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In 1896, natural gas was first used in the United States as a fuel for roasting coffee.
In 1897, Joseph Lambert, Vermont, first introduced to the coffee trade a self-contained coffee roasting outfit without the brick setting required until then.
In 1897, the Enterprise Manufacturing Company of Pennsylvania was the first regularly to employ an electric motor to drive a coffee mill.
The overproduction of coffee began to be so serious a question by 1898, that J.D. Olavarria, a distinguished Venzuelan, proposed a plan for the restriction of coffee cultivation and the regulation of coffee exports from countries suffering from overproduction. In this same year, the bears forced Rio 7’s down to four and one-half cents on the New York Coffee Exchange.
In 1898, Edward Norton, of New York, was granted a United States patent on a vacuum process for canning foods, subsequently applied to coffee.
Others followed. Hills Brothers, of San Francisco, were the first to pack coffee in a vacuum, under the Norton patents, in 1900. M.J.
Brandenstein & Company, of San Francisco, began to pack coffee in vacuum cans in 1914. Vacuum sealing machines to pack coffee under the Norton patents are now made by the Perfect Vacuum Canning Company of New York.
About 1899, Dr. Sartori Kato of Tokio, who had invented a soluble tea in j.a.pan, came to Chicago and produced a soluble coffee (introduced to the consumer in 1901) on which he was granted a patent in 1903. In 1906, G.
Washington of New York, an American chemist living in Guatemala City, produced a refined soluble coffee which was put on the United States market three years later. The full story of soluble coffee in America is told in chapter x.x.xI. (See page 538.)
The first gear-driven electric coffee mill was introduced to the trade by the Enterprise Manufacturing Company of Pennsylvania in 1900.
In 1901, there appeared in New York the first issue of _The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal_, devoted to the interests of the tea and coffee trades.
In 1900-01, Santos permanently displaced Rio as the world’s largest source of supply.
In 1901, the American Can Company began the manufacture and sale of tin coffee cans in the United States. In this year Landers, Frary & Clark’s Universal coffee percolator was granted a United States patent; and Joseph Lambert, of Marshall, Mich., brought out one of the earliest machines to employ gas as a fuel for the indirect roasting of coffee. It was in 1901, also, that F.T. Holmes joined the Huntley Manufacturing Company, of Silver Creek, N.Y., which began to build the Monitor gas-fired direct-flame coffee roasters.
In 1902, the Coles Manufacturing Company (Braun Company, successor) and Henry Troemner, of Philadelphia, began the manufacture and sale of gear-driven electric coffee grinders.
As a result of the agitation for some way to deal with the overproduction of coffee, the Pan-American Congress, meeting in Mexico City in 1902, called an international coffee congress for New York in the fall of that same year. It met from October 1 to October 30; but at the close, the problem seemed no nearer solution than at the beginning.
In 1906, Brazil produced its record-breaking crop of 20,000,000 bags, and the state of So Paulo inaugurated a plan to valorize coffee.
In 1902, the first fancy duplex paper bag made by machinery from a roll of paper was produced by the Union Bag & Paper Corporation. It was of sulphite fiber inside, and gla.s.sine outside; a style afterward reversed, so as to have the gla.s.sine the inner tube.
In 1902, the Jagenberg Machine Company, Inc. (absorbed by the Pneumatic Scale Corporation in 1921) began the introduction to the trade of the United States of a line of German-made automatic packaging-and-labeling machines for coffee. Subsequently, the Johnson Automatic Sealer Company, Battle Creek, Mich., became well known as manufacturers of a line of automatic adjustable carton-sealing, wax-wrapping machines, package conveyors, and automatic scales. Among other automatic weighers that have figured in the development of the coffee business, mention should be made of The National Packaging Machinery Company’s Scott machine, of E.D. Anderson’s Triumph, and of Hoepner’s Unit System.
In 1903, as a result of overproduction in Brazil, Santos 4’s dropped to three and fifty-five hundredths cents on the New York Coffee Exchange, the lowest price ever recorded for coffee.
In 1903, also, there was granted the first United States patent on an electric coffee-roaster, the patentee being George C. Lester of New York.
In 1904, green coffee prices on the New York Coffee Exchange were forced up to eleven and eighty-five hundredths cents by a speculative clique led by D.J. Sully.
In 1905, the A.J. Deer Co., Buffalo, N. Y. (now of Hornell, N.Y.) began the sale of 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, F.A. Cauchois introduced to the trade his Private Estate coffee maker, a filtration device employing j.a.panese filter paper. Finley Acker, of Philadelphia, obtained a patent the same year on a side-perforation percolator employing “porous or bibulous paper” as a filtering medium.
In 1906, H.D. Kelly, of Kansas City, was granted a United States patent on an urn coffee machine employing a coffee extractor in which the ground coffee was continually agitated before percolation by a vacuum process.
In 1907, P.E. Edtbauer (Mrs. E. Edtbauer), of Chicago, was granted a United States patent on a duplex automatic weighing machine, the first simple, fast, accurate and moderate-priced machine for weighing coffee.
Eight others followed up to 1920.
In 1907, the new Pure Food and Drugs Act came into force in the United States, making it obligatory to label all coffees correctly and causing many trade practises to be altered or thrown into the discard. The most important rulings that followed are referred to in more detail in chapter XXIII, telling how green coffees are bought and sold.
In 1908, the Porto Rico coffee planters, presented a memorial to the Congress asking for a protective tariff of six cents a pound on all foreign coffees. Hawaii and the Philippines, also were to have benefited by the protection asked for. The Congress failed to grant the planters’ prayer. This appeal for protection was repeated in 1921, when the Congress was asked to place a duty of five cents a pound on all foreign coffees.
In 1908, J.C. Prims, of Battle Creek, Mich. was granted a United States patent on a corrugated cylinder improvement for a gas and coal coffee roaster of fifty to one hundred and thirty pounds capacity designed for retail stores. This machine was acquired the year following by the A.J.
Deer Company, and was re-introduced to the trade as the Royal roaster.
In 1908, Brazil’s valorization-of-coffee enterprise was saved from disaster by a combination of bankers and the Brazil Government. A loan of $75,000,000 was placed, through Hermann Sielcken of New York, with banking houses in England, Germany, France, Belgium, and America. The complete story of this undertaking is told in chapter x.x.xI.
In 1909, Ludwig Roselius brought to America from Germany the caffein-free coffee which for several years had been manufactured and sold in Bremen under the Myer, Roselius, and Wimmer patent. In 1910, the product was first sold here by Merck & Company under the name of Dekafa, later Dekofa, and in 1914, by the Kaffee Hag Corporation as Kaffee Hag.
In 1911 all-fiber parchment-lined Dampt.i.te cans for coffee were introduced to the trade by the American Can Company.
As a result of preliminary meetings of Mississippi Valley coffee roasters held in St. Louis in May and June, 1911, when the Coffee Roasters Traffic and Pure Food a.s.sociation was organized, a national a.s.sociation under the same name was started in Chicago, November 16-17, 1911. The complete story of the growth of this most important coffee trade organization in the United States is told in the next chapter.
In 1912, the United States government, after having examined into the valorization enterprise, brought suit against Hermann Sielcken, _et al._, to force the sale of valorized coffee stocks held in this country under the valorization agreement.
In October, 1914, the first national coffee week to advertise coffee was promoted by the National Coffee Roasters a.s.sociation.
_Merchants Coffee House Memorial_
On May 23, 1914, the Lower Wall Street Business Men’s a.s.sociation unveiled a bronze memorial tablet set in the wall of the nine-story office building occupied by the Federal Refining Company on the southeast corner of Wall and Water Streets, the former site of the Merchants’ coffee house. This is the building where _The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal_ had its offices for nine years before moving to 79 Wall Street.
[Ill.u.s.tration: MERCHANTS COFFEE HOUSE TABLET
Bronze marker, placed May 23, 1914, on the building occupying the site of the old coffee house]
Seth Low, introduced by William Bayne, Jr., president of the Lower Wall Street Business Men’s a.s.sociation, gave an interesting sketch of the history of the coffee house. Abram Wakeman, secretary of the a.s.sociation, spoke, followed by Wilberforce Eames, of the American history division of the New York Public Library.
After the flag that veiled the memorial tablet had been drawn aside, attention was called to a bronze chest which was hermetically sealed, and in which had been placed papers and other doc.u.ments reflecting the life of New York today. The chest was given over to the keeping of the New York Historical Society, with the understanding that it was not to be opened until 1974, which will be the two-hundredth anniversary of the union of the Colonies.
It was from the Merchants’ coffee house that the letter of May 23, 1774, was written in reply to the Committee of Correspondence in Boston. The letter suggested a “Congress of Deputies” from the Colonies, and called for a “virtuous and spirited Union.” The coffee house is consequently regarded as the birthplace of the Union.
A second national coffee week was held in October, 1915, under the auspices of the National Coffee Roasters’ a.s.sociation.
In 1916, the Coffee Exchange of the City of New York changed its name to the New York Coffee and Sugar Exchange, to admit of sugar trading.
In 1916, the National Paper Can Company of Milwaukee first introduced to the trade its new hermetically sealed all-paper can for coffee.
In 1916, Jules Le Page, Darlington, Ind., was granted two United States patents on cutting rolls to cut and not grind or crush corn, wheat, or coffee. This idea was incorporated in the Ideal steel cut coffee mill subsequently marketed by the B.F. Gump Company, Chicago.
In 1918, the World War caused the United States government to place coffee importers, brokers, jobbers, roasters, and wholesalers under a war-time licensing system to control imports and prices.
In 1918, John E. King, of Detroit, was granted a United States patent on an irregular grind of coffee consisting of coa.r.s.ely grinding ten percent of the product and finely grinding ninety percent.
The most notable event of the year 1919 was the inauguration by the Brazil planters, in co-operation with an American joint coffee trade publicity committee, of the million-dollar campaign to advertise coffee in the United States.
In 1919, as a result of frost damage, and of an orgy of speculation in Brazil, prices for green coffee on the New York Exchange were forced to the highest levels since 1870; and a new high record was established for futures, twenty-four and sixty-five hundredths cents for July contracts.
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