Sunday, September 18, 2011

Boonton Insta-Brewer Boontonware Coffee Pot Mystery and Mayhem Berkay Industries

Photo Credit: Worthpoint via Ebay.
For once, I am melmac mystified and melamine tongue tied. This is a strange little mystery and addition to the Boonton Molding Company file!  I received some correspondence from Richard Douglass, who is a coffee pot collector. He was wondering why Boonton Molding Company of Boonton, NJ had ties to the Insta-Brewer Coffee Pots. Now you may see old models associated with a "Berkay Industries of New York" or hear them referred to as "Corningware Glass Coffee Pots."  Oddly, all of this is somehow true.  In fact, the coffee pot was made famous in the Ipcress File, a movie featuring Michael Caine. Thanks to Richard Douglass, I have learned a lot on this strange mystery.

Old Add, Circa 1964 "Berkay Industries NY" courtesy of Miss Pack Ratz.
That is what the pot looks like, but to see an actual one, you can ZOOM the photos of one with paperwork housed on Worthpoint by clicking here.  This looks like a French Press coffee pot, whose glassware is made from Corning.   Richard has two models of this with paperwork. 

Note the lack of references to Boonton:

1964 - Ad for InstaBrewer in Esqure Magazine vol 61 (like the one above) indicates, "All must agree that the Insta Brewer makes the best cup of coffee you ever tasted, faster than you ever thought possible, or yet your money back ! , Berkay Industries, Inc., Dept. ES 6 23 West 47th St., New York 36, NY "indicates "Berkay Industries, NY" is selling for $9.95.

1964 - Newsweek Volume 64, part 2 indicates what's selling well. They include the  "Berkay Insta-Brewer coffeemaker $10"

 October 1964 - There appears to be a Trademark applied for by Berkay Industries dating back to  October 12, 1964.

April 1965  Charles Kasher, NY files this Boonton Molding Company Patent of Coffee Pot (above) which took until March 1967 to have it granted.

1965 -  The pot is about to become "famous." The Film Daily Volume 127 talks about the Coffee Maker being in the 'Ipcress File' Movie. "Stunt Universal and Berkay Industries Inc. have arranged a national tie- up built around Michael Caine's use of Berkay's Insta-Brewer Coffee Maker in Universal's "The Ipcress File"....

1965- Consumer Reports volume #30 indicates the Insta-Brewer's pot's manufacturer is Berkay Industries.

1965 - A model Richard Douglass owns indicates it's from "Berkay Industries, NY".

Michael Caine used the Insta-Brewer in the IPCRESS FILE movie. Credit: Sparks In Electrical Jelly

August 1965- The Ipcress File movie (above) is released with Michael Caine and the Insta-Brewer!

March 1966 - A model Richard Douglass owns indicates "Insta-Brewer is registered trade mark of Boonton Molding Company, Inc. and lists an address of 300 Myrtle Ave., Boonton." Richard explains, "The glass beaker of my 1966 coffee press has different markings, too, calling itself a Boontonware Insta-Brewer. It is made of Corning heat proof glass. There is no part of the Insta-Brewer that is made of Melmac. The top, press top and handle are all made out of hard, shiny black plastic, but not Bakelite."

1966- Society of Plastics Engineers talks about Boonton Molding Company in Booth 4530 of a plastics show with their Insta-Brewer!

March 1967 - Patent filed in 1964 is finally granted to Boonton Molding Company. 

1968 - Standard Directory of Advertising Agencies have Berkay Industries listed in association with the InstaBrewer.

1970- Hardware Age volumes 206-208 gives credit to Boonton in regards to the Insta-Brewer.

1971 - The Whole Earth Catalog (Sears Roebuck) is selling the Insta-Brewer.

1973 - Chilton's Jeweler's Guides actually list the Insta-Brewer part of "Boonton Welding" what on earth is this, a typo?

1974- The Insta-Brewer is advertised in Juris Doctor, Vol 4 (a law publication) for only $15.

October, 1981 Gillies of NY is selling the Insta-Brewer for a sale price of $19.99 even though the list is $22.50.

April 25, 1983 - New York Magazine lists the Insta-Brewer priced at  $27.50 is on sale for $19.99......but who is making it now?

So , why would Berkay trademark it six months earlier ( Oct 1964) than Boonton's patent (April 1965) . If they were working together, why would Boonton only be mentioned half of the time?  Was Berkay the manufacturer or distributor and Boonton only the inventor? How did this work?

Can anyone help us solve this mystery ? If you have the answers , write me! If you have an old Insta-Brewer to sell, you can also email Richard Douglass whom may be interested in purchasing it for his collection.

You may like:

My Boontonware Tour , Stop #2 here

Boontonware Tour Stop #1 is Coming Soon!!!

All my posts on Boontonware.
If you would like to read more on Boonton, visit these pages of my site.


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