The next time you drink coffee, do thank Melitta Bentz. She was a German entrepreneur who invented the coffee filter in 1908.
Melitta was frustrated with the percolators which over brewed the coffee, machines which left grounds in the coffee and linen bag filters which were difficult to clean. Melitta tried a variety of methods to obtain coffee, free of grounds. Finally, she used the blotting paper used by her children while doing homework.
She put a circle of the blotting paper in a brass cup and made holes in it. She was able to pour hot water over the coffee which left the grounds over the filter enabling her to drain off the coffee. This attempt was successful and it led the invention of Melitta coffee filters.
After receiving the patent for her filter in 1908, she set up the Melitta Bentz Company along with her husband. The filter was exhibited at the 1909 Leipzig Fair where over a 1000 filters were sold. By 1928, her product was very much in demand and her company employed dozens of people.
Melitta’s filtering system is still widely used to brew coffee.