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decided: May 27, 1887.



Author: Blatchford

[ 122 U.S. Page 413]

 MR. JUSTICE BLATCHFORD delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a suit in equity, brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Indiana, by the New Process Fermentation Company, an Illinois corporation, against Magdalena Maus, Albert C. Maus, Casper J. Maus, Frank A. Maus, and Mathias A. Maus, for the infringement of letters-patent No. 215,679, granted May 20, 1879, to George Bartholomae, as assignee of Leonard Meller and Edmund Hofmann, as inventors, for an "improvement in processes for making beer," subject to the limitation prescribed by ยง 4887 of the Revised Statutes, by reason of the invention's having been patented in

[ 122 U.S. Page 414]

     France, November, 30, 1876, and in Belgium, February 28, 1877. The specification and drawing and claims of the patent are as follows:

"To all whom it may concern:

"Be it known that we, Leonard Meller of Ludwigshafenon-the-Rhine, in the state of Bavaria, and Edmund Hofmann, of Mannheim, in the state of Baden, Germany, have invented certain new and useful improvements in the art of making beer, we hereby declare the following to ba a full, clear, and exact description thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, making a part of this specification, in which the figure represents an end view of our apparatus, with the water column in section.

"Heretofore, in brewing beer, after cooking and calling, the beer has been put into open vessels to ferment. The fermentation lasts, say fifteen days, and then the beer is drawn off from the yeast into large casks nearly closed, where it remains from one to six months to settle, and among the sediment there will still remain some yeast. The beer is then pumped into shavings casks and is mixed with young beer, (kraeusen,) which starts a mild fermentation, lasting from ten to fifteen days, until the generation of the gas is reduced to a minimum. During this fermentation the beer effervesces through means of the carbonic acid gas rising, and the lighter particles of yeast and solid matter are thrown to the top, forming a foam, which, during the ebullition, runs over the edges of the opening in the cask, and carrying along a small portion (more or less) of the beer, which is wasted, and this waste has to be replaced by refilling with new beer daily. This wastage we estimate, from practical experience in the manufacture, to be about one barrel in every forty, more or less. This waste beer, running down around the casks and on the floor of the cellars, sours and produces a mildew, which impregnates the air with foul vapors highly injurious to the workmen, and, permeating the beer in the casks, alters its flavor and, in instances where the mildew penetrates the wood of the casks, spoils the beer entirely. This fouling of the barrels requires that they should be washed outside, from time to

[ 122 U.S. Page 416]

     time, and the water used in this washing always raises the temperature of the cellar, and wastes the ice which is therein packed to keep the temperature about 41 degrees Fahrenheit. After the beer has been in the shavings cask from ten to fifteen days, the gelatine or other clarifying medium is introduced, and at the end of a couple of days the beer is entirely clear. The shavings cask is then bunged up tightly for from three to five days, to confine the last portions of the rising carbonic acid gas. This charges the beer with carbonic acid gas (CO[2]), so as to make it merchantable, and it must be drawn off at once into kegs and used, otherwise the pressure on the shavings cask may burst it.


"In selecting the time for drawing off the beer from the shavings casks into the kegs, to send it to market the beer should never be under a pressure of over seven pounds to the square inch, otherwise the keg fills with foam in the drawing off, and the bubbles subsiding leaves an air-space over the liquid beer, which absorbs a portion of the carbonic acid gas ans soon leaves the beer in the keg flat. As the art is now practised, arriving at the proper degree of pressure when to put the beer in kegs is merely a matter of judgment or guess by the foreman, and no two shavings casks will be drawn off at precisely the same pressure, and the effervescing qualities of the beer will vary considerable, much to the detriment of sales by the brewer. If the beer is not put in market at once at this stage, the bungs have to be removed from the casks and the gas allowed to escape. Then the escaping gas stirs up the yeast and impurities that have settled to the bottom, and the beer has to go again through the entire shavings-cask step in the process.

"Under the processes now in use, it requires about twenty days to put beer on the market after it is pumped into the shavings casks. This delay requires brewers to keep a large amount of capital invested during the time in unfinished beer, and it is highly important to decrease this time of preparation.

"The essential features of our invention have been patented in foreign countries as follows: France, to Leo. Meller & Co., filed September 28, 1876, allowed and countersigned, Paris,

[ 122 U.S. Page 417]

     November 30, 1876, No. 114,737; Belgium, to Leo. Meller & Co., filed February 14, 1877, allowed and countersigned, Bruxelles, February 28, 1877, No. 41,517.

"The object of our invention is to overcome the difficulties above named, and also to produce in a shorter time a better quality of beer, containing more sugar and less alcohol.

"Our invention consists in treating the beer when in the shavings-cask step of the process, in one or more closed casks, under automatically controllable carbonic acid gas pressure, generated either by the mild fermentation of the beer or artificially. This equalizes the pressure in such cask or series of casks, and the effervescing quality of the beer in all the casks, when two or more are connected together, is uniform.

"The cask or casks being closed, none of the beer wastes by running over, and the foul smells and washing of the casks and cellars are avoided. The escaping carbonic acid gas is conducted from the relief-valve to the open air, and does not settle in the brewing cellars, to endanger life.

"Our invention consists, further, in similarly treating the beer when in the 'kraeusen' stage, or subsequently thereto, or both, or when in the settling-casks, ('run-beer',) this being the second fermenting stage -- that is to say, our invention consists in so treating the beer at any time or times previous to racking off and bunging or bottling.

"In order that those skilled in the art may make and use our invention, we will proceed to describe the manner in which we have carried it out.

"In the drawings A A are shavings casks, having faucets, a a, provided with valves i i, inserted tightly in their bungs. These faucets are connected to taps N on the main pipe a', by means of flexible sections k, provided with couplings. The taps or connections have valves i' i'. Pipe a' bends upward and passes above the level of a water column, C, and them, passing downward, enters the base of the column at x, where it is provided with a cock, b'. The water column or vessel C has a faucet, d, to draw off water, when desired to decrease the pressure. A depending branch-pipe, e, and cock, e1, serve to

[ 122 U.S. Page 418]

     discharge any condensed moisture from pipe a, and a pressure gauge, e2, services to indicate the pressure.

"By means of a gas-generator, located at h and connected to pipe a by means of pipe f, having cock g, we are enabled to test the joints of the apparatus and drive all atmospheric air from the pipes when the operation begins.

"At the top of the water column is a conical cap terminating in a pipe, E, which is projected out of the building and leads all the gas into the open air. Located within this cap is a conical disphragm, C', centrally located, so that, should the escape of the gas become so rapid as to lift the body of water upward, the water will be arrested by the diaphragm, while the gas escapes around its edges.

"It is evident that the pressure in all the shavings casks connected with pipe a' will be equal, and will be kept so indefinitely by means of the water column, and, as far as the enlivening of the beer is concerned, it is always ready for market, be it ten days or four months, whereas in processes now ...

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