Melitta coffee filters: an invention of the coffee we love
Innovation is, without a doubt, the lifeblood of entrepreneurial initiatives and new business development. Inventors can be defined as revolutionaries who drive the economy by design or by accident with new ideas that promote competition and create markets..
The story of Melitta bentz (1873-1950) is a classic example of a 35-year-old housewife turned small businesswoman who invented a revolution in the coffee filter in her small German kitchen. Something more fascinating about Melitta and her husband Hugo is that they recognized the importance of filing patents as the first inventors to present their original and later inventions. This was a very smart move that protected their innovations from competitors and provided them with a safety net for new business development. As the world has become more interconnected globally, inventors around the world are learning to watch out for competition, file patents early, and not lose valuable patent rights as a result of late applications.
Melitta Bentz Company started with a strong patent foundation to be comprised of long-term business, commercial and industrial endeavors beneficial to millions of people around the world. Another way to look at the story of Melitta Bentz and her coffee filter is to remember the old adage that goes “...necessity is the mother of invention and the father of entrepreneurship… “Nothing better captures the story of Melitta Benz and her invention of the coffee filter. Visualize this: a normal housewife experimenting in her own kitchen with some way to filter coffee to make her cup taste better. Goal There are no attempts to change the world, just a better drink!
Melitta’s Eureka moment did not come in a flash of inspiration, but was the result of frustration with dirty, unfiltered coffee makers or washing soiled filters made with cloth materials that didn’t perform very well with filtration.. Melitta stumbled upon using school blotting paper to filter the liquid and remove the grounds from her coffee. He cut the blotting paper into a circle and found that it fit well with the metal mug for his purposes. Initially, his invention was simple: place a piece of paper on the perforated bottom of a brass pot to make a cleaner cup of coffee. The paper filter was disposable, reducing the amount of work you had to do. No more dirty and stained coffee cloth filter runoffs, and a more hygienic system that was attractive from a health awareness standpoint. Over time, Melitta refined the shape of her filter and filed a patent for her two-part coffee filter system consisting of a filter and filter paper on June 20, 1908.
Several months later, Melitta Bentz and her husband officially launched the Melitta Bentz Company. The company started with a shoelace budget. However, like most committed inventors, all members of the Bentz family were committed to doing their part to achieve success. The children developed a neighborhood delivery route for the coffee filters. This helped drive word-of-mouth advertising, leading to more marketing and distribution opportunities for coffee paper filters. In 1925 filter packaging was introduced in the familiar red and green colors and the Melitta brand began to become a household word. Melitta Bentz Company continued to advance technologically and filed additional patents for Filtertuten® (filter bags) to fit the new cone-shaped device bag in 1937.
The original filter shape changed to cone shape with the triangular pleated paper filter design and tapers at the bottom that we know today.. The significance of this change is that the ideal shape for coffee filtering was finally achieved. The paper used for the filter was replaced by a more porous type of paper. The paper filter cone went from a ceramic and porcelain version to a plastic filter cone that was durable and inexpensive. In 1989, Melitta introduced Natural Brown filter paper. The pulp is not bleached, which prevents unwanted by-products from damaging the environment.
Fears about toxic bleaches applied in papermaking led The Melitta Bentz Company to switch to dioxin-free oxygenated paper bleach in 1992. It was then that oxygen bleached paper was born. In 1997 Melitta introduced a new generation of filter paper called Flavor Pores. These filters have microfine perforations that filter out unwanted particles and oils while enhancing taste and aroma. In 2002, Melitta introduced a double crimp technology adding strength and increasing filter durability by adding a second safety crimp. In 2007, bamboo filters in sizes 2 and 4 hit the shelves. They are made with 60% bamboo, which is a naturally renewable resource. Also in 2007, Melitta launched new patented flavor-enhancing micro-perforations. The company operates under the name Melitta Group in Minden, Germany, which has almost 50 companies with more than 3,000 employees worldwide.
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