Syrup Gauges

Once the valves controlling the carbonated water and syrup lines were opened, a Hutchinson bottle was placed upright on the table directly under the Hutchinson filling head.  The foot treadle was then depressed, lowering the head down until the cylinder packing sealed tightly against the mouth of the bottle.  The bottler then pushed the arm on the syrup gauge back allowing syrup to pour into the body of the gauge.  Half pint Hutchinson bottles typically received 1.0 to 1.5 ounces of syrup each.  The illustrated plain syrup gauge was offered in the 1889 W. H. Hutchinson & Son Manufacturers and Dealers in Bottlers Supplies catalog: 

The W. H. Hutchinson and Son 1908 Bottler’s Book listed the following “Hutchinson’s Solid Plunger 2 Oz. Syrup Gauge…set to any fractional part of an ounce up to 2 ounces by merely turning lock nut on the barrel.”  A syrup cock is attached to this example.  This two ounce gauge sold for $20; a four ounce model was $25.

When the arm on the syrup gauge was pulled forward, a valve automatically opened causing a rush of carbonated water to wash the syrup and carbonated water thru the filling head and into the bottle.  If the table didn’t have an optional automatic snifting valve, the head assembly had to be raised two or three times in order for the trapped air to escape, allowing more soda to flow until the bottle was properly filled.  Snifting was a highly important step in the bottling process.  The 1910 W. H. Hutchinson and Son Bottlers’ Supplies catalog emphasized:

Probably the most important item in the process is the snifting.  In this operation the atmospheric air in the bottles is driven out and replaced by the carbonic acid gas.  If done too hastily there is danger of loss of gas and the product resulting will not be under high enough pressure.  If not snifted sufficiently, air will remain in the bottles, depreciating the sparkling appearance so much desired and rendering fermentation possible, and in fact probable.

Another carbonic acid gas saving invention perfected during the latter years of the Hutchinson era was the injector or force pump.  This powerful, belt driven pump enabled the bottler to replenish the water in the generator’s cylinder when gas remained within.

The foot snifting process was another standard bottling procedure impacted by introduction of the crown cork system.  The 1917 W. H. Hutchinson & Son Catalog and Price List cautioned:

When using the old Hutchinson Stopper, now out of date, it was the custom to snift with the foot, a practice which enabled the bottler to fill Hutchinson bottles at greater speed, but which is wasteful of gas and carbonated water.  Many bottlers thus acquired the habit of foot snifting, and continue to use it on foot power soda filling and capping machines under the impression that it is the faster method.  This is a mistake; it is not the proper way to bottle when using the crown or cap system.  With a little practice any competent bottler will attain greater speed by using the hand snifting lever, with less loss of gas and water, and retain greater pressure in the bottle than when snifting with the foot.