Tech Food Products
The History of the Iron City Brewing Company


This Document First Published: March 31, 2017

Tech Foods


Pittsburgh Brewing did not want to close the Iron City Brewery in Lawrenceville so they remained open manufacturing low alcohol beer. The beer was real beer but brought down to an alcohol by volume content of 0.05%. The company also kept open the Straub Brewery in Bloomfield. Manufacturing beer in two plants during prohibition was unprofitable so the Bloomfield plant made ice cream.

The 1921 Pittsburgh Directory listed:
President C. H. Ridal
VP E. J. Vilsack
Secretary W P Heckman
Treasurer E. H. Straub
The General Office was located at the Iron City Brewery at 3340 Liberty Avenue. The ice cream plant was located at Liberty Avenue and Main Street, which was in Bloomfield. The company had a cold storage plant at 36
th and Butler Street, which was the Wainwright Brewery.

Tech Food Products Company was incorporated in the State of Delaware in 1921. Pittsburgh Brewing established the name Tech as far back as 1906 but the subsidiary company Tech Foods did not come to be until the onset of prohibition.

Tech Beer


Pittsburgh Brewing created a brand of beer known as Tech. It was referred to as Tech Beer or Tech Lager. The name was to denote the brewery’s technical perfection in brewing.

1906 Tech Beer
According to Pittsburgh Brewing Company’s website, Curtis Frits develops Tech Beer. Pittsburgh Brewing received a patent in 1906 for the name but I cannot verify Fritz’ involvement. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has an on-line story of the development of Tech Beer but I cannot find that since I saw it last.

May 3, 1906 Filing Date
Pittsburgh Brewing Company received patent 14,080 for the name Tech as it applies to beer. It is listed in Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, Volume 203.

1900 Carnegie Reference
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) founded the Carnegie Technical Schools in 1900. Carnegie Institute of Technology merged with Mellon Institute to become The Carnegie-Mellon University in 1967.

1905 Carnegie, Pa.
Carnegie was incorporated on March 1, 1894 from the Boroughs of Mansfield and Chartiers.

1906 Tech Beer DEFIES MR. CARNEGIE
Pittsburgh Brewery will put “Tech” Beer on the Market.
Special to the New York Times.
Pittsburgh, March 30 (Friday) “We will put “Tech” beer on the market next Monday and the only way Andy Carnegie can stop it is to drink all we brew.”

In these words the manager of a big Pittsburgh brewing concern today replied to a protest on behalf of the ironmaster. The brewery in question stands near the Carnegie Technological Institution and its management today announced in all the Pittsburgh newspapers that in a few days it would place “Tech” beer on the market.

When Director A. A. Hammerschalg of the Carnegie school saw the advertisement he communicated with Mr. Carnegie by long-distance telephone. Mr. Carnegie expressed his displeasure. Then one of the Carnegie school trustees went to the brewery management. The reply quoted and a profane commitment of Mr. Carnegie to a hotter climate were all the satisfaction he got.

According to Pittsburgh Brewing Company’s website, Curtis
Frits develops Tech Beer in 1906.

The New York Time, Published March 31, 1906

1907 Pennant
Tech written on a pennant was registered March 5, 1907 as a trademark. Serial No. 19,289.

1919 March
The Western Brewer documented that Pittsburgh Brewing registered the name “Tech Beverage”. The application was filed on December 30, 1918 and registered on February 11, 1919.

1919
Appleton Brewing, Appleton, Missouri was making a cereal beverage called Tech in 1919.

1920 Tech Food Products
The Brewers Journal, Volume 54-55 of September 1920 announced that Pittsburgh Brewing Company was entering the beverage making industry. The company was producing:
Tech Root Beer, Tech Ginger Ale, Tech Orange, Tech Parfay, and Tech Cereal Beverage. The slogan was “There’s a Tech for every taste”.

Independent Brewing Company Reference
The company was producing Silver Top Quality soft drinks as Wine-Ola, Root Beer, Ginger Beer, Birch Beer, Inde-Cola, Orange Whirl and Ginger Ale.

The journal has a note on the tax on any amount of alcohol base on an 1897 act. Note this when the 0.05% was applied.

1922 Non-alcoholic maltless beverage
PBC received a patent (registered on March 7, 1922) for non-alcoholic beverage. The design of the trade mark was the Tech plaid design with an open space to which a word can be inserted. The mark was continuously used since on or about April 20, 1920.

1940
The Pittsburgh Press, October 8, 1940, page 27 reported on the re-introduction of Tech beer in the Pittsburgh market.

Tech Ice Cream


1921 Incorporation
Tech Food Products incorporated in 1921 with $750,000
T. L. Cratean, M. A. Bruce, S. E. Drill

Poly-Tech was announced in the Pittsburgh Press on Thursday, March 3, 1921 as a new ice cream made in Pittsburgh. It will debut on Saturday.

1922 Patent
Tech, Tech Food Products received trademark 23-711 for Poly-Tech ice cream in Index of Patents issued from the United States Patent Office, November 22, 1922

Samuel Reingold Reference
Samuel Reingold came to the United States in 1912. After his father’s death he worked to help support his mother and sister. During his lifetime he worked at a variety of jobs, from operating the Puritan Confectionery store in Homewood with his business partner Sol Podolsky to working for Westinghouse Corporation to selling Tech Ice Cream Products (a Prohibition-era division of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company) to client drug stores. He worked for Tech Food Products in 1923. In approximately 1928, Samuel Reingold began selling real estate as a side business; eventually he established the Reingold Real Estate Company, which specialized in commercial real estate.

Samuel Reingold and Anna Spiegle Reingold had three children: Herbert L. (b. 1922), Vernon (b. 1926), and Benita P. (b. 1936). Herbert was the first Reingold family member to graduate from college. He served in the Army in France and England during World War II. He worked for the family real estate company. Vernon Reingold also worked as a real estate broker and a certified housing inspector. Benita (“Bunny”), who married Marvin (“Sonny”) Morris, was a health and physical education instructor and supervisor for thirty years in the Pittsburgh public school system. Leo Spiegle (1901-1986), Anna’s brother, had a newsstand on Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh and also ran candy stores and taverns throughout the city. Other members of the extended family were active in the Jewish community in Aliquippa, Pa.

Not to be confused with Reinhold Ice Cream
808 Fulton Street, Pittsburgh
Incorporated March 23, 1960

Tech Cigars


Tech Cigars
It is falsely believed that that Pittsburgh Brewing under the name Tech Foods made cigars. This court case may clarify this.
Abraham Ruben of Pittsburgh

Trade Mark Opposition
Pittsburgh Brewing Company and Tech Food Products Company v. Ruben
Abraham Ruben of Pittsburgh filled for a trademark consisting of the word Tech written in white script over a plaid background. This was applied to cigars, stogies, snuff and other tobacco products. Pittsburgh Brewing had this mark in the early 1900’s and the company’s subsidiary Tech Food Products Company had the same mark for use with ice cream products. Trade Mark law also permitted PBC to apply the mark to cigars. Pittsburgh Brewing and Tech Foods never made cigars.

The First Assistant Commissioner held that Ruben was entitled to the mark as the goods of each of the parties were not the same descriptive properties and the mark was more than merely part of the corporate name.