New Process Fermentation Co. v. Maus
122 U.S. 413 (1887)

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U.S. Supreme Court

New Process Fermentation Co. v. Maus, 122 U.S. 413 (1887)

New Process Fermentation Company v. Maus

Argued May 9-10, 1887

Decided May 27, 1887

122 U.S. 413




Claim 3 of letters patent No. 215,679, granted to George Bartholomae, as assignee of Leonard Meller and Edmund Hofmann, as inventors, May 20, 1819, for an "improvement in processes for making beer," namely,

"3. The process of preparing and preserving beer for the market, which consists in holding it under controllable pressure of carbonic acid gas from the beginning of the kraeusen stage until such time as it is transferred to kegs and bunged, substantially as described,"

is a valid claim to the process it purports to cover.

The state of the art of brewing beer, so far as it concerns the invention of the patentees, explained.

In equity. Decree dismissing the bill. The plaintiff appealed.

The case is stated in the opinion of the court.

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 § 4887 of the Revised Statutes, by reason of the inventions having been patented in

Page 122 U. S. 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 Ludwigshafen-on-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, and we hereby declare the following to be 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 cooling, the beer had 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 "

Page 122 U. S. 415


Page 122 U. S. 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

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