Sunday, September 9, 2012

N.Y. Hop Extract Works

New York hop extract works was once important enterprise.

From the Waterville Times October 8, 1936. 

Industry established in 1875 flourished for several years.
Decline of hop industry in-state resulted in suspension of manufacture of extract.
Building has been demolished.

In 1875 a new enterprise was established in the village of Waterville  which was to prove of great interest and benefit to Brewers throughout the entire union and to hop growers, especially in this immediate vicinity. This new industry was known as “hop extract.”
During the first year the works were not completed and it was not definitely ascertained what the results of the experiment would be. However, the numerous orders received for the extract, combined with the "lots of testimonials "which poured into the office from brewers, who had tested its qualities, evidenced the fact that there was a future for the industry and steps were taken to increase the facilities for manufacturing on the scale proportionate to the demand.
The first manufacturing plant of the hop extract company was composed of several framed buildings surrounded by a high board fence and located on the site where the home of Oscar Maine now stands on Mill Street.
By 1879 the factory was too small for the trade a larger quarters when needed.  A large brick building was erected on Mill Street, about a half-mile from the business center of the village, on the Waterville-Deansboro highway about the year 1882.
In the winter of 1875 the works were thoroughly overhauled and renovated, and the capacity for manufacturing increased more than three – fourths.
At the time that the works were erected but one tank or "extractor "was placed in position. This extractor had a capacity for handling about six bales of hops per day: but the demand for the extract increasing beyond all expectations, J.R. Whting, the manufacturer, decided to place in position two new extractors of much larger dimensions, with sufficient capacity for running 20 bales in from 10 to 15 hours, with the extract appeared ready for shipment. The equivalent of a bale of hops was reduced to one – 20th it’s bulk and one – 10th  its weight and securely packed into in tin cans,.
The process of extracting the hops was carried on entirely in the building. Hops which were not pressed were preferred. They were placed in large steel tanks, which worked here – tight, located on the second floor of the establishment. Other tanks  below were then partly filled with hydrocarbon, manufactured in New York expressly for the extracting process.  Water was next forced in the lower tank by means of a large steam pump, forcing the carbon up into the tanks above, which were connected with those below by means of numerous airtight iron pipes from 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Steam was then applied in such a manner that when a pressure of 130 pounds to the square inch was obtained, the best part of the hop, and in fact all of the hop except the woody substance, passed off and was run into a tank supply with what machinists  termed a “worm“ where it was distilled and drawn off ready for shipping.
The extract thus obtained preserved all the valuable properties of the hop. At that time the state assayer of Massachusetts remarked upon its analysis, “It is the hop without the leaves; the meat without the bone; the wheat without the chaff. “
The extract was always of the same color, the same strength in the same consistency, about that of tar. It contained none of the deleterious or objectionable substances which brewers were apt to obtain from the hop when used in its natural state. The extract never changed with age and thus brewers were unable to secure fresh hops at all seasons of the year. A greater benefit was derived from the same quantity of hops, as more virtue was extracted by this process then could possibly be obtained in any other manner as yet discovered.
The plant operated in all for about 16 years, at times running day and night, about 30 men being employed for all operations. The process of extracting was carried on in the second building in the same manner as in the original, but instead of two extractors eight tanks were in operation. Patrick J Ryan of this village, who was connected with the company for many years, explained that all operations were carried on in the plant. Three tinsmiths were employed to manufacture the tin cans in which the extract was packed for sale.
During the years when the hop yields were low large quantities of the extract were used by brewers, who, however preferred hops in their natural state unless a short crop caused prices of hops to rise higher than they saw fit to pay. The valuable discovery of obtaining the hop extract was controlled by a stock company with 3000 shares at $100 each.  Messrs. Chas. Green & Sons of Waterville purchased 1000 shares, the securing a third interest in the enterprise. The remaining shares were held by New York capitalists, among whom were Hon. H. M. Ruggles, president of the company; E. M. Wight, Sec.; Hon. Salem H Wales, a gentleman of great wealth and then president of the Department of Public Docks; Prof. Charles A. Sealy and J. Whiting.   W. A. Lawrence of New York was associated with Mr. Whiting as superintendent.
Mr. Whiting was lessee of the sole right to manufacture the extract both in this country and abroad. He manipulated the entire business, paying the stockholders a royalty on every pound of manufactured.  In 1875 he had but one other manufactory in operation, which was located at Hunters Point, L. I.  That plant was later abandoned as Mr. Whiting wished to concentrate his business and do the manufacturing where he could avail himself of the opportunities afforded in Waterville of securing choice, fresh hops and saving the heavy expense of freight, caused by being located so far from the great hop growing districts of the continent. The New York hop extract works also made surveys of the industry in the east, having a record of each individual hop grower together with the number of acres in his yard. In the year 1890 they also made a record of the number of bales raised.
With the decline of a hop industry in New York State the manufacturer of the hop extract also declined and the only business carried on with the sale and shipment of stock on hand. When prohibition came into effect the sale of the extract is reported to have increased and in time the supply of extract was exhausted.
During the summer of 1935 the work of razing the building was started and today all that remains of the one – time important industry is a huge pile of bricks and the remains of the enormous tanks which ones played important parts in the operation of manufacturing hop extract.  – M.W.  (Westcott.)

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