Your Sprudge.com editorial staff isn't shy about the people and products we love. And there surely is no shortage of praise to give to the new, the avant, the cutting edge trends pushing international coffee culture forward on a daily basis. But we'll take a moment today to shout out one of the giants of the past, a man whose work quite literally altered the course of coffee drinking all around the world, from Khruschev to James Bond, from MOMA to Zoka.
Dr. Peter Schlumbohm invented the Chemex in 1941, and the game was forever changed. Enshrined at the Museum of Modern Art, put to damn good use at the finest coffee houses around the world, and certainly at its best adorned with a classic leather tassel, the Chemex is one hell of a piece of coffee ephemera. And as if that weren't enough, it turns out that Dr. Peter Schlumbohm was a really fucking cool guy.
He lived a classic mid-20th century bon vivant lifestyle. He invented multiple portable champagne cooling devices. He affixed a gilded gold Chemex to the side of his Coupe De Ville. He had an enormous penthouse apartment overlooking Greenwich Village, before people even really knew how cool Greenwich Village was. He loved to drink, eat, and flirt with the ladies. Most of his inventions were flops, but he struck it big with the Chemex, fusing Bauhaus simplicity with wartime ration necessity to perfect a beautifully simple, eminently marketable design aesthetic. It's the American dream in glass and leather, realized by a man who embodied the most profoundly American commodity of all: immigrant ingenuity.
Dr. Peter Schlumbum, you were really, really cool. You seriously knew how to have a good time, and we would have gladly drank chilled German beer with you, restaurant hopped around Manhattan with you, and hung out with you until 3 in the morning. We still love your Chemex, and we always will. Thanks.
This post was inspired by Tejal Rao's fascinating article over at Gourmet.com – it's a great read.
For more on Dr. S. you can always visit your local digital library.