History of the Chemex Coffee Maker


Peter J. Schlumbohm, Ph.D

As you might have guessed, the Chemex was invented by a chemist.  In 1941 Peter J. Schlumbohm, Ph.D was inspired to create the Chemex coffee maker.

Born in 1896 in Germany, a graduate of the University of Berlin, he moved to New York City in 1936.  A prolific inventor he holds over 3,000 patents.  Fusing a glass funnel and an Erlenmeyer flask he modified them to include an air channel and a pouring spout. This displaced air from the dripping water bypassing the filter paper.

The famous “bellybutton” bubble mark shows the halfway mark of the bottom of the coffee pot.  Made of borosilicate glass the Chemex is laboratory grade and heat proof.

Simple and elegant, the Chemex only requires a filter, coffee and hot water.  You can accessorize with a wire grid for electric stovetops, a glass cover to keep the coffee warm, a long handled brush to clean, and a wooden collar to safely grip.

In 1956 the Chemex was selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the best-designed items in modern times.  It is in permanent collections in MOMA, New York City, the Smithsonian, the Philadelphia Museum and the Corning Museum, NY.  It has been recognized as an outstanding example of American Design.

Simple, elegant and a great cup of coffee can be enjoyed with the Chemex.

2 thoughts on “History of the Chemex Coffee Maker

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