LeRoy Pennysaver & News - page 11

OscarT. Bloom
I read that the Museum As-
sociation of NewYork has been
working with the producers of
the television series “Mystery at
theMuseum” and they are look-
ing for more unusual objects to
featureon theprogram. I thought
theymightbe interested inourge-
lometerwhich isonexhibit in the
Jell-OGallery. It was sent to us
by theAtlanticGelatinCompany
the gelatin for Jell-O is - - or I
should say - -wasmade.
The factoryhasclosed, likeso
manyother facilitiesoperatedby
Kraft Foods. Unfortunately, the
closinghasput 200peopleof out
work.Thecompanywas founded
in 1919 when European sources
for gelatin were interrupted by
WorldWar I. The gelatin is de-
rived from the connective tissue
processedas leather in thenearby
shoe factories. It was said that
after the collagen for the gelatin
was extracted, the hides could
still be processed for leather.
Once the gelatin is created it
has to be tested for its “bloom”
which Ihave recentlydiscovered,
should be spelled with a capital
B - - Bloom. (Actually, there is
another definition of the word
bloomand that is todissolvegel-
atin. A recipe will say to bloom
the gelatin.) The Bloom is the
rigidityof theJell-O towithstand
the pressure of a little plunger
that is pressed into the surface 4
mm deep.
The machine that tested the
gelatin was called a gelometer
and it was invented by Oscar T.
Bloom - - thus “Bloom” with a
capital B. Fromwhat I canfind,
he worked for the Swift Meat
Company in Chicago. I have
found that Bloom has other
registered inventionswhich in-
cludesa feedingbag forcalves.
Thepatent for thegelometer
was filedonApril 11, 1923 and
wasgrantedonJune9,1925. The
machine is operated by an elec-
tromagnet. As the plunger goes
into the gelatin – or any other
substance - - itdisplacesgunshot
which falls into a small beaker.
Thebeaker isweighed.Themore
thegunshotweighs thehigher the
Bloomcount and thestronger the
is300. I read inone report, that
equipped with plungers that
are square on the bottom, but
othercountrieshave rounded
plungers, which changes
the results, but that takes the
scientific information about ge-
lometers toamuchhigher level.
A while ago, a Kodak
engineer came to the museum
to photograph the gelometer.
He was on his way to a
conference on gelatin in
Belgium. Of course, the
Bloom of gelatin was
extremely important to
Kodak when they
were stillmaking
emulsionfilm - -
the emulsion is
gelatin - - and
to point out that
the quality of gelatin
for film had to be of a much
higher quality than the gelatin
used for Jell-O.
Severalyearsago, I remember
talkingwithMarge Sharpe, who
worked in the test lab forawhile.
She said that it would take time
for the Jell-O to set before they
could test it. It was the rule that
the Jell-O couldn’t be packaged
until the test was complete, but
sometimes thatdidn’thappenand
a batchof Jell-Owouldbe pack-
I was told that today, theBloom
of gelatin is not testedwith a ge-
lometer.Rather, light refraction is
used, but I have not been able to
find outmuch about that.
Our gelometer was shipped
to California fifteen years ago,
when I appeared on “ToTell the
Truth.” John O’Hurley was the
moderator and the gelometer
was on the desk in front of him.
Of course the panelists had to
determinewhichoneof the con-
testants was the Director of the
So I haven’t decidedwheth-
er I’ll send in a proposal for
Mystery at the Museum. It’s
reallynot amystery, but it is an
interesting story.
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