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Footage and description provided by the
Center for Sacramento History
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.