Roaster, About 1400 The First Coffee Roaster, About 1400

When La Roque speaks of his father bringing back to Marseilles from Constantinople in 1644 the instruments for making coffee, he undoubtedly refers to the individual devices which at that time in the Orient included the roaster plate, the cylinder grinder, the small long-handled boiler, and fenjeyns (findjans), the little porcelain drinking cups.

The First Cylinder Roaster, About 1650 The First Cylinder Roaster, About 1650

When Bernier visited Grand Cairo about the middle of the seventeenth century, in all the city's thousand-odd coffee houses he found but two persons who understood the art of roasting the bean.

About 1650, there was developed the individual cylinder coffee roaster made of metal, usually tin plate or tinned copper, suggested by the original Turkish pocket grinder. This was designed for use over open fires in braziers. There appeared about this time also a combined making-and-serving metal pot which was undoubtedly the original of the common type of pot that we know today.

There appeared in England about 1660, Elford's white iron machine (sheet iron coated with tin) which was "turned on a[Pg 617] spit by a jack.[362]" This was simply a larger size of the individual cylinder roaster, and was designed for family or commercial use. Modifications were developed by the French and Dutch. In the seventeenth century the Italians produced some beautiful designs in wrought-iron coffee roasters.

Historical Relics in the Peter Collection, United States
National Museum
Historical Relics in the Peter Collection, United States National Museum

1—Bagdad coffee-roasting pan and stirrer. 2—Iron mortar and pestle used for pounding coffee. 3—Coffee mill used by General and Mrs. Washington. 4—Coffee-roasting pan used at Mt. Vernon. 5—Bagdad coffee pot with crow-bill spout

Before the advent of the Elford machine, and indeed, for two centuries thereafter, it was the common practise in the home to roast coffee in uncovered earthenware tart dishes, old pudding pans, and fry pans. Before the time of the modern kitchen stove, it was usually done over charcoal fires without flame.

The improved Turkish combination coffee grinder with folding handle and cup receptacle for the beans, used for grinding, boiling, and drinking, was first made in Damascus in 1665. About this period, the Turkish coffee set, including the long-handled boiler and the porcelain drinking cups in brass holders, also came into vogue.

In 1665, Nicholas Book, "living at the Sign of the Frying Pan in St. Tulies street," London, advertised that he was "the only known man for making of mills for grinding of coffee powder, which mills are sold by him from forty to forty-five shillings the mill."

By combining the long-handle idea contained in the Bagdad roaster with that of the original cylinder roaster, the Dutch perfected a small, closed, sheet-iron cylinder-roaster with a long handle that permitted its being held and turned in open fire[Pg 618] places. From 1670, and well into the middle of the nineteenth century, this type of family roaster enjoyed great favor in Holland, France, England, and the United States, more especially in the country districts. The museums of Europe and the United States contain many specimens. The iron cylinder measured about five inches in diameter, and was from six to eight inches long, being attached to a three or four foot iron rod provided with a wooden handle. The green coffee was put into the cylinder through a sliding door. Balancing the roaster over the blaze by resting the end of the iron rod projecting from the far end of the roasting cylinder in a hook of the usual fireplace crane, the housekeeper was wont slowly to revolve the cylinder until the beans had turned the proper color.

Turkish Coffee Mill Turkish Coffee Mill
A fine specimen in the Peter collection, United States National Museum

Portable coffee-making outfits to fit the pocket were much in vogue in France in 1691. These included a roaster, a grinder, a lamp, the oil, cups, saucers, spoons, coffee, and sugar. The roaster was first made of tin plate or tinned copper; but for the aristocracy silver and gold were used. In 1754, a white-silver coffee roaster eight inches long and four inches in diameter was mentioned among the deliveries made to the army of the king at Versailles.

Early French Wall and Table Grinders Early French Wall and Table Grinders
Left, seventeenth-century coffee grinder in the Musée de la Porte de Hal—Center, wall mill, eighteenth century—Right, iron mill, eighteenth century

Humphrey Broadbent, "the London coffee man" wrote in 1722:

I hold it best to roast coffee berries in an iron vessel full of little holes, made to turn on a spit over a charcoal fire, keeping them continually turning, and sometimes shaking them that they[Pg 619] do not burn, and when they are taken out of the vessel, spread 'em on some tin or iron plate 'till the vehemency of the heat is vanished; I would recommend to every family to roast their own coffee, for then they will be almost secure from having any damaged berries, or any art to increase the weight, which is very injurious to the drinkers of coffee. Most persons of distinction in Holland roast their own berries.

Bronze and Brass Mortars of the Seventeenth Century Used for Making Coffee Powder Bronze and Brass Mortars of the Seventeenth Century Used for Making Coffee Powder
Left, bronze (Germany)—Center, brass (England)—Right, bronze (Holland, 1632)

Between 1700 and 1800, there was developed a type of small portable household stove to burn coke or charcoal, made of iron and fitted with horizontal revolving cylinders for coffee roasting. These were provided with iron handles for turning. A modification of this type of roaster under a three-sided hood, and standing on three legs, was designed to sit on the hearth of open fireplaces, close to the fire or in the smoldering ashes. Because of its greater capacity, it was probably used in the inns and coffee houses for roasting large batches. Still another type, which made its appearance late in the eighteenth century, was the sheet-iron roaster suspended at the top of a tall, iron, box-like compartment, or stove, in which the fire was built. This, too, was designed to roast coffee in comparatively large quantities. In some examples it was provided with legs.

Great silver coffee pots ("with all the utensils belonging to them of the same metal") were first used by Pascal at St.-Germain's fair in Paris in 1672. It remained for the English and American silversmiths to produce the most beautiful forms of silver coffee pots; and there are some notable collections of these in England and the United States.

The oriental serving pot was nearly always of metal, tall, and, in old models, of graceful curve, with a slightly twisted ornamental beak in the form of an S, attached below the middle of the vessel. A handle ornamented in the same way formed a decorative balance.

In 1692, the lantern straight-line coffee serving pot with true cone lid, thumb-piece, and handle fixed at right angle to the spout, was introduced into England, succeeding the curved oriental serving pot. In 1700, coffee pots made of cheaper metals, like tin and Britannia ware, began to appear on the home tables of the people. In 1701, silver coffee pots appeared in England having perfect domes and bodies less tapering. Between 1700 and 1800, silver, gold, and delicate porcelain serving pots were the vogue among European royalty.

Early American Coffee Roasters Early American Coffee Roasters

Both the cast-iron spiders and the long-handled roasters were used in open fireplaces previous to 1770

[Pg 620]

In 1704, Bull's machine for roasting coffee was patented in England. This probably marks the first use of coal for commercial roasting.

In 1710, the popular coffee roaster in French homes was a dish of varnished earthenware. This same year a novelty was introduced in France in the shape of a fustian (linen) bag for infusing ground coffee.

By 1714, the thumb-piece on English serving pots had disappeared, and the handle was no longer set at a right angle to the spout. English coffee-pot bodies showed a further modification in 1725, the taper becoming less and less.

Coffee grinders were so common in France in 1720 that they were to be had for a dollar and twenty cents each. Their development by the French had been rapid from the original spice grinder. At first, they were known as coffee mills; but in the eighteenth century, roasters came to be known by that name. They were made of iron, retaining the same principle of the horizontal mill-stones—one of which is fixed while the other moves—that the ancients employed for grinding wheat. They were squat, box-shaped affairs, having in the center a shank of iron that revolved upon a fixed, corrugated iron plate. There was also the style that fastened to the wall. At first, the drawer to receive ground coffee was missing, but this was supplied in later types. Before its invention, the ground coffee was received in a sack of greased leather, or in one treated on the outside with beeswax—probably the original of the duplex paper bag for conserving the flavor.

Roaster with Three-Sided Hood Roaster with Three-Sided Hood
It succeeded the cast-iron spider, and was suspended from a crane, or stood in the embers
Roasting, Making, and Serving Devices Roasting, Making, and Serving Devices
Early seventeenth century, as pictured by Dufour

The French brought their innate artistic talents to bear upon coffee grinders, just as they did upon roasters and serving pots. In many instances they made the outer parts of silver and of gold.

By 1750, the straight-line serving pot in England had begun to yield to the reactionary movement in art favoring bulbous bodies and serpentine spouts.

About 1760, French inventors began to devote themselves to improvements in coffee-making devices. Donmartin, a Paris tinsmith, in 1763, invented an urn pot that employed a flannel sack for infusing. Another infusion device, produced the same year by L'Ainé, also a tinsmith of Paris, was known as a diligence.

A complete revolution in the style of English serving pots took place in 1770,[Pg 621] with a return to the flowing lines of the Turkish ewer; and between 1800 and 1900, there was a gradual return to the style of serving pot having the handle at a right angle to the spout.

English and French Coffee Grinders English and French Coffee Grinders
Nineteenth century

In 1779, Richard Dearman was granted an English patent on a new method of making mills for grinding coffee. In 1798, the first American patent on an improved coffee grinding mill was granted to Thomas Bruff, Sr. It was a wall mill, fitted with iron plates, in which the coffee was ground between two circular nuts, three inches broad and having coarse teeth around their centers and fine shallow teeth at the edges.

De Belloy's (or Du Belloy's) coffee pot appeared in Paris about 1800. It was first made of tin; but later, of porcelain and silver—the original French drip pot. This device was never patented; but it appears to have furnished the inspiration for many inventors in France, England, and the United States. The first French patent on a coffee maker was granted to Denobe, Henrion, and Rouch in 1802. It was for a "pharmacological-chemical coffee-making device by infusion." Charles Wyatt obtained a patent the same year in London on an apparatus for distilling coffee. The De Belloy pot is illustrated on page 622.

In 1806, Hadrot was granted a French patent on a device "for filtering coffee without boiling and bathed in air." This use of the word filtering was misleading, as it was many times after in French, English, and American patent nomenclature, where it often meant percolation or something quite different from filtration. True percolation means to drip through fine interstices of china or metal. Filtration means to drip through a porous substance, usually cloth or paper. De Belloy's pot was a percolator. So was Hadrot's. The improvement on which Hadrot got his patent was to "replace the white iron filter (sic) used in ordinary filtering pots by a filter composed of hard tin and bismuth" and to use "a rammer of the same metal, pierced with holes." The rammer was designed to press down and to smooth out the powdered coffee in an even and uniform fashion. "It also," says Hadrot in his specification, "stops the derangement which boiling water poured from a height can produce. It is held by its stem a half inch from the surface of the powder so that it receives only the action of the water which it divides and facilitates thus the extraction which it must produce in each of the particles."

Eighteenth-Century Roaster Eighteenth-Century Roaster
Essex Institute, Salem, Mass.

A coffee percolator was invented in Paris about 1806 by Benjamin Thompson, F.R.S., an American-British scientist, philanthropist, and administrator. He was known as Count Rumford, a title bestowed on him by the Pope. Rumford's invention was first given to the public in London in 1812. He has gained great credit for his device, because of an elaborate essay that he wrote on it in Paris under the title of [Pg 622]The excellent qualities of coffee and the art of making it in the highest perfection, and that he caused to be published in London in 1812. It was a simple percolator pot provided with a hot-water jacket, and was a real improvement on the French drip or percolator coffee pot invented by De Belloy, but not at all unlike Hadrot's patented device. Count Rumford, however, was a picturesque character, and a good advertiser. He is generally credited with the invention of the coffee percolator; but examination of his device shows that, strictly speaking, the De Belloy pot was just as much a percolator, and apparently antedated it by about six years.

The Original French Drip Pot The Original French Drip Pot
Cafetière à la De Belloy

De Belloy employed the principle of having the boiling water drip through the ground coffee when held in suspension by a perforated metal or porcelain grid. This is true percolation. Hadrot did the same thing with the improvements noted above. Count Rumford in his essay admits that this method of making coffee was not new, but claims his improvement was. This was to provide a rammer for compressing the ground coffee in the upper or percolating device into a definite thickness, this being accomplished by providing the perforated circular tin disk water-spreader that rested on the ground coffee with four projections, or feet, that kept the spreader within half an inch of the grid holding the powder in suspension and free from "agitation."

His argument was that two-thirds of an inch of ground coffee should be leveled and compressed into a half-inch thickness before the boiling water was introduced. Practically the same result was achieved in the De Belloy and Hadrot pots, also provided with water-spreaders and pluggers, but the same mathematical exactitude in the matter of the depth of the ground coffee before the percolation started was not assured. De Belloy's spreader did not have the projections on the under side upon which Count Rumford laid such stress. Then there was the hot-water jacket, which was an improvement on Hadrot's hot air bath. Inventors that followed Rumford have made light of the importance that he attached to scientific accuracy in coffee-making; but it is interesting to note how many of the features of the De Belloy, Hadrot, and Rumford pots have been retained in the modern complex coffee machines, and in most of the filtration devices.

Belgian, Russian, and French Pewter Serving Pots Belgian, Russian, and French Pewter Serving Pots
These are in the Metropolitan Museum and are of nineteenth century design

[Pg 623]

French inventors continued to apply themselves to coffee-roasting and coffee-making problems, and many new ideas were evolved. Some of these were improved upon by the Dutch, the Germans, and the Italians; but the best work in the line of improvements that have survived the test of time was done in England and the United States.

In 1815, Sené was granted a French patent on "a device to make coffee without boiling." In 1819, Laurens produced the original of the percolation device in which the boiling water is raised by a tube and sprayed over the ground coffee. The same year Morize, a Paris tinsmith and lamp-maker, followed with a reversible, double drip pot which was the pioneer of all the reversible filtration pots of Europe and America. Gaudet, another tinsmith, in 1820, patented an improvement on the percolator idea, that employed a cloth filter. By 1825, the pumping percolator, working by steam pressure and by partial vacuum, was much used in France, Holland, Germany, and Austria.

Meanwhile, it was common practise to roast coffee in England in "an iron pan or in hollow cylinders made of sheet iron"; while in Italy, the practise was to roast it in glass flasks, which were fitted with loose corks. The flasks were "held over clear fires of burning coals and continually agitated." Anthony Schick was granted an English patent in 1812, on a method, or process, for roasting coffee; but as he never filed his specifications, we shall probably never know what the process was. The custom of the day in England was to pound the roasted beans in a mortar, or to grind them in a French mill.

Count Rumford's Percolator Count Rumford's Percolator

In 1822, Louis Bernard Rabaut was granted an English patent in which the French drip process was reversed by using steam pressure to force the boiling water upward through the coffee mass. Casseneuve, a Paris tinsmith, seems to have patented practically the same idea in France in 1824. Casseneuve employed a paper filter in his machine.

In America, a United States patent was granted in 1813 to Alexander Duncan Moore of New Haven on a mill "for grinding and pounding coffee." This was followed by a patent granted to Increase Wilson, of New London, in 1818, on a steel mill for grinding coffee.

Pewter Pots of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Pewter Pots of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Left to right, they are German, Flemish, English, and Dutch specimens in the Metropolitan Museum

[Pg 624]

Patent Drawings of Early French Coffee Makers Patent Drawings of Early French Coffee Makers
Left, drip pot of 1806—Next two, Durant's inner-tube pot, 1827—Next (fourth), Gandais' first practicable percolator, 1827—Right, Grandin & Crepeaux' percolator, 1832

In 1815, Archibald Kenrich was granted a patent in England on "mills for grinding coffee."

The coffee biggin, said to have been invented by a Mr. Biggin, came into common use in England for making coffee about 1817. It was usually an earthenware pot. At first it had in the upper part a metal strainer like the French drip pots. Suspended from the rim in later models there was a flannel or muslin bag to hold the ground coffee, through which the boiling water was poured, the bag serving as a filter. The idea was an adaptation of the French fustian infusion bag of 1711, and of other early French drip and filtration devices, and it attained great popularity. Any coffee pot with such a bag fitted into its mouth came to be spoken of as a coffee biggin. Later, there was evolved the metal pot with a wire strainer substituted for the cloth bag. The coffee biggin still retains its popularity in England.

Early French Filtration Devices Early French Filtration Devices
Left, Casseneuve's filter-paper machine, 1824—Center, Gaudet's cloth-filter pot, 1820—Right, Raparlier's percolator

While French inventors were busy with coffee makers, English and American inventors were studying means to improve the roasting of the beans. Peregrine Williamson, of Baltimore, was granted the first patent in the United States for an improvement on a coffee roaster in 1820. In 1824, Richard Evans was granted a patent in England for a commercial method of roasting coffee, comprising a cylindrical sheet-iron roaster fitted with improved flanges for mixing; a hollow tube and trier for sampling coffee while roasting; and a means for turning the roaster completely over to empty it.

The next year, 1825, the first coffee-pot patent in the United States was granted to Lewis Martelley of New York. It marked the first American attempt to perfect an[Pg 625] arrangement to condense the steam and the essential oils and to return them to the infusion. In 1838, Antoni Bencini, of Milton, N.C., was granted a similar patent in the United States. Rowland, in 1844, and Waite and Sener, in their Old Dominion pot of 1856, tried for the same result, namely, the condensation of the steam in upper chambers.

Early American Coffee-Maker Patents Early American Coffee-Maker Patents
Left, Waite & Sener's Old Dominion pot—Right, Bencini's steam condenser

The French meantime focused on coffee makers; and in 1827, Jacques Augustin Gandais, a manufacturer of plated jewelry in Paris, produced a really practicable pumping percolator. This machine had the ascending steam tube on the exterior. The same year, 1827, Nicholas Felix Durant, a manufacturer in Chalons-sur-Marne, was granted a French patent on a percolator employing for the first time an inner tube for spraying the boiling water over the ground coffee.

In 1828, Charles Parker, of Meriden, Conn., began work on the original Parker coffee mill, which later was to bring him fame and fortune.

The next year, 1829, the first French patent on a coffee mill was issued to Colaux & Cie. of Molsheim.

That same year, 1829, the Établissements Lauzaune, Paris, began to make hand-turned iron-cylinder coffee-roasting machines.

In 1831, David Selden was granted a patent in England for a coffee-grinding mill having cones of cast-iron.

The first Parker coffee-grinder patent for a household coffee and spice mill was issued in the United States in 1832 to Edmund Parker and Herman M. White of Meriden, Conn. The Charles Parker Company's business was founded the same year. In 1832 and 1833, United States patents were issued to Ammi Clark, of Berlin, Conn., also on improved coffee and spice mills for home use.

Amos Ransom, Hartford, Conn., was granted a United States patent on a coffee roaster in 1833.

The English began exporting coffee-roasting and coffee-grinding machinery to the United States in 1833–34.

French Coffee Makers, Nineteenth Century French Coffee Makers, Nineteenth Century

1, 2—Improved French drip pots. 3—Persian design. 4—De Belloy pot. 5—Russian reversible pot. 6—New filter machine. 7—Glass filter pot. 8—Syphon machine. 9—Vienna Incomparable. 10—Double glass "balloon" device

[Pg 626]


Fig. 1—End elevation. Fig. 2—Front sectional view. Fig. 3—Front elevation, showing how the roasting cylinder was turned completely over to empty. Fig. 4—The examiner, or trier. Fig. 5—Tube (J) to be inserted in H of Fig. 6 to prevent escape of aroma

[Pg 627]

It was not until 1836 that the first French patent was issued on a combined coffee-roaster-and-grinder to François Réné Lacoux of Paris. The roaster was made of porcelain, because the inventor believed that metal imparted a bad taste to the beans while roasting.

Early French Coffee-Roasting Machines Early French Coffee-Roasting Machines
1—Delephine's coke machine. 2—Bernard's machine, 1841. 3—Circlet for same. 4—Postulart's gas machine

In 1839, James Vardy and Moritz Platow were granted an English patent on a kind of urn percolator employing the vacuum process of coffee making, the upper vessel being made of glass. The first French patent on a glass coffee-making device, using the same principle, was granted to Madame Vassieux, of Lyons, in 1842. These were the forerunners of the double glass "balloons" for making coffee which later on, in the early part of the twentieth century, attained much vogue in the United States. They were very popular in Europe until the latter part of the nineteenth century.

In 1839, John Rittenhouse, of Philadelphia, was granted a United States patent on a cast-iron mill designed to handle the problem of nails and stones in grinding coffee. His improvement was intended to prevent injury to the grinding teeth by stopping the machine.

In 1840, Abel Stillman, Poland, N.Y., was granted a United States patent on a family coffee roaster having a mica window to enable the operator to observe the coffee while roasting. (See 10, page 630.)

In 1841, William Ward Andrews was granted an English patent on an improved coffee pot employing a pump to force the boiling water upward through the coffee, which was contained in a perforated cylinder screwed to the bottom of the pot. This was Rabaut's idea of nineteen years before. We find it again repeated in the United States in a machine which appeared on the New York market in 1906.

[Pg 628]


[Pg 629]

In 1841, Claude Marie Victor Bernard, of Paris, was granted a French patent on a coffee roaster, which was an improvement designed to bring the roasting cylinder and the fire in closer contact. This was accomplished, to quote the quaint language of the inventor, by applying movable legs and "by superimposing a sheet iron circlet around the edge of the furnace to get double the quantity of heat and it presents so much advantage that it has seemed to me worthy of being patented." (See 4, page 627.)

But the French were only toying with the roaster, because roasting in France was not yet a separate branch of business, as it had become in England and the United States, where keen minds were already at work on the purely commercial coffee-roasting machine. The application of intensive thought in this direction was destined to bear fruit in America in 1846, and in England in 1847.

French inventive genius continued to occupy itself with coffee making, and in the invention of Edward Loysel de Santais, of Paris, in 1843, produced the first of the ideas that were later incorporated in the hydrostatic percolator for making "two thousand cups of coffee an hour"[363] at the exposition of 1855, and that has since been improved upon by the Italians in their rapid-filter machines. It should be noted that Loysel's 2,000 cups were probably demi-tasses. The modern Italian rapid-filter machine produces about 1,000 large coffee cups per hour.

James W. Carter, of Boston, was granted a United States patent in 1846 on his "pull-out" roaster; and this was the machine most generally employed for trade roasting in America for the next twenty years. Carter did not claim to have invented the combination of cylindrical roaster and furnace; but he did claim priority for the combination, with the furnace and roasting vessel, of the air space, or chamber, surrounding it, "the same being for the purpose of preventing the too rapid escape of heat from the furnace when the air chamber's induction and eduction air openings or passages are closed."

The Carter "pull-out," was so called because the roasting cylinder of sheet iron was pulled out from the furnace on a shaft supported by standards, to be emptied or to be refilled from sliding doors in its "sides." It was in use for many years in such old-time plants as that of Dwinell-Wright Company, 25 Haverhill Street. Boston; by James H. Forbes and William Schotten in St. Louis; and by D.Y. Harrison in Cincinnati.

The picture of a roasting room with Carter machines in operation, reproduced here, recalled to George S. Wright, the present head of the Dwinell-Wright Company's business, the scene as he saw it so many times when, as a boy of ten or twelve, he occasionally spent a day in his father's factory. "The only difference I notice," he wrote the author, "is that, according to my recollection, there was no cooler box to receive the roasted coffee, which was dumped on the floor where it was spread out three or four inches deep with iron rakes and sprinkled with a watering pot. The contact of water and hot coffee caused so much steam that the roasting room was in a dense fog for several minutes after each batch of coffee was drawn from the fire."

A.E. Forbes also thus recalled the Carter machine in his father's factory in St. Louis in 1853, when he used to help after school; and sometimes ran the roasters, after 1857:

It was barrel shaped, having a slide the full length of one side to fill and empty. A heavy shaft ran through the centre, resting on the wall of the furnace at the rear end and on an upright about eight feet from the front wall. The fire was about sixteen to eighteen inches below the cylinder and of soft coal. The cylinder was not perforated, the theory being to keep the vapors from escaping.[364] This of course was erroneous. The color of the smoke bursting from the edge of the slide was our medium of telling when the roasting process was nearing completion, and often the cylinder was pulled out and opened for inspection several times before that point was reached. When just right, the belt was shifted to a loose pulley, stopping the cylinder, which, was pulled off the fire. A handle was attached to the shaft, the slide drawn, and the coffee was dumped into a wooden tray which had to be shoved under the cylinder. The coffee was stirred around in the tray until cool enough to sack.

The roaster man had to be a husky in those days to pick up a sack of Rio weighing about one hundred, sixty to one hundred, seventy-five pounds (not a hundred, thirty-two pounds, as[Pg 630] now) and to empty it in the cylinder. We had no overhead hoppers.


1, 2—English charcoal machines. 3, 5, 8—American coal-stove roasters. 4—Remington's wheel-of-buckets (American) roaster, 1841. 6—Wood's roaster. 7—Hyde's stove roaster. 9—Reversible stove roaster. 10—Abel Stillman's stove roaster

Later we built in the rear and put in two cylinders of the Chris Abele type, having stationary fronts and filling and emptying from the front end. We still used soft coal, with the fire sixteen to eighteen inches under the cylinder.

We had other machines made locally from the Carter pattern. The idea of the tight cylinder was to keep out smoke, as well as to keep in the aroma. I think we were the first to use perforations, because I remember old Jabez Burns coming along after we put in one of his machines and remarking on it.... We had a kind of mechanical genius for engineer at that time (he also did the roasting) and he conceived the idea that we ought to get rid of the moisture in the roasting coffee because it would cook quicker. When the holes clogged up, he put in loose pieces of wire bent at the ends which shook as the cylinder revolved and kept the holes open. Another thing, he put a hole in the cylinder head and a stopper with a string on it so he could get out a few grains at a time to note the progress of the roasting—but he judged mostly by the smoke.

[Pg 631]The cooling box was as I have described it, but later we put in a perforated false bottom which let out some chaff and small stones.

On our first watering, we pulled out the slide and dashed in a bucket of water, then closed the slide and let it revolve outside the furnace. This was hard on the cylinder, so later we used the sprinkling can and put on water sparingly.

Once we had a party that wanted to put in a soapstone lined roaster, and another near us named Salzgerber patented a superheated-steam roaster which was shaped like our modern milk bottle. This was covered with asbestos and worked on a central bearing so it could be depressed for emptying and elevated for filling. It did good work.

Mr. Forbes' recollections of the early days of roasting and selling coffee at retail in St. Louis are so illuminating, and paint so interesting a picture of the period that they are printed here to illustrate the conditions that prevailed generally at the time when the commercial roasting machine of the United States was being developed into the modern type. He says further:

Selling roasted coffee was uphill work, as every one roasted coffee in the kitchen oven. People were buying, say, at twenty cents. Our asking twenty-five cents "roasted" called for a lot of explanation about shrinkage, tight cylinders so the strength and flavor could not get away, etc.; while, when they roasted a pound in the oven the flavor scented the whole house, thus losing so much strength to say nothing of the unevenness of their roasts—part raw, part roasted, producing an unpleasant taste. An occasional burned roast at home helped some. They tell of a man who, going out in the back yard and kicking over a clod by accident, uncovered some burned coffee. He called to his wife and wanted an explanation. She acknowledged she had burnt it, and hid it so he would not scold. He said, "We had better buy it roasted in the future and avoid such accidents."

We roasted in the cellar. We had an elaborately polished Reed & Mann engine in one window, two brass hoppered mills in the other, and our boiler was under the sidewalk. We had a mahogany-top counter, oil paintings on the wall, and bin fronts of Chinamen, etc., done by the celebrated artist, Mat Hastings (now dead); so you see we started right.

The fight we had to introduce roasted coffee was fierce. Our argument was on the saving of fuel, labor, temper, scorched faces, and anything we could think of. We talked only three coffees, Rio, Java, and Mocha. When Santos began to come, it was hard to change them over from the rank Rio flavor to the more mild Santos. The latter they claimed did not have the rough taste. They missed it and longed for the wild tang of the Rio.

We did not import, but bought in New Orleans and from several local wholesale grocers. No one delivered. Shipments were f.o.b. St. Louis. Draying and packages were extra. Coffee was not cleaned or stoned, but was sold as it came from the sack. However, we did not use any very low grades then. If any one complained of the stones hurting their mills, we advised them to buy ground coffee, showing how it kept better ground as it was packed tight, whereas the roasted was looser and the air could get through it. It was fully a year or more before we began to sell in quantities to make it profitable. In roasting for others, we got a cent per pound; and after awhile, that became so much a business it paid all our expenses. We were the first to roast coffee by steam power west of the Mississippi and east of the Rocky Mountains.

The tea department helped us to hold out until coffee got its hold on the public; for in those days every one used tea and insisted on having it good. Price was no object. How different now!

Five years later (1862) J. Nevison, an Englishman, drifted into town and opened at 85 North Fourth Street. He got out a very bombastic circular which caused us to put out the one I enclose (illustration, page 436). Then came a party named Childs; and after him, Hugh Menown, grand-uncle of the present Menown, of Menown & Gregory; and Mat Hunt; all passed over to the Great Majority. After the Civil War they multiplied pretty fast, coming and going until now we have nineteen roasting establishments in the city.

The late Julius J. Schotten also wrote the author as follows concerning the days of the Carter roaster and of the wholesale coffee-roasting business founded by William Schotten in 1862:

In the early days, every wholesale grocer was selling coffee; the wholesale grocer controlled ninety percent of the trade in the country. It did not pay the coffee roaster to have men on the road selling coffee in those days. Such being the case, seventy-five percent of the roasting done by the coffee roasters was job roasting, at one cent a pound.

In the beginning there were only two kinds of roasted coffee known to the trade in this section of the country (St. Louis) and of course one of these brands was "Rio"—the other; "Java". The former was a genuine Rio, but the Java was mostly Jamaica coffee.

Roasted coffee then was packed (for city trade) in five and ten pound packages, and this size package seemed to supply the wants of the ordinary grocer for a week. Occasionally a twenty-five pound package, and in a few instances as much as fifty pounds of one grade was sold at a time.

The class of customers the coffee roasters sold in those days were the smaller merchants; the larger stores, having their ideas as to quality, bought their coffees green. As they had very little sale for the roasted, they would send a half-sack, and sometimes a whole sack to have it roasted. It took a number of years to induce the larger grocers, and even the average grocers, to purchase their coffee already roasted.

Coffees were roasted in the old style, "pull-out" roaster cylinder. That is to say, it was necessary to stop the roaster and to pull out the cylinder to sample the coffee in order to know when to take the coffee off the fire. When the coffee was ready to take off, the cylinder was pulled out its entire length. It was then turned over and a slide nine inches wide, running the full length of the cylinder, was opened and the contents were dumped in the cooling box. When the coffee reached the cooling box, it took two men with hoes or wooden shovels to stir and turn it until it was properly cooled, there being no cooling arrangements then as we have nowadays.

At that time there were no stoning or separating machines; and as a bag of the ordinary green Jamaica coffee contained from three to five pounds of stones and sticks, it was necessary to hand-pick the coffee after it was roasted.

[Pg 632]


1—English adaptation of French boiler. 2—English coffee biggin. 3—Improved Rumford percolator. 4—Jones's exterior-tube percolator. 5—Parker's steam-fountain coffee maker. 6—Platow's filterer. 7—Brain's Vacuum, or pneumatic filter. 8—Beart's percolator. 9—American coffee biggin. 10—cloth-bag drip pot. 11—Vienna coffee pot. 12—Le Brun's cafetière. 13—Reversible Potsdam cafetière. 14, 15—Gen. Hutchinson's percolator and urn. 16—Etruscan biggin

[Pg 633]

After Carter, the next United States coffee-roaster patent was granted to J.R. Remington, of Baltimore, on a roaster employing a wheel of buckets to move the green coffee beans singly through a charcoal heated trough. It never became a commercial success. (See 4, page 630.)

In 1847–48, William and Elizabeth Dakin were granted patents in England on an apparatus for "cleaning and roasting coffee and for making decoctions." The roaster specification covered a gold, silver, platinum, or alloy-lined roasting cylinder and traversing carriage on an overhead railway to move the roaster in and out of the roasting oven; and the "decoction" specification covered an arrangement for twisting a cloth-bag ground-coffee-container in a coffee biggin, or applied a screw motion to a disk within a perforated cylinder containing the ground coffee, so as to squeeze the liquid out of the grounds after infusion had taken place.

The roaster has survived, but the coffee maker was not so fortunate. The Dakin idea was that coffee was injuriously affected by coming in contact with iron during the roasting process. The roasting cylinder was enclosed in an oven instead of being directly exposed to the furnace heat. The apparatus was provided also with a "taster," or sampler, the first of its kind, to enable the operator to examine the roasting berries without stopping the machine. As will be seen by referring to the picture of the model shown, the apparatus was ingenious and not without considerable merit. Dakin & Co. are still in existence in London, operating a machine very like the original model.

In 1848, Thomas John Knowlys was granted a patent in England on a perforated roasting cylinder coated with enamel.

It is to be noted in passing that this idea of handling the green bean with extreme delicacy, evidently obtained from the French, was never taken seriously in the United States, whose inventors chose to handle it with rough courage.

The Dakin Roasting Machine of 1848 The Dakin Roasting Machine of 1848

[Pg 634]

The first English patent on a coffee grinder was granted to Luke Herbert in 1848.

In 1849, Apoleoni Pierre Preterre, of Havre, was granted an English patent on a coffee roaster mounted on a weighing apparatus to indicate loss of weight in roasting and automatically stop the roasting process. At the same time he secured an English patent on a vacuum percolator, not unlike Durant's of 1827.

In 1849 also, Thomas R. Wood, of Cincinnati, was granted a United States patent on a spherical coffee roaster for use on kitchen stoves. It attained considerable popularity among housewives who preferred to do their own roasting. (See 6, page 630.)

In 1852, Edward Gee secured a patent in England on a coffee roaster fitted with inclined flanges for turning the beans while roasting.

C.W. Van Vliet, of Fishkill Landing, N.Y., was granted a United States patent in 1855 on a household coffee mill employing upper breaking and lower grinding cones. He assigned it to Charles Parker of Meriden, Conn. In 1860–61 several United States patents were granted John and Edmund Parker on coffee grinders for home use.

In 1862, E.J. Hyde, of Philadelphia, was granted a United States patent on a combined coffee-roaster and stove fitted with a crane on which the roasting cylinder was revolved and swung out horizontally for emptying and refilling. This machine proved to be a commercial success. Benedickt Fischer used one in his first roasting plant in New York. It is still being manufactured by the Bramhall Deane Company of New York.

A Globular Stove Roaster of 1860 A Globular Stove Roaster of 1860
Hyde's Combined Roaster and Stove Hyde's Combined Roaster and Stove

In 1864, Jabez Burns, of New York, was granted a United States patent on the original Burns coffee roaster, the first machine which did not have to be moved away from the fire for discharging the roasted coffee, and one that marked a distinct advance in the manufacture of coffee-roasting apparatus. It was a closed iron cylinder set in brickwork. (See illustration, page 635.)

Jabez Burns had been a student of coffee roasting in New York for twenty years before he produced the machine that was to revolutionize the coffee business of the United States. He had brought with him from England a knowledge of the trade in that country, where he first began his business training by selling Java coffee at fourteen cents and Sumatra at eleven cents to hotels, boarding-houses, and private families.

Up to the time of the Civil War, the contrivances employed for roasting coffee in every case necessitated the removal of the roasting apparatus—whether pan, globe, or cylinder—from the fire. The process of causing coffee to discharge from the end of the roasting cylinder at the pleasure of the operator while the cylinder was still in motion was new; and the double set of flanges to produce this effect, and at the same time, during the process of roasting, to keep the coffee equally distributed from end to end of the cylinder, was new. Some one suggested this last improvement was simply an Archimedean screw placed in a cylinder, but Mr. Burns replied: "It is a double screw, a thing never suggested by the Archimedean screw. It is, in fact, a double right and left augur, one within the other, firmly secured together and also to the shell or cylinder, and when the cylinder[Pg 635] revolves the desired result is obtained—the idea being entirely original."

Mr. Burns had watched the development of the coffee business from the time when the preparation of coffee was largely confined to the home, where the approved roasting implements were hot stones, or tiles, iron plates, skillets, and frying pans. Some of these were still in use twenty years after he produced his first machine; and he often said that coffee evenly roasted by such methods was just as good as if done by the best mechanical device ever invented. He also said: "Coffee can be roasted in very simple machinery. Some of the best we ever saw was done in a corn popper. Patent portable roasters are almost as numerous as rat traps or churns."

The Original Burns Roaster, 1864 The Original Burns Roaster, 1864

He early saw the practise of domestic roasting falling into disuse, as it was becoming possible to supply the consumer with roasted coffee for only a trifle more than in the green state, with all the labor and annoyance of roasting done away with—a talking point that John Arbuckle was quick to seize upon in his first Ariosa advertising.

In almost every town of any size there were concerns engaged in the roasting business. Within a few years, Burns machines were placed in all the principal roasting centers. Pupke & Reid in New York; Flint, Evans & Co., and James H. Forbes in St. Louis; Arbuckles & Co., in Pittsburgh; the Weikel & Smith Spice Co. in Philadelphia; Theodore F. Johnson & Co., in Newark; Evans & Walker in Detroit; W. & J.G. Flint in Milwaukee; and Parker & Harrison in Cincinnati, were among his first customers.

It is said that in 1845 there were facilities in and around New York to roast as much coffee as was then consumed in Great Britain. Steam power was being extensively used, and the roasting was done here for a large part of the country. The habit was to buy roasted coffee from the coffee and spice mills by the bag or larger quantity for country consumption; and the grocers and small tea stores, for local consumption, bought from twenty-five pounds upward at a time. This method cheapened the roasting of coffee to half a cent a pound; and then good profits could be made, for everything was cheap in those days. Even at that, it would have been impossible for each tea dealer to have roasted his own coffee for several times the amount, so the practise was generally adhered to all over the country.

Jabez Burns wrote in 1874:

It is preposterous to suppose that household roasting will be continued long in any part of this country, if coffee properly prepared can be had. This is demonstrated by the remarkable advances made in Pittsburgh and other places, where only a few years ago the sales were chiefly in green coffee. Now the amount roasted in Pittsburgh alone by those who make a business of it, exceeds the entire consumption of coffee of any kind in the United States fifty years ago. It will never pay for small stores to roast if the large manufactories will do the work well, and if they will not, small dealers will add proper machinery, and will eventually become strong competing dealers. By doing the work with proper care they will not only secure a reputation with large sales for themselves, but will command the roasting for other parties.

Until the Burns roaster appeared, coffee roasters were usually cylinders that revolved upon an axis; the other devices that were tried were not successful. Jabez Burns thus describes the first roaster he ever saw at Hull, England:

It consisted of a furnace, open at the top, and a perforated cylinder with a slide door. The axis, or shaft, of the cylinder had bearings on a frame which passed outside the furnace, while the cylinder went down into the fire pit, the top of which could be covered over. In this position it could be turned by means of a crank on the end of a shaft The only means of testing was by the escape of the steam or aroma, whichever predominated, passing out through the perforations at the top; but so expert was the operator and so quick to detect the aroma, that[Pg 636] he seldom had to return the cylinder to the fire to produce a satisfactory roast. This man roasted fifty pounds or less in a batch for a number of retail stores.

Globes, consisting of two hemispheres, made of cast-iron and so arranged that they opened to fill and discharge, but operated substantially as above, only with the method of lowering into the fire changed somewhat, I have seen in use in Scotland in 1840. They were called French roasters.

In this country a few years ago the use of the long sheet-iron cylinder was almost universal, varying only in the method of placing the cylinder over the fire—some sideways on a track, others endwise, sliding on a long shaft or by turning on a crane, in either case causing considerable labor and loss of time, which often resulted in the hands of the inexperienced in more or less spoiling the batch of coffee.

From his expert knowledge of coffee and coffee-roasting problems, Jabez Burns quickly rose to a commanding position in the industry. He was a trade teacher and a trade builder. He had very definite ideas on roasting. He said:

The object of roasting is not attained until all the moisture (water of vegetation) is driven off. Roast properly—uniformly and sufficiently—and you will get all the aroma there is in the bean. Coffees of various kinds can not be roasted to a uniform color. Some will be of a light shade when sufficiently roasted while others will have to be roasted dark to develop the aroma. Therefore, appearance alone is not a proper test. Aroma-saving devices have had their day. Coffee is of no use unless the aroma is fully developed, and the more it is developed by roasting the better it is. What passes off in the roasting process can not be saved and is so small that if all of it in the country could be collected and freed of all foreign matter, it would not weigh an ounce.

Roast coffee over a slow fire so that it will be an hour before it has the color of roasted coffee, and, in contrast, produce in another batch of like quantity the same color in thirty minutes, and it will be found for all intended purposes, either to grind, sell or drink, that the latter will be, beyond all comparison, the best. Coffee should be roasted uniform and as quickly as possible, only it must not be scorched or spotted, otherwise it will have a bitter burned taste. If roasted properly it will very considerably increase its bulk and will be plump, swelled out and crisp; easily crushed in the hand or between the fingers.

In his Spice Mill Companion, published in 1879, Jabez Burns said further in regard to roasting:

All coffees do not roast alike; some will be a bright light color when done, and others will be dark before done. There are two infallible rules, which if properly appreciated and tried will prove to be practically useful. One is, when the aroma is sufficiently developed to produce a sharp, cutting, but aromatic sensation in the nose. Those who practice that way do not need to see the roast. The other rule is that when a berry is broken it is crisp and uniform in color inside and out. Those who are accustomed to this method may be good coffee roasters, albeit they may not have any nose at all. But we must state in this connection, that a man who has no smell and is color blind is not a fit candidate for the coffee roasting profession; and, moreover, we affirm that any person who can not roast coffee, so far as judgment is concerned, after a few trials, will never make a good operator.

Burns Granulating Mill, 1872–74 Burns Granulating Mill, 1872–74

In 1867, Jabez Burns was granted a United States patent on an improved coffee cooler, mixer, and grinding mill, or granulator. Another granulator patent was issued to him in 1872. Mr. Burns had also given the subject of cooling coffees considerable study, and his cooler was the result. He argued that it was necessary to cool quickly. Before his day, various methods had been employed, such as placing the coffee in revolving drums covered with wire cloth. Sometimes a draft of cold air was applied to the cooling drums, and the dirt and chaff blown through the wire cloth. It was also customary in wholesale establishments to blow cold air up through a perforated bottom, and this had been found effective when properly applied. The Burns idea was to cool by means of suction, causing a downward draft through the coffee and wire-cloth bottomed box, which was found to be more uniform and efficient for cooling purposes, as well as in controlling smoke, heat, and dust, which by this means[Pg 637] could be blown out of the roasting room by any convenient outlet.

On the subject of grinding, likewise, Mr. Burns had reached some definite conclusions. The French and English lap and wall mills, the English steel mills, and the Swift mills were all used in the United States. Troemner's, the Enterprise, and others—to be mentioned later in chronological order—were extending their use in a retail way; but Jabez Burns confined his attention to a practicable mill for wholesale grinding establishments.

For manufacturing purposes, burstone mills were for many years exclusively employed, especially one first known as the Prentiss & Page, and later as the Page mill. There was a time when all the coffee establishments in New York sent their coffee to Prentiss & Page to be ground. Some of the places roasted by hand, others by horse power; and if by steam, it was limited, and they did not have enough to spare for grinding.

With the march of improvement, burstone mills went into the discard. The difficulty lay in finding men experienced in stone dressing to run them; and the demand grew for a better style of grinding than could be done in a mill out of face and balance. This demand was met in an altogether different style of machine, which for twenty-five years was well known as the Barbor mill. It was for improvements on this mill that Jabez Burns in 1867, 1872, and 1874 obtained his granulator patents.

The mill comprised cutters in the form of an iron roller running in near contact with a concave, also of iron, and a revolving cylinder provided with sieves, or screens, that received the ground material, rolled it over the wire surface, sifting out the fine and discharging the coarse automatically into the cutter, to be again manipulated until it was fine enough to pass through the meshes of the screen.

Jabez Burns patented an improved form of his roaster in 1881, and a sample-coffee roaster in 1883, before he died in 1888; and since that time his sons, who continue the business, have perfected a number of improvements and brought out new machines which will be referred to in chronological order.

James H. Nason, of Franklin, Mass., was granted a United States patent in 1865 on a percolator with fluid joints.

P.H. Vanderweyde, of Philadelphia, was granted United States patents in 1866 on a percolator and a continuous coffee-filtering machine.

Raparlier was granted a French patent on a pocket coffee-making device in 1867. In later years, his invention became very popular among French coffee drinkers. It was one of the early practicable forms of double-glass-globe filtration devices.

E.B. Manning of Middletown, Conn., was granted his first patent on a tea and coffee pot in 1868. Others followed in 1870 and 1876. In the latter year, John Bowman brought out the valve-type percolator which subsequently attained great favor in American households.

Thomas Smith & Son (Elkington & Company, Ltd., successors) began to manufacture at Glasgow, Scotland, about 1870, the Napierian vacuum coffee machine which had been invented in 1840—but never patented—by Robert Napier of the celebrated firm of Clyde shipbuilders. This machine makes coffee by distillation and filtration. It employs a metal globe, and a brewer from which the coffee is syphoned over into the globe through a tube, around the strainer-end of which, as it rests in the coffee liquid in the brewer, there is tied a filter cloth. It is still being manufactured by Elkington & Company.

Napier's Vacuum Machine, 1840 Napier's Vacuum Machine, 1840

Thomas Page, a New York millwright, began the manufacture of a pull-out coffee[Pg 638] roaster similar to the old Carter machine, in 1868. Later, Chris Abele, who was foreman in the Page shop, succeeded to the business; and in 1882, he was granted a United States patent on an improvement on a coffee roaster similar to the original Burns machine (the patent had then expired) which he marketed under the name of Knickerbocker.

German Coffee Machinery

The Germans first began to show an active interest in coffee machinery in 1860. In that year, Alexius Van Gulpen, of Emmerich, produced a green-coffee grader; and later (1868), in partnership with J.H. Lensing and Theodore von Gimborn, began the manufacture of coffee-roasting machines. From this start there developed in Emmerich quite an industry in coffee-machinery building. In 1870, Alexius Van Gulpen introduced to the German trade a globular coffee roaster employing wood and coke as fuel and having perforations and an exhauster. Van Gulpen and von Gimborn are the two names most often met with in the development of German coffee-roasting machinery.

The first recorded German patent on a coffee roaster was issued to G. Tubermann's Son in 1877, for "a coffee burner with vertically adjusted stirring works." German patents were issued in 1878 to R. Muhlberg, of Taucha, for coffee roasters with movable partitions and "screw-shaped declining walls." Six roaster patents were issued to other inventors in 1878–79.

Peter Pearson, of Manchester, took out a German patent on a coffee-roasting apparatus in 1880. Fleury & Barker, of London, were granted a coffee-roaster patent in Germany in 1881.

After 1870, Van Gulpen devoted himself to the cylinder type of roaster, on which he obtained several patents. The partnership between Messrs. Van Gulpen, Lensing and von Gimborn was dissolved in 1906. They were succeeded by the Emmericher Maschinenfabrik und Eissengiesserei, and Van Gulpen & Co. Van Gulpen died in 1920. Among his inventions were a circular air fan to supply fresh air to the beans while roasting; a fire-dampening device; roasting and cooling exhausters; and a "withdrawable" mixer remaining inside the cylinder during the roasting process, but designed to be withdrawn at the end, discharging the contents with a jerk into a circular cooler. These improvements are featured in Van Gulpen & Co.'s latest Meteor machine. They make also the Typhoon and Comet machines, and a line of globular roasters.

A dozen coffee-roaster patents were issued in Germany in 1880–82. Among them was one to the Emmerich Machine Factory and Iron Foundry, Van Gulpen, Lensing & von Gimborn, Emmerich, in 1882.

German Gas and Coal Roasting Machines German Gas and Coal Roasting Machines
Left, Perfekt gas roaster—Right, Probat coal roaster

Numerous coffee-cooling, coffee-grinding, and coffee-making devices were patented in Germany from 1877 to 1885; among them Newstadt's coffee-extract machine in 1882, safety attachments, rapid filters, Vienna coffee makers, etc. The first Vienna coffee[Pg 639] maker seems to have been patented in Germany in 1879.

The Emmerich Machine Factory and Iron Foundry acquired certain Danish and Austrian coffee-roaster patents in 1881, and in 1892 it was granted a German patent on a ball roaster. In the eighties this concern began the manufacture of a closed ball, or globular, roaster with gas-heater attachment. It acquired, in 1889, the rights for Germany to manufacture gas roasters under the Dutch Henneman patents of 1888. In 1892, Theodore von Gimborn was granted French and English patents on a coffee roaster employing a naked gas flame in a rotary cylinder. In 1897, the Emmericher concern was granted a German patent on an automatic circular tipping cooler with power drive. Today, this factory features the Probat and Perfekt roasters, but manufactures a general line of cylinder and ball machines for coal, coke, and gas.

Among others engaged in the manufacture of coffee machines in Germany are G. W. Barth, Ludwigsburg, and Ferd. Gothot, Mulheim on Rhur. The latter manufactures a coke or gas heated quick-roaster known as the Ideal-Rapid, and a smaller hand-power machine, of the same type, called Favour.

Other German Coffee Roasters Other German Coffee Roasters
Left, globular machine—Right, Meteor quick-roasting outfit

American, French, and British Machines

In 1869, Élie Moneuse and L. Duparquet, of New York, were granted three United States patents on a coffee pot or urn made of sheet copper and lined with pure sheet block tin. These patents were the foundation of the successful coffee-urn business afterward built up under the name of the Duparquet, Huot & Moneuse Co.

Thomas Smith & Son (Elkington & Co., Ltd., successors) began, in 1870, the manufacture of the Napierian coffee-making machine at Glasgow, Scotland. This was a device for making coffee by distillation, employing a metal globe syphon and brewer with filter cloth. The principle was subsequently used in the Napier-List steam coffee machine for ships and institutions, patented in England in 1891.

John Gulick Baker, of Philadelphia, one of the founders of the Enterprise Manufacturing Co. of Pennsylvania, was granted a United States patent in 1870, on a coffee grinder introduced to the trade as the Enterprise Champion No. 1 store mill. Another Baker patent was granted in 1873, and this became known as the Enterprise Champion Globe No. 0. These mills were the pioneer machines for store use.

In 1870, Delphine, Sr., of Marourme, France, was granted a French patent on a tubular coffee roaster which turned over a flame.

In the sixties and seventies, French inventors became quite active on coffee-roaster improvements. Many patents were granted, and quite a few were for practical small-capacity machines that have survived, and[Pg 640] are in use today in France and on the continent. Some supplied inspiration for inventors in neighboring countries. Among the more notable names, mention should be made of Martin, of St. Quentin, who produced a sheet-iron cylinder roaster with "interior gatherer" in 1860; Marchand, of Paris, "fan roaster with movable fire box," 1866 and 1869; Lauzaune, Paris, "rocking system of roasting coffee in a round stove," 1873; Ittel's glass sphere, Lyons, 1874; and Marchand and Hignette, Paris, 1877, a ball coffee roaster.

Evolution of the Gas Roaster

According to the patent records, Roure, of Marseilles, appears to have produced the original gas coffee roaster in 1877. The evolution of the gas roasting-machine was as follows:

In 1879, H. Faulder, of Stockport, England, obtained an English patent on an external air-blast burner applied to a cylinder gas machine, which is still being manufactured by the Grocers Engineering and Whitmee, Ltd., of London. Fleury and Barker, of London, followed with another English gas machine in 1880, the heat being supplied from gas jets over the roasting cylinder. In 1881, Peter Pearson, of Manchester, produced a gas roaster which consisted of a wire-gauze cylinder revolving under a metal plate heated by gas.

Original Enterprise Mill Original Enterprise Mill
Max Thurmer's Quick Gas Roaster Max Thurmer's Quick Gas Roaster

Beeston Tupholme, of London, was granted an English patent in 1887, on a direct-flame gas roaster which he assigned to Joseph Baker & Sons.

Karel F. Henneman, the Hague, Netherlands, took out his first patent on the Henneman direct-flame gas roaster in Spain in 1888; and the following year, he obtained patents in Belgium, France, and England. His United States patents were granted in 1893–95.

Postulart secured a patent in France for a gas coffee roaster in 1888.

The Germans also began, in the eighties, to take the quick gas coffee roaster seriously. In 1889, Carl Alexander Otto, of Dresden, secured a German patent on a spiral tubular machine to roast coffee in three and a half minutes. It was first manufactured and sold by Max Thurmer, of Dresden, in 1891–93.

Loading Coffee on Zamboeks at Hodeida Loading Coffee on Zamboeks at Hodeida
These boats then transfer their cargoes to steamships lying in the roads

Picturesque Camel and Bullock Carts Picturesque Camel and Bullock Carts
Used for local coffee transport in Aden and Hodeida

[Pg 641]

The subject of quick roasting has greatly agitated German and French coffee men. Otto found that coffee roasted in small quantities (say fifty grams) on a sample-roaster produced a finer flavor and aroma than that roasted in the big machines. He set out to produce a machine that would roast continuous small quantities in the shortest time. He built the first commercial machine under his patent in 1893. It was shown at the International Food Exhibition in Dresden in 1894. The latest type manufactured by Max Thurmer, Dresden, in which firm Otto is a partner, has a spiral five meters long and an hourly production of about 450 pounds. The Thurmer machine, as it is called, has been sold to the trade since 1914.

Quick roasting is gone in for quite extensively in Germany, even in the big trade-roasting plants, where machines to roast in ten to seventeen minutes are common. Natural, slow cooling is most necessary with quick roasting, according to Thurmer. On the other hand, A. Mottant, of Paris, who also manufactures a line of quick gas-roasting machines, called Magic, argues that quick cooling is essential after quick roasting. Three of the Mottant machines are illustrated on pages 642 and 644.

Other quick-roasting machines of German make are the Combinator, Tornado, and Rekord.

In a lecture before the Society of Medical Officers of Health, London, October 24, 1912, William Lawton demonstrated to the satisfaction of his audience that coffee could be roasted in 3 minutes, using a perforated gas-roaster of his own invention.[365]

The first direct-flame gas coffee roaster in America was installed in the plant of the Potter-Parlin Co., New York, by F.T. Holmes, in 1893. This was Tupholme's machine, patented in England in 1887, and in the United States in 1896–97. The Potter-Parlin Co. subsequently placed the Tupholme machines throughout the United States on a daily rental basis, limiting its leases to one firm in a city, having obtained the exclusive American rights from the Waygood, Tupholme Co., now the Grocers Engineering and Whitmee, Ltd.

An English Gas Coffee-Roasting Plant An English Gas Coffee-Roasting Plant
The machines are the Morewood (Improved Faulder) sliding-burner indirect type

[Pg 642]

Natural gas was first used in the United States as fuel for roasting coffee in 1896, when it was introduced under coal roasting cylinders in Pennsylvania and Indiana by improvised gas burners.

French Globular Roaster French Globular Roaster

Edwin Crawley and W.T. Johnston, Newport, Ky., assignors to the Potter-Parlin Co., New York, were granted four United States patents on gas coffee-roasting machines.

In 1897, a special gas burner, not to be confused with the direct-flame machine, was first attached to a regular Burns roaster in the United States, and was made the basis of application for a patent.

In 1897–99, David B. Fraser, of New York, began to market in the United States a central-heated gas-fuel machine with an inner wire-cloth cylinder to keep the coffee from dropping into the flame, developed under United States patents granted to Carl H. Duehring, of Hoboken, in 1897, and to D.B. Fraser in 1899.

M.F. Hamsley, of Brooklyn, was granted a United States patent on an improved direct-flame gas roaster in 1898.

Ellis M. Potter, New York, was granted in 1899, a United States patent on an improved direct-flame gas roaster in which the flame was spread over a large area to avoid scorching and to insure a more thorough and uniform roast. In the Tupholme machine, the gas flame entered at one end, and the smoke and flame went out through a stack on top. In the Potter machine, the stack was put on the end opposite the gas intake, with a fan to pull the flame all the way through.

Sirocco Machine (French) Sirocco Machine (French)

The Burns direct-flame gas roaster, with patented swing-gate head for feeding and discharging, was introduced to the trade in 1900. The Burns gas sample-roaster followed.

In 1901, Joseph Lambert, of Marshall, Mich., introduced to the trade one of the earliest indirect gas roasting machines.

In 1901, also, T.C. Morewood, of Brentford, England, was granted an English patent on a gas roaster fitted with a sliding burner and a removable sampling tube. This machine is now being made by the Grocers Engineering and Whitmee, Ltd.

In the same year, 1901, F.T. Holmes, formerly with the Potter-Parlin Co., joined the Huntley Manufacturing Co., Silver Creek, N.Y., which then began to build the Monitor direct-flame gas coffee roaster. Mr. Holmes still further improved the Tupholme idea by putting gas burners in both ends of the roasting cylinder, with the pipes bent down so as to cause the gas flame to go first to the bottom and then up to the stack on top. This improvement was never patented.

The Henneman direct-flame gas roaster was introduced to the United States trade in 1905, by C.A. Cross & Co., wholesale grocers, of Fitchburg, Mass. It was marketed[Pg 643] here seven years, but was never a great success.

English Roasting and Grinding Equipment English Roasting and Grinding Equipment
Showing one 168-pound Simplex gas roaster, with a Rapid disk grinding machine having a capacity of 300 to 400 pounds per hour

In 1906, F.T. Holmes was granted a United States patent on a coffee roaster which he assigned to the Huntley Manufacturing Co.

J.C. Prims, of Battle Creek, Mich., was granted a United States patent in 1908, on a corrugated cylinder improvement for a gas and coal roaster designed for retail stores. The A.J. Deer Co., Hornell, N.Y., acquired this machine in 1909, and began to market it as the Royal coffee roaster. An improvement patented in 1915 by J.C. Prims was assigned to the A.J. Deer Co.

In 1915, and again in 1919, Jabez Burns & Sons, New York, patented their Jubilee roaster, an inner-heated machine in which the gas is burned inside a revolving cylinder in a combustion chamber protected from direct coffee contact. The heat is deflected downward and then passes upward through the coffee.

In 1919, William Fullard (d. 1921), of Philadelphia, was granted a United States patent on a "heated fresh air system" roaster, in which the fresh air is forced by an electric fan through a pipe to a set of coils over gas, coal, or oil flame. At the top of the coils is a manifold, the hot air being forced through small holes to circulate in and around a regulation perforated roasting cylinder; the vapors and spent air are then drawn into an overhead exhaust pipe that connects with a pipe provided with a fresh-air intake, the idea being to return them to the roasting cylinder after being mixed with fresh air and heated in the coils as before. This patent has not been successfully marketed at the time of writing. The purpose is to roast by heated air not mixed with any furnace gases. Whether this can be done with sufficient fuel economy, and whether coffee thus roasted would have any greater value, are questions that are raised by the coffee experts.

Coffee-Grinding and Coffee-Making Chronology

To return to our coffee-grinding and coffee-making chronology, it is to be noted[Pg 644] that in 1875–76–78, Turner Strowbridge, of New Brighton, Pa., was granted three United States patents on a box coffee mill, first made by Logan & Strowbridge, later the Logan & Strowbridge Iron Company, the latter being succeeded by the Wrightsville Hardware Co. in 1906.

Magic Gas Machine (French) Magic Gas Machine (French)
Burns Jubilee Gas Machine Burns Jubilee Gas Machine

In 1878, a United States patent was issued to Rudolphus L. Webb, assignor to Landers, Frary & Clark, New Britain, Conn., on an improved box coffee grinder for home use.

In 1878, and in 1880, United States patents were issued to John C. Dell of Philadelphia on a store coffee mill.

In 1879, and in 1880, United States patents were issued to Orson W. Stowe, of the Peck, Stowe & Wilcox Co., Southington, Conn., on a household coffee mill.

In 1879, Charles Halstead, of New York, was granted the first United States patent on a metal coffee pot having a china interior. It was an infuser for home use.

In 1880, coffee pots, with tops having muslin bottoms for clarifying and straining, were first made in the United States by the Duparquet, Huot & Moneuse Co., of New York.

The name Hungerford first appears in the United States patent records in 1880–81, in connection with patents granted to G.W. and G.S. Hungerford on machines for cleaning, scouring, and polishing coffee. In 1882, the Hungerfords, father and son, brought out a roaster. This machine and the one patented by Chris Abele, of New York, already referred to, were constructions resulting from the expiration of the original Burns patent of 1864. In 1881, Jabez Burns patented the improved Burns roaster, comprising a turn-over front head serving for both feeding and discharging. Additional United States coffee-roaster patents were issued to G.W. Hungerford in 1887–89. In the latter year, David Fraser, who came to the United States from Glasgow in 1886, established the Hungerford Co., succeeding the business of the Hungerfords, and later being granted certain United States patents, already mentioned. In 1910, the Hungerford Co. business was discontinued in New York; and David B. Fraser moved to Jersey City, where he continued to operate as the Fraser Manufacturing Co. This business was discontinued in 1918.

Chris Abele was an active competitor of the Hungerfords and of the Fraser Manufacturing Co.; and his Knickerbocker roaster was sold over a wide territory. He died in 1910; and his son-in-law, Gottfried Bay, succeeded to the business.

In 1881, the Morgan Brothers, Edgar H. and Charles, began the manufacture of household coffee mills, the business being[Pg 645] acquired in 1885 by the Arcade Manufacturing Co., of Freeport, Ill. The latter concern brought out the first pound coffee mill in 1889. Its mills became very popular in the United States. In 1900, Charles Morgan was granted a United States patent on a glass-jar coffee mill, with removable glass measuring cup.

Double Aromatic Gas Roasting Outfit (French) Double Aromatic Gas Roasting Outfit (French)

In 1881, Harvey Ricker, of Brooklyn, later of Minneapolis, introduced to the trade in the United States a "minute coffee pot" and urn known as the Boss, the name being subsequently changed to Minute. He improved and patented the device in 1901 as the Half-Minute coffee pot. It is a filtration device employing a cotton sack with a thickened bottom.

In 1882, Chris Abele, of New York, patented an improvement on the old-style Burns roaster, with openings cut in the front plate. It was known as the Knickerbocker. As already noted, the machine was a competitor of the Hungerford machine patented the same year.

In 1882, a German patent was granted to Emil Newstadt, of Berlin, on one of the earliest coffee-extract machines.

In 1883, Jabez Burns was granted a United States patent on his improved sample-coffee roaster.

In 1884, the Star coffee pot, later known as the Marion Harland, was introduced to the trade. It employed a wire-gauze drip device, called a "filter," which was fitted to a metal pot. It was extensively advertised and attained considerable popularity. The same year, Finley Acker, of Philadelphia, brought out an improved coffee pot for family trade. Later, he produced his Mo-Kof-Fee pot and an individual porcelain drip pot for testing-table use.

In 1885, F.A. Cauchois, New York, brought out an improved porcelain-lined urn.

In 1887–88, the Etruscan coffee pot was invented and put on the market by the Etruscan Coffee Pot Co., of Philadelphia. It employed a muslin cylinder with metal ends and a mechanism for combining "agitation, distillation and infusion." It was not unlike the Dakin device of 1848, previously mentioned.

In 1890, A. Mottant, Bar-le-Duc, France, began to manufacture a line of coffee-roasting[Pg 646] machinery which included vertical ball-and-cylinder machines, using wood, coal, coke, or gas for fuel. His best known makes are Magic and Sirocco (see page 642).

Before 1895, the commercial roaster was little used in France. Since then, the industry has developed, but without displacing the smaller roaster for family use. Ball roasters are popular with shop-keepers, especially the variety manufactured by the Établissements Lauzaune at Paris, and known as Aromatic, being equipped with electric motors. This firm builds also a larger machine known as Moderne.

Other makes of roasters that have attained prominence in France are the Lambert, equipped with a steam condenser; Van den Brouck's, having the roasting cylinder lined with wire gauze; and Resson's machine for wholesale plants.

The French led off with glass-cylinder roasters for home use in the early seventies. They are still popular. One of the developments of the last decade was known as the Bijou, and was operated by clock work. A similar automatic machine, made of glass, was manufactured and sold in New York in 1908 under the name of the Home roaster. As late as 1914, an American inventor produced a home roaster for use in a stove hole. This device had a stirrer in the cover to be rotated by hand. A similar device was sold in 1917 under the name Savo. Home roasting, however, has become a lost art in America.

Lambert's Victory Gas Machine Lambert's Victory Gas Machine

In 1897, Joseph Lambert, of Vermont, began the manufacture and sale in Battle Creek, Mich., of the Lambert self-contained coffee roaster without the brick setting then required for coffee-roasting machines. In 1900, he was joined by A.P. Grohens. In 1901, the Lambert Food and Machinery Co. was organized. In 1904, the company was reorganized. Since then, many improvements have been made under Mr. Grohens' direction. The Lambert gas roaster, one of the first machines employing gas as fuel for indirect roasting, dates back to 1901, as previously mentioned. The Economic roaster is Mr. Grohens' latest development for coal or coke fuel. It is a compact self-contained equipment operating in connection with a new-type rotary cooler. He has also recently (1922) brought out a gas-fired, electrically operated 600-pound Victory roaster and a fifty-pound miniature coffee-roasting plant designed for retail stores.

In 1897, the Enterprise Manufacturing Co. of Pennsylvania was the first regularly to employ electric motors for driving commercial coffee mills by means of belt-and-pulley attachments.

In 1898, the Hobart Manufacturing Co., of Troy, Ohio, introduced to the trade another early coffee grinder connected with an electric motor and driven by belt-and-pulley attachment.

In 1900, the first gear-driven electric coffee grinder was put on the market by the Enterprise Manufacturing Co. of Pennsylvania.

In 1902, the Coles Manufacturing Co., (Braun Co., successor) and Henry Troemner, of Philadelphia, began the manufacture and sale of gear-driven electric coffee grinders.

In 1905, the A.J. Deer Co., Buffalo, N.Y., (now at Hornell, N.Y.) began to sell its Royal electric coffee mills direct to dealers on the instalment plan, revolutionizing the former practise of selling coffee mills through hardware jobbers.

In 1905, H.L. Johnston was granted a United States patent on a coffee mill. He assigned the patent to the Hobart Manufacturing Co.

In 1900, Charles Lewis was granted a United States patent on an improved reversible filtration coffee pot known as the Kin-Hee. This pot has since been further improved, and the patent rights sold in several foreign countries. It employs a[Pg 647] filter cloth in place of the metal or china strainer used in the French drip pot.

In 1901, Landers, Frary & Clark's improved Universal percolator was patented in the United States. This pot has proved to be one of the most popular percolators on the American market. This firm brought out the Universal Cafenoira, a double glass filtration device, in 1916. It is covered by design and structural patents issued in 1916 and 1917.

In 1900, the Burns swing-gate sample-roasting outfit was patented in the United States.

In 1901, Robert Burns, of New York, was granted two United States patents on a coffee roaster and cooler.

In 1901, Freidrich Kuchelmeister, Brux, Austria-Hungary, was granted a United States patent on a coffee roaster having a double-walled drum, the inner being of wire gauze, and the outer of solid iron, designed to prevent scorching of the beans.

In 1902, W.M. Still & Sons, London, were granted an English patent on a steam coffee-making machine employing twelve ounces of coffee to the gallon.

In 1902, T.K. Baker, of Minneapolis, was granted two United States patents on a cloth-filter coffee-making device.

In 1903, A.E. Bronson, Jr., assignor to the Bronson-Walton Company, Cleveland, Ohio, was granted a United States patent on a coffee mill.

In 1903, John Arbuckle was granted a United States patent on a coffee-roasting apparatus employing a fan to force the hot fire gases into the roasting cylinder. From this was developed the Jumbo roaster, now used in the Arbuckle plant, which roasts ten thousand pounds an hour.

Electric Coffee-Roasting

In 1903, George C. Lester, of New York, was granted a United States patent on an electric coffee roaster, that is, a machine to roast by electric heat. There were two cylinders, the inner being of wire gauze, and the outer of copper and asbestos. Between the two, four electric heaters were placed.

There was demonstrated in Germany, in 1906, an electric coffee roaster employing a number of resistance coils, consisting of strips of Krupp metal two and one-half mm. thick, five mm. broad, and thirteen and one-half mm. long, wound on porcelain tubes, which transmitted the heat to the air within the roasting cylinder. Analysis showed that coffee electrically roasted contained more substances soluble in water than that roasted by coke, as well as considerably more material soluble in ether. This machine was invented by Captain Carl Moegling about 1900.

One of the First Electric Coffee Mills One of the First Electric Coffee Mills

Another electric-fuel-machine patent was granted in the United States to Robert H. Talbutt, of Baltimore, in 1911. This machine had the electric heater in the center of the roasting cylinder. An electrically heated machine called the Ben Franklin was demonstrated in New York in 1918.

In 1919, Everett T. Shortt, Dallas, Tex., was granted a United States patent on an electrical roaster.

Up to the present writing, no great progress has been made in the United States with the roasting of coffee by electric heat.

The Phoenix Electrical Heating Co. manufactured, and the Uno Company, Ltd., of London, marketed an electrically heated roaster as far back as 1909. The machine was not altogether satisfactory, even to the makers; and the Uno Company is now (1922) experimenting with a new type of electric roaster which it expects will remedy the defects of the early machine. The 1909 roaster was made of two concentric cylinders revolving around a set of fixed heating elements, consisting of a series of spiral[Pg 648] wires held in position on fireproof clay insulators, these wires being assembled, insulated, and brought out through the fixed center to a terminal, or a set of terminals, at one end. In this way, no contact brushes or rings were needed. The machine had a sampling device at one end which threw out a few berries each time it was operated. It was not possible to return these sample berries. Such an arrangement appeared necessary, however, unless one was prepared to have the heating element on the outside of the machine and to pick up the current by means of rings or brushes. When the operator became accustomed to the coffee he was roasting, this was not a matter of great moment, because in England, at least, the average coffee roaster does not require a testing sample until he is about ready to turn out and to cool the roast.

English Electric-Fuel Roaster English Electric-Fuel Roaster
Ben Franklin Electric Coffee Roaster Ben Franklin Electric Coffee Roaster

The Uno machine had a capacity of seven pounds, and the time occupied in roasting was from eight to ten minutes, depending on whether the roaster had been freshly switched on or had been running for a few minutes. The wattage was 5,520. The consumption per hundred-weight was under thirteen units. The makers gave, as the most economical pressure on which to work, 220 to 240 volts. The machine was operated for eighteen months in the show window of a London retail grocer.

In 1921, a United States patent was granted to Mark T. Seymour, Stowe, N.Y., on an electric coffee and peanut roaster, which has the heating element embedded in a cement-lined cylinder that contains a roasting cage.

In 1921, Fred J. Kuhlemeir and Ralph J. Quelle, of Burlington, Ia., were granted a United States patent on a small household coffee roaster electrically equipped, and roasting by electric heat.

Other Machinery Patents

In 1903, Luigi Giacomini, of Florence, Italy, was granted a United States patent on a process for roasting coffee.

In 1905, A.A. Warner, assignor to Landers, Frary & Clark, New Britain, Conn., was granted two United States patents on a coffee mill.

[Pg 649]

In 1906, Ludwig Schmidt, assignor to the Essmueller Mill Furnishing Co., St. Louis, was granted a United States patent on a coffee roaster. This company and the Reuter-Jones Manufacturing Co., also of St. Louis, were making machines similar to the original Burns model. The Reuter-Jones Manufacturing Co., in 1910, brought out a self-contained gas roaster called the St. Louis, Jr. In 1913, at a receiver's sale, A.P. Grohens, of the Lambert Machine Co., acquired all the machinery and patent rights of the Reuter-Jones Manufacturing Company.

In 1904, J.W. Chapman and G.W. Kooman, assignors to Manning, Bowman & Co., Meriden, Conn., were granted a United States patent on a coffee or tea pot. The same year, George E. Savage and G.W. Hope were granted two United States patents on coffee or tea pots, also assigned to Manning, Bowman & Co.

Enterprise Hand Store Mill Enterprise Hand Store Mill

In 1904, Sigmund Sternau, J.P. Steppe, and L. Strassberger, assignors to S. Sternau & Co., New York, were granted a United States patent on a percolator. Six others were granted to Charles Nelson, and assigned to S. Sternau & Co., in 1912 and 1913, for a percolator, the manufacture and sale of which were discontinued in 1915.

In 1905, a celebrated case was decided in Kansas City involving litigation between William E. Baker, of Baker & Co., Minneapolis, and the F.A. Duncombe Manufacturing Co., of St. Joseph, Mo., over Mr. Baker's patent rights in a machine to produce steel-cut coffee. The suit was brought in 1903, and Mr. Baker contended that his patent gave him the exclusive right to the "uniformity of granules by means of the sharply dressed mechanism" and by the use of a fan for blowing away the silver skins, produced by his machine; while the defendant said he obtained the same result (steel-cut coffee) by grading the granules through screens or sieves. The defense was that Mr. Baker's process was not a discovery; because, grinding coffee was as old as the world's knowledge, and winnowing the chaff was equally ancient. The lower court dismissed the bill, because the "patents sued upon are devoid of patentable invention"; and the United States Court of Appeals confirmed the decision.

In 1905, Frederick A. Cauchois, of New York, brought out his Private Estate coffee maker, a clever combination of the French drip and filter processes, employing a thin layer of Japanese paper as a filtering agent. The same year, Finley Acker, of Philadelphia, was granted a United States patent on a percolator employing two cylinders, perforated on the sides, with a sheet of percolator paper placed between them to act as a filtering medium.

In 1906, George Savage and J.W. Chapman, assignors to Manning, Bowman & Co. of Meriden, Conn., were granted a United States patent on a coffee percolator.

In 1906, Alonzo A. Warner, assignor to Landers, Frary & Clark, New Britain, Conn., was granted a United States patent on a coffee percolator.

In 1906, H.D. Kelly, Kansas City, was granted a United States patent on the Kellum Automatic coffee urn, employing a coffee extractor in which ground coffee is continually agitated before percolation by a vacuum process. Sixteen patents followed.

[Pg 650]


[Pg 651]

In 1907, Desiderio Pavoni, of Milan, Italy, was granted a patent in Italy for an improvement on the Bezzara system for preparing and serving coffee as a rapid infusion of a single cup, first introduced in 1903–1904. It is known as the Ideale urn, and makes 150 cups per hour. Among other Italian rapid coffee-making machines which, with this one, have attained considerable prominence in Europe and South America, mention should be made of La Victoria Arduino made by Pier Teresio Arduino, of Turin, Italy, introduced in 1909, that makes 1000 cups per hour. It was patented in the United States in 1920. There are, also, L'Italiana Sovereign Filter Machine (1440 cups per hour) made by Bossi, Vernetti & Bartolini, Turin, (subsequently merged with La Victoria Arduino-Societa Anonima); and José Baro's Express, Buenos Aires, making 600 cups an hour.

Types of Italian Rapid Coffee-Making Machines Types of Italian Rapid Coffee-Making Machines
The Ideale Machine (Center) Makes 150 Cups of Coffee an Hour. The Machine at the Left Makes 1,000 Cups an Hour
A Machine of the Type of the One at the Right will Produce from 1,440 to 1,800 Cups of Coffee an Hour

In 1908, A.E. White, Chicago, was granted a United States patent on a coffee urn. He assigned it to the James Heekin Co., of Cincinnati.

In 1908, I.D. Richheimer, Chicago, introduced his Tricolator to the trade and the consumer. This is an aluminum device to fit any coffee pot, combining French drip and filtration ideas, with Japanese paper as the filtration medium.

In 1908, an improved type of Burns roaster was patented in the United States. The improvement consisted of an open perforated cylinder with flexible back-head and balanced front bearing. The following year, the Burns tilting sample-roaster for gas or electric heating units was patented.

In 1909, Frederick A. Cauchois, of New York, was granted a United States patent on a coffee urn fitted with a centrifugal pump for repouring.

In 1909, C.F. Blanke, of St. Louis, was granted two United States patents on a china coffee pot with a cloth filter, the sides tightly, and the bottom loosely, woven.

In 1911, Edward Aborn, of New York, was granted a United States patent on his Make-Right coffee-filter device. This was later incorporated with improvements in a Tru-Bru coffee pot, on which he was granted another patent in 1920.

In 1912, John E. King, of Detroit, was granted a United States patent on an improved coffee percolator for restaurants, employing a sheet of filter paper on a ring in a metal basket; the ring to be removed once the filter paper was in position on the perforated bottom plate of the percolator basket.

In 1913, F.F. Wear, Los Angeles, perfected a coffee-making device in which a metal perforated clamp was employed to apply a filter paper to the under-side of an English earthenware adaptation of the French drip pot.

In 1912, William Lawton demonstrated in London a gas coffee roaster of his own[Pg 652] invention, by means of which he roasted coffee "in suspension" to a light brown color in three minutes.

Showing How the Italian Rapid Coffee Machine Works Showing How the Italian Rapid Coffee Machine Works
Left, putting coffee in the filter—Center, applying filter to faucet—Right, turning on water and steam to make the drink

Herbert L. Johnston, assignor to the Hobart Electric Manufacturing Co., Troy, Ohio, was granted a United States patent on a machine for refining coffee in 1913.

In 1914, the Phylax coffee maker, embodying an improvement on the French drip principle, was introduced to the trade. The process was demonstrated by Benjamin H. Calkin, of Detroit, in 1921, as "an art of brewing coffee."

La Victoria Arduino Mignonne La Victoria Arduino Mignonne
An electric rapid coffee maker

In 1914, Robert Burns, assignor to Jabez Burns & Sons, New York, was granted a United States patent on a coffee-granulating mill.

In 1914–15, Herbert Galt, of Chicago, was granted three United States patents on the Gait coffee pot, made of aluminum, and having two parts, a removable cylinder employing the French drip principle, and the containing pot.

In 1915, the Burns Jubilee (inner-heated) gas coffee roaster was patented in the United States and put on the market.

In 1915, the National Coffee Roasters Association Home coffee mill, employing an improved set screw operating on a cog-and ratchet principle, was introduced to the trade.

In 1916, a United States patent was granted to I.D. Richheimer, Chicago, for an infuser improvement on his Tricolator.

In 1916, Saul Blickman, assignor to S. Blickman, New York, was granted a United States patent on an apparatus for making and dispensing coffee.

In 1916, Orville W. Chamberlain, New Orleans, was granted a United States patent on an automatic drip coffee pot.

In 1916, Jules Le Page, Darlington, Ind., obtained two United States patents on cutting rolls to cut—and not to grind or crush—corn, wheat, or coffee. These were subsequently incorporated in the Ideal steel-cut coffee mill and marketed to the trade by the B.F. Gump Co., Chicago.

In 1917, Richard A. Greene and William G. Burns, assignors to Jabez Burns [Pg 653]& Sons, New York, were granted patents in the United States on the Burns flexible-arm cooler (for roasted batches) providing full fan-suction to a cooler box at all points in its track travel.

In 1919, Joseph F. Smart, assignor to Landers, Frary & Clark, New Britain, Conn., was granted a United States patent on a percolator.

In 1919, Charles Morgan, assignor to the Arcade Manufacturing Co., Freeport, Ill., was granted a United States patent on an improved grinding mill.

In 1919, Edward F. Schnuck, assignor to Jabez Burns & Sons, New York, was granted a United States patent on an improvement for a gas coffee roaster. In 1920, he was granted a United States patent on an improved process of twice cutting coffee and removing the chaff after each cutting.

In 1920, Natale de Mattei, of Turin, Italy, was granted a United States patent on a rapid coffee-filtering machine.

In 1920, Frederick H. Muller, of Chicago, was granted a United States patent on "an art of making coffee," and on an improved apparatus for hotels and restaurants, which comprised a series of superposed metal containers, or cartridges, of ground coffee placed in a perforated bucket designed to rest in a coffee urn, the cartridges being lifted out as the boiling water poured on them sinks with the drawing off of the "decoction" at the faucet.

The N.C.R.A. Home Coffee Mill The N.C.R.A. Home Coffee Mill
The Manthey-Zorn Rapid Coffee Infuser and Dispenser The Manthey-Zorn Rapid Coffee Infuser and Dispenser

In 1920, Alfredo M. Salazar, of New York, was granted a United States patent on a coffee urn in which the coffee is made at the time of serving by using steam pressure to force the boiling water through ground coffee held in a cloth sack attached to the faucet.

In 1920, William H. Bruning, Evansville, Ind., was granted a United States patent on an improved French drip pot made of aluminum and provided with a vacuum jacket in the dripper section, and a hot-water jacket in the serving portion, to keep the beverage hot.

In 1921, the Manthey-Zorn Laboratories Co., of Cleveland, brought out a rapid coffee-infuser and dispenser employing in the infuser a centrifugal to make an extract in thirty-eight seconds, and designed to deliver a gallon of concentrated liquid, or coffee base, every three minutes. The dispenser automatically combines the coffee base with boiling water in a differential faucet in the proportion desired, usually[Pg 654] one of base to four of water. The dispenser serves 600 cups per hour. An additional faucet may be added which will double the capacity.

The Tricolette, a Paper-Filter Device for a Single Cup
The Tricolette, a Paper-Filter Device for a Single Cup
Above; In position on cup—Below; opened, showing parts

Among foreign coffee makers applying the French drip principle, the Vienna coffee-making machine, known in the United States as the Bohemian coffee pot, has met with much favor in this country. Elsewhere it is known as the Carlsbad. It is made of china, and the European manufacturer has a patent on the porcelain strainer, or grid, which is provided with slits that are very fine on the inner side but that widen on the outer side to permit careful straining and to facilitate cleaning.

Some of the latest developments in coffee apparatus were shown at the industrial exposition at the National Coffee Roasters Association, held in New York, November 1–3, 1921. Among items of distinction not heretofore included in this work, mention should be made of: an American-French coffee biggin, being a French drip pot made of American porcelain and fitted with a muslin strainer; a glass urn-liner, intended to supplant the porcelain liner; and an electric repouring pump, designed to be attached to any type of coffee urn.

Careful research of the records of the United States patent office discloses that the number of patents relating to coffee apparatus and coffee preparations, issued from 1789 to 1921, is as follows:

United States Coffee Patents
Devices Patents
Coffee Mills 185
Coffee-roasting devices, and improvements thereon 312
Coffee-making devices 835
Coffee-cleaning, hulling, drying, polishing, and plantation machinery in general 175
Miscellaneous patents (for coating, glazing, treated coffees, substitutes, etc.) 300
Total 1,807

It must be borne in mind that there was a number of patents granted on machines that were intended for, and used for, coffee, but that did not mention coffee in the specifications. Many coffee driers were listed as "grain driers," for instance. Also, many excellent devices have been made that were never patented.

Coffee Pot

[Pg 655]

Chapter XXXIV: THE EVOLUTION OF COFFEE APPARATUS -- All About Coffee, by William H. Ukers

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