Coffee Roasting in Wheeling, 1886
— from THE WHEELING DAILY INTELLIGENCER, " Special Natural Gas Edition", September 14, 1886.
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A Business Which Has Assumed Some Importance
Until lately Wheeling did not do much in coffee roasting except in a small way for the local trade. J.W. Hunter, at the Anchor Mustard mill, gradually built up an extensive business, and now has four roasters of large capacity. Joseph Speidel & Co., have also made a considerable feature of this department of their grocery jobbing trade, and their "Ohio Valley" brand of roasted coffee has won an extended fame, though the firm only entered the business last May.
The "Ohio Valley" is put up in a lithographed colored package that has on one side a picture of the Suspension bridge and on the other side one of the firm's big stores. The firm's coffee roasting department is on Fourteenth street between Main and Water streets, and a more complete establishment it would be hard to find. Unlike nearly all the roasting establishments in the country, including the larger concerns, they handle the coffee very little, nearly all the work being done automatically. This was the idea of Mr. John Waterhouse, a member of the firm, he having gotten it from the flouring mills. "Ohio Valley" is composed of Rio, Java and Maracaibo coffee, mixed. The green coffee is turned from the sacks into a large bin in the basement where it is mixed by Thomas Colvin, a roaster who has had years of experience. From this bin the coffee is elevated by means of a bucket charged into a box down which it runs to the hoppers that feed the roasting cylinders, located in the rear of the first floor.
These cylinders, two in number are the latest patent, and have a daily capacity of about 6,000 pounds. They are run by an Otto gas engine of 10-horse power.
Simon Baer's Sons have had an extensive coffee roasting establishment for several years. Their brand is the "Pan Handle." The "Pan Handle" package has a picture of a big bear holding aloft a big pan with which other coffees are being knocked out to the great delight of several small bears. This firm's roasting establishment is at the corner of Main and Sixteenth streets. S.C. Walton is in charge with two assistants and four girls are employed in the packing room. Here also two roasters are used, their capacity being 3,000 pounds a day. The engine is a steam one of 18 horse power and the Baers have been operating at that point for four years, but not puting out a special brand until about two and a-half years ago. "Pan Handle" is a combination of Rio, Java and Laquara. About three weeks ago this firm put a new brand on the market - the "Moss Roso," a fine Moca, done up in two-pound packages, that is rapidly coming into favor.
Both firms sell extensively in Western Maryland, Western Pennsylvania and Eastern and Central Ohio and in this State wherever there is transportation, and the field is constantly growing.