Coffee Machines Through Time

Coffee lovers of today would laugh at the old-fashioned way of making coffee. 19th century coffee lovers would simply throw a handful of coffee into a saucepan of hot water and boil it until the right aroma wafted past their nostrils.

Today, purists can choose between drip-brewed and vacuum brewed coffee. The drip-brewed coffee maker originated in France and uses a pot with two compartments, rather like a fat hourglass. Water in the top chamber drips through to coffee in the bottom section. This design was varied when the 'pumping percolator' was invented; boiling water in the bottom section was forced through a tube into the top section, which held the coffee grains

Vacuum brewers were somewhat similar, but relied on vacuum to move the water. To obtain this vacuum, the heat source was snuffed out automatically. Percolators were a step forward and became more popular with the advent of electricity, which simplified their operation. Once safe fuses and elements became the norm, coffee makers became a great deal more popular.

In the 1950's a coffee machine made by industrial chemist Peter Schlumbohm just about took over the market, partly due to the scientific jargon used for marketing and partly due to the fact that it was a good machine. It contained only one section made of Perspex which held a filter cone.

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