Emil Clemens Horst, at one time, owned the largest number of acres of hops under cultivation in the world. Hops are an essential element in the production of beer. The cultivation of hops requires a special environment. Production is usually limited to rich flood plains adjacent to rivers. One of Horst’s oldest and most productive hop ranches was the site of Campus Commons in Sacramento along the American River.
Horst revolutionized the process of growing and processing hops with his patented mechanical separator that harvested the hops while discarding the vine and leaves. The process was actually developed by his son-in-law. This film, which was produced between 1900 and 1910, depicts the processing of hops and their shipment to market. The 35mm nitrate film was housed in a Thomas A. Edison film can that initially suggests that this may be one of the earliest commercial films in California. Careful examination has revealed that the film is a reversal copy and that there are three distinct sections to the film. The first part is the hop separator in operation on the “Campus Commons” ranch. The second section is scenes in hop fields at Hopland, California or in Oregon. The third section is on the weighing and transportation of bales of hops by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company probably near Portland, Oregon.
During the restoration of this film, technicians speculated that Harold J. McCurry may have filmed parts of this film as early as 1908. The Weister Motion Picture Mfg. Co. of Portland, Oregon may have done its editing and assembly. Research at the Oregon Historical Society suggests that Weister was only in business in 1911-1912.
Information and video provided by the Center for Sacramento History, and thanks to Jay Brooks for showing me this film exists.