Chemex Coffee Brewer

chemexes, chemex
chemexes, chemex coffee brewers

A glass filter drip coffee brewer with an extended brew time. For more information on Chemex brewers, check out our articles in the Library

The Chemex coffeemaker consists of an hourglass-shaped glass flask with a conical funnel-like neck and proprietary filters. The most visually distinctive feature of the Chemex is the heatproof wooden collar around the neck, which allows it to be easily handled and poured when full of hot coffee. The collar is turned and then split in two to allow it to fit around the glass neck. The two pieces are held loosely in place by a tied leather thong. For a design piece that became popular post-war at a time of Modernism and precision manufacture, this juxtaposition of natural wood and the organic nature of a hand-tied knot with the laboratory nature of glassware was a distinctive feature of its appearance

It was invented by Peter Schlumbohm in 1941. He was a German-born inventor influenced by minimalism and bauhaus style. But his main interest was refrigeration.  Between his first American trip in 1931 and the filing of the U.S. patent for Chemex, Schlumbohm applied for dozens of patents: Patents included applications for a ‘method of illuminating rooms’, ‘unburnable gasoline’, a ‘writing utensil’, and a ‘show window’ among many others, most of which are assumed to have been produced for sale. The actual invention of the brewer, patent No. 2,241,368 for a ‘Filtering Device’ , was a peripheral invention to finance his other ambitions in refrigeration.

Chemex became iconic and is spotted in films: In the 1959 film “Pillow Talk” starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson, Jan Morrow (Doris Day) is in her kitchen pouring coffee from a Chemex Coffeemaker, which sits prominently on her stovetop. Ian Fleming’s James Bond always had very strong coffee brewed in an American Chemex (From Russia With Love).

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