Enduring Innovations: The History of the Chemex

Images: Chemex

Images: Chemex

It seems like the last few years have seen the introduction of the Chemex in coffee culture, popping up on counters in hip cafes the world over. In reality, this pour-over device, eye-catching in its simplicity and modern form, was introduced to the public long ago in the 1940s, the work of scientist and inventor Dr. Peter Schlumbohm. chemex1 Schlumbohm utilized the  filtered pour-over method developed by the Melitta company and incorporated it into a sleek, blown-glass beaker, resulting in an enduring design of form and function. Though this type of product fell out of favor in the 60s, cast aside in favor of new automated devices like the microwave and the electric coffeemaker, it seems the cycle has come back around as we once again embrace the simple pleasure and hands-on satisfaction of making a pot of coffee the good, old-fashioned way.

For more on the history of the Chemex and its inventor, check out this in-depth piece from Collectors Weekly.

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