Manuscript Student Notebook for the Course "Brewing and Malting Technology"
Portland, OR / Chicago: 1940. Very Good. Item #21390
Portland, OR / Chicago: n.d., ca. 1940s. Quarto (29cm.); black cloth three-ring binder containing 250pp. of manuscript ink notes and diagrams on lined paper. Binder a bit worn at extremities, some splitting along upper cover spine edge, brief white splattering to rear cover, else Very Good, contents still quite clean and fresh, Soley's handwriting entirely legible.
Single notebook for the Wahl-Henius Institute's course "Brewing and Malting Technology" belonging to star student Alford Harold Soley (1916-1987) of Portland, Oregon. The Institute was first founded in Chicago in 1886 by chemists Robert Wahl and Max Henius and boasted some of the world's most renowned brewers among its alumnae, including the two sons of Copenhagen millionaire Carl Jacobson of the Carlberg brewing company; H.E.O. Heinemann, publisher of the American Brewers' Review; and August Tiesse, superintendent of the Virginia (Minnesota) Brewing Company plant. With the arrival of Prohibition, however, the Institute foundered and its grounds sold to the American Institute of Baking in 1921, when Soley would have been four years old.
Though the records of the revival of the school in the 1940s are spotty, the present notebook indicates that the school may have introduced a correspondence course, of which Soley was a devoted student, completing all the assignments diligently with marks never falling below 90%, and more likely hitting the 100% mark. The course, titled covered more than two dozen subjects in the field, starting with beer types, and progressing to the history of brewing, the chemistry and physics of brewing, business acumen, legal requirements, the Internal Revenue liquor laws, storage facilities, filtration, and finally concluding with "Abnormal taste and odor of beer." Soley was tested on leading chemist (and victim of the guillotine) Lavoisier and his discovery of the law of conservation of mass; the differences between taste and flavor; and how one would add a brewing operation to an ice factory with limited funds ("he could just add malt syrup, hops and cornflakes etc. in brew kettle and all that would be needed would be kettle and hop jack, hot wort tank, cooler, and misc. pumps in the brew house"). When covering the history of brewing, Soley describes the nature of beer made by early American settlers as "more of the home brew type of beer [which] was flavored with various spices and herbs, as hops were forbidden in England at the time, however the materials used were grains as we use to-day, with sugar and molasses." Though a knowledgeable and adept student, we find no records of Soley's career as a brewer or otherwise.