Elevator to espresso (Episode 6)

From [a-] to [-zel], last part (1802-1858):
The «unusuals»

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Here we go, you thought it was finished, that we’ve reached the end of the 180 french patents from the INPI… true that we hit the road from [a-] to [-zel] (Hadrot to Loysel, beginning with Denohe/Henrion/Rouch), allowing us some detours across the borders where precursors to french inventions can be found sometimes. This period was the french coffeemaker golden age, France being one bastion for innovations especially because scientists applied to coffee preparation all the techniques developed for pharmacology, chemistry or physics, scientific domains that were rapidly evolving at the time.

Before leaving the «Made in France» for a while, on the road to the «crema di caffè», I did not want to quit this period without mentioning some unusual inventions, more or less crazy that I found along this french patents review.

The automatics

Cafetière Durant Durant ¹
Coffeemaker from Durant, 1827 (source: « Archives INPI »)

First special mention to Nicolas-Félix DURANT (manufacturer from Châlons-sur-Marne), who in 1827, with his «coffeemaker in which the boiling water rise, by expansion of the steam, from the lower to the upper part, and in which, as soon as the water finished rising, the alcohol lamp that we do not use anymore shuts off suddenly» is the designer of the very first automatic machine (well, kind of).

Cafetière Gandais
Coffeemaker from Gandais, 1827 (source: « Archives INPI »).
Mentioned as being from Germany and fabricated in England, it is cited in the Durant patent.

It is a coffeemaker similar to the one from Laurens (or from Jacques-Augustin GANDAIS who’s 1827 patent is mentioned) but this one doesn’t require intervention after it is started. It is fitted with an internal pipe (for the rising of the boiling water) and a complex auto-extinction system for the alcohol lamp as soon as the water finish boiling. This extinction is caused by some water flowing to a counterweight which release a trigger mounted on a spring, that bring (at the same time) the hot water to fall on the grind coffee and a lid to cover the heating source. The timing of these events can be adjusted by turning a key that is graduated with the corresponding number of cups.

Cafetière Capy Capy ¹
Coffeemaker from Capy, 1827 (source: « Archives INPI »)

This principle is reproduced the same year by Louis-François CAPY, tinsmith lampist who was hosting Durant (271, rue Saint-Denis in Paris) and is the transferee of his patent. He proposed an improvement to the previous patent with simpler coffeemakers, the auto-extinction being triggered by the rising of the lower vessel as it is emptying from its water (again caused by the expansion of steam). The coffeemaker upper part is removable and is used to serve the coffee.

Cafetière Napier

Cafetière Bastien Bastien ¹
Coffeemaker from Bastien, 1842 (source: « Archives INPI »)

The auto-extinction of the lamp was also used in the case of a very popular vacuum coffee pot of horizontal configuration. These models are called «rocking coffeemakers» and have a very distinct design. Their configuration is identical to the one from Napier (an English who apparently made his around 1840… but the clear proofs are missing) or the one from Jean-Claude BASTIEN (a crystal carver who’s patent filled in 1842 presents a coffeemaker made of two globes mounted on a vertical axis to easily take if off from the heating lamp, but that was not a siphon).

Cafetière Gabet Gabet ¹
Coffeemaker from Gabet, 1844 (source: « Archives INPI »)

Instead of being linked by a fixed horizontal axis, the two vessels are mounted on a rocking system, such that as the water transfers from the first to the second vessel with the expansion of steam, the rising of the first vessel is releasing a lid that shuts off the lamp. When it cools down, the coffee infusion goes back to the first vessel (following the vacuum pot principle), that goes back to its initial position, indicating the end of the preparation. This type of coffeemaker is called «Gabet coffeemaker» since Adrien Emile François GABET is the one who invented and popularized it, his patent is from 1844.

Cafetière Gabet

This coffeemaker had a great success and a lot of models can still be found today. Other inventors such as VASSIEUX (1846), FIORINI (1847), PHARANT (1848), SUBRA (1850), PENANT (1851), WATEAU (1851 and 1853), DAUDEVILLE (1852), TURMEL (1853), and ROUSSELLE/DANGLES (1855) with their «nonexplosive enameled tin coffeemaker» proposed similar models. Its principle was also used in peculiar coffeemakers taking the form of steam locomotives (Toselli, Italy, 1861 and Demazy, France, 1887).

Cafetière locomotive

Other coffeemakers that can be classified as automatic (at least in the spirit), are the «apparatus proper to the preparation of coffee» from Antoine-Joseph REYDEMORANDE who proposed in 1842 a complete system that goes from roasting to the infusion of coffee in a cup.

Cafetière Reymorande Reymorande ¹
Coffeemaker from Reymorande, 1842 (source: « Archives INPI »)

The peculiar conceptions

Some coffeemakers have a very special style and can be recognize at first sight. It is the case of the «new coffeemaker» designed by Alexandre LEBRUN in 1838. It is also uncommon by its conception because it is a steam coffeemaker (Caseneuve type) but inverted : the hermetic closure system is reminding a pressure cooker, the coffee is tamped by a filter at the bottom and the water is heated from the sides with flames coming from an alcohol bath surrounding the base. When the water boils, the coffee comes out from a long stylized tube, fitted at the bottom of the coffeemaker.

Cafetière Lebrun Lebrun ¹
Coffeemaker from Lebrun, 1838 (source: « Archives INPI »)

Cafetière Lebrun

This style is so peculiar that one can recognize it straight away in the patent for an improvement completed by Armand GOYOT in 1849 (entitled «improvement for steam coffeemakers»).

Cafetière Goyot
Coffeemaker from Goyot, 1849 (source: « Archives INPI »)

Its design also crossed the Atlantic: it appears in the 1875 US patent from Louis C. LOMER («Improvement in coffee-pots», US172462 patent).³

Cafetière LomerLomer
Coffeemaker from Lomer, 1875 (source: « USPTO »)

From another style, the description from Adolphe DARRU in 1839 is not very precise but its coffeemaker patent title is really interesting: «New locomotive coffeemaker». It could be the very first coffeemaker exhibiting the shape of a locomotive (a design that was used much later) and it had what seems to be an level indicator (thus older than the one from Dausse).

Cafetière Darru Darru ¹
Coffeemaker from Darru, 1838 (source: « Archives INPI »)

Römershaussen proposed back in 1816 to use a air pump and the principle of suction to obtain plants extracts such as concentrate of coffee.

Cafetière Whitehead Whitehead ¹
Coffeemaker from Whitehead, 1840 (source: « Archives INPI »)

The English John WHITEHEAD was the first one in June 1840 to fill a patent in France using this principle applied to a coffeemaker under the title «Apparatus or coffeemaker proper to produce instant infusions of coffee, tea, cinchona, herbs and medicinal powders».

Cafetière Tiesset / Moussiet-Fievre

Tiesset Moussiet-Fievre ¹
Coffeemaker from Tiesset/Moussiet-Fievre, 1840 (source: « Archives INPI »)

Cafetière Tiesset
Coffeemaker from Tiesset, 1841 (source: « Archives INPI »)

It was shortly followed by Auguste Alexandre TIESSET and René-Louis MOUSSIER-FIEVRE who patented their «new filtering process by vacuum and at pressure» in September the same year. This patent was completed by another one (by Tiesset alone this time) in 1841 («Application of a filtering process using vacuum and at atmospheric pressure»).

The pistons (French press)

Cafetière Mayer / Delforge Mayer / Delforge ¹
Coffeemaker from Mayer/Delforge, 1852 (source: « Archives INPI »)

The ancestors of the French press (or piston coffeemaker) can be found in 1852 with Henri-Otto MAYER/ Jacques-Victor DELFORGE («Pressure coffeemaker with instantaneous filtration») and 1854 with Jean-Honoré LAVIGNE (hatter in Paris, «Coffeemaker system»). In both cases, the coffee is contained inside a filter that can be immersed into hot water with the use of a piston, which is not strictly identical the actual French press («Bodum» type). This principle seems very simple but it took a number of years before technology could allow the fabrication of a watertight filter, moreover coming down into a transparent vessel (the danish «Bodum» only appeared in the 1970s).

Cafetière Lavigne Lavigne ¹
Coffeemaker from Lavigne, 1854 (source: « Archives INPI »)

The technical improvements

Apart from the great technological advancements in the coffeemakers principle itself, there are few findings that are important to note.

Cafetière Doublet / Rouen Doublet / Rouen ¹
Coffeemaker from Doublet/Rouen, 1833 (source: « Archives INPI »)

It is the case of the «sophisticated coffeemaker» proposed in 1833 by Edouard DOUBLET and Pierre-Isidore ROUEN which is the first one to exhibit a safety valve, an addition that will be very useful for all the coffeemakers using steam pressure, considering the metal and soldering quality there were not that good. Its coffeemaker is functioning on the principle invented by Rabaut but with a simpler and safer conception: in addition to the safety valve, the filter is maintained by a spring pushing on the grind coffee. The water is rising between two nested «tumblers» and goes through the powder to produce coffee. It is mentioned that these innovations allows the use of a finer grind, improving the quality of the drink produced.

Cafetière Dausse Dausse ¹
Dausse coffeemaker, 1843 (source: « Archives INPI »)

The «kind of coffeemaker» from Joseph-Barthelémy-André-Amans DAUSSE is also worth to mention. Not necessarily for his drawing skills but because it is a renown pharmacist (we’re thus going full circle with Henrion and Descroizilles from the start) and that in 1843, he is the first one to focus his patent on a level indicator. Its coffeemaker is of the Dubelloy type and his «meter-float» is indicating the quantity of coffee remaining in the pot. His invention was advertized in the papers but also presented to the Arts-and-Crafts (Bulletin de la Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale, 1844. N° 475-486, p. 231) and reported in the Polytechnisches Journal (Band 94, Nr. XXXV. (S. 192–194), 1844).

Publicité DausseDausse coffeemaker, 1844 (source: «Polytechnisches Journal»)

Publicité Dausse

trkPublicité Dausse

Publicité DausseLa Presse, January 12th and February 14th 1844 / 1845 (source: « Gallica »)

dfvakeb.jpgPortrait from Amans Dausse. †

Born in Rodez in 1799, Amans Dausse came to Paris as a pharmacist in 1826 and soon manage the largest pharmaceutic laboratory of France. He had a true passion for coffee, apart from his patent and different coffeemakers models he also obtained a patent for a roaster in 1846 (the «Coffee roaster called counterbalance roaster (pondétorréfacteur)») and published the same year a very interesting small book called «The coffee amateur manual» («Manuel de l’amateur du café»).†

The nuts

L'amateur de café (Daumier)
Cartoon from Honoré Daumier, Monomanes series published in Le charivari, 1841. ²

To conclude, some eccentric inventions…

Cafetière Jossi Jossi ¹
Coffeemaker from Jossi, 1835 (source: « Archives INPI »)

In 1835, Philippe-Antoine-Barthélemy JOSSI report in his «new coffeemaker» patent a very complex system for the water heating: the «Calefactor with double caloric action through inside airstream». This device, used in the upper part of the coffeemaker, was apparently invented by some Dr Quenot. It is in fact a DuBelloy where the water is heated by flames surrounding a vessel with a form of a Kouglof mold (the said calefactor). When the water is hot enough it is sent on the coffee powder though a pipe fitted with a tap. Another vessel can be placed above to heat the milk at the same time. It’s not sure all that was secure or ever a success.

Cafetière Wateau Wateau ¹
Coffeemaker from Wateau, 1853 (source: « Archives INPI »)

Finally, Jules WATEAU who’s invention was so off the wall that it was the subject of an article in «Le Journal pour rire» («The journal for laugh»). Grand-grandnephew of the painter Joseph-Antoine Watteau (he then lost a «t» in his family tree), he offered in 1853 the «application of music boxes, ring tones, alarm clocks, ring bells, to coffeemakers proper to make coffee or tea on the table, called alcohol coffeemakers». For his invention, he uses a “rocking coffeemaker”, real emblem of the middle of this century, and adds to it an automate that is coupled with the lamp auto-extinguisher.

Cafetière à Musique
Le Journal pour Rire, April 21st 1855 (source: « Gallica »)

The light shuts off, the music starts. The coffeemakers, themselves, were not about to fade out…

To be continued…


¹ Source: « Archives INPI », with their kind authorization.
² One can read at the bottom : «The coffee amateur – The haff-cup easily becomes a second nature; we find many people who, as the amateur above, made it an unalterable rule to take a coffee, in order to ease the digestion, even when their revenues does not allow them to eat. It is admitted that life would be too much bitter without chicory.»
³ Thank you to Lucio Del Piccolo who sent me, among hundreds of others, this patent. He his, by the way the happy owner of a Lebrun coffeemaker and published some pictures of a Goyot coffeemaker on his blog (in Italian).
† Thanks to Rémy Bellenger who contacted me about his grand-grand=grand-father (Amans Dausse), to whom he dedicated a website (www.bellenger.fr/Dausse/) containing different archives. In particular, it is possible to find there the «Manuel de l’amateur du café», with reproductions of patents and coffeemaker from Dausse, and some documents about the laboratories he established.


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