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George Constant Louis Washington[I] (May 1871 – March 29, 1946) was an American inventor and businessman of Anglo-Belgian origin. He is best remembered for his invention of an early instant coffee process and for the company he founded to mass-produce it, the G. Washington Coffee Company.

An emigrant from his native Belgium, he arrived in the New York area in 1897 and dabbled in several technical fields before hitting upon instant coffee manufacture during a sojourn in Central America in 1906 or 1907. He began selling his coffee in 1909 and founded a company to manufacture it in 1910. Based in New York and New Jersey, his company prospered and became an important military supplier during World War I. The company's products were also advertised in New York newspapers and on the radio. The success of his company made Washington wealthy, and he lived in a mansion in Brooklyn and then moved to a country estate in New Jersey in 1927. In that same year, he lost a dispute with the tax authorities. Washington was married and had three children.

Washington's company was sold to American Home Products in 1943, shortly before his death. Though the coffee brand was discontinued by 1961, Washington's name is still used today in the product G. Washington's Seasoning & Broth.

George Washington held over two dozen patents, in the fields of hydrocarbon lamps, cameras and food processing. He was not the first to invent an instant coffee process, as Satori Kato's work was a precursor, among others, but Washington's invention was the first effort that led to commercial manufacture. There is some suggestion that he was inspired by seeing dried powder on the edge of a silver coffee pot.[15] Federico Lehnhoff Wyld, a German-Guatemalan, also developed an instant coffee process about this time,[10] which he later marketed in Europe; as Wyld was Washington's personal doctor, there has been some suggestion that the discovery was not independent.[9]

A pre-World War I advertisement introduced Washington's coffee to the public. Advert from The New York Times, February 23, 1914.Washington's product was first marketed as Red E Coffee (a pun on "ready") in 1909, and the G. Washington Coffee Refining Company was founded in 1910.[9] Washington's first production plant was at 147 41st Street in Brooklyn's Bush Terminal industrial complex. The company later moved operations to New Jersey, acquiring the land for the new plant at 45 East Hanover Avenue in Morris Plains in 1927.[14][IV]

Advertising for the company's product often emphasized its supposed convenience, modernity and purity. It was claimed to be better for digestion, and even that the "pure" coffee did not have the wakefulness effect of coffee from ground beans (a direct effect of caffeine content, present in both forms). After World War I ended, the American military's use of the coffee became another selling point. A different avenue for promotion came when the company sponsored a "Sherlock Holmes" radio series on NBC and the Blue Network from 1930 to 1935.[16]

source : wikipedia