The millions of Americans who for nearly a century and a half have enjoyed well-brewed coffee can direct their gratitude to James H. Nason of Franklin, Massachusetts.
He received the nation’s first patent for a coffee percolator on December 26, 1865. Now, not only does just about every home in the U.S. have a coffeemaker, but many also grind their own fresh from coffee beans.
The percolator still has a market niche, but since the 1970s has been overtaken by automatic drip coffee makers, and increasingly, the elaborate variants of espresso brewers.
One-point-five million metric tons of coffee and its extracts and preparations are imported annually.
The vast majority of that is unroasted coffee, and its import value runs around a half-billion dollars a month.
- Kane’s Famous First Facts, 3850
- Patent info: http://www.google.com/patents/US51741
- Quantity of coffee imports: http://www.ers.usda.gov/datafiles/US_Food_Imports/__Value_of_US_food_imports_detailed_tables_by_food_group/Coffeet2_1_.xlsx
- Value of coffee imports: http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/current_press_release/exh8.pdf.