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A Brief History of Cork Bottles

Beer in a bottle with a hinged lid, although not very common, is in demand. Such bottles are easy to open by hand with the lever on the side of the neck and just as easy to seal, which makes them popular especially among home brewers.
Before creating the hinged lid, the bottles were often made of blown glass and corked with a wooden cork, which was difficult to open manually. In addition, this method of capping was not very reliable, especially for highly carbonated drinks.

Oddly enough, American housewives changed the history of the beer bottle, who were faced with the acute issue of food storage. However, even earlier this problem was puzzled … Napoleon. During long conquests outside France, his army was constantly in need of quality food. Napoleon even offered a prize of 12,000 francs for developing a way of storing food that could be taken on a camping trip. The prize was won by Nicolas Uppert, the father of home canning, who discovered that products that were tightly corked in a jar or bottle and heated by boiling would last for a long period of time.

A Brief History of a Glass Beer Bottle
This topic was further developed in the United States thanks to the creation of glass jars with a ground lid (fruit jar). In 1853, James Spratt of Cincinnati was granted the first known patent for “improving bottle fastening.” He suggested using glass corks, which had to be sealed with a special solution or sealing wax. The cork had a hole in the center through which steam could escape during the boiling process. This hole should have been covered with a drop of sealing wax when the boiling is complete. Later, special wax was used for this. Such cans were made until about 1915, and wax for sealing was sold until 1929.

In 1858, the predecessor of the yoke plug was invented – a kilner-type cover with a gasket, several metal guides and a clamp. Various variations of such plugs have been used for more than a hundred years, but the main thing is that other inventors began to develop this approach. In 1875, Charles de Kilfeldt patented a new cork format. Initially, he called his invention “an improved cork for bottles,” but later it was called a “lightning stopper” because it could be quickly opened and closed. It is not known for certain whether de Kilfeldt himself coined the term – this name is not used in his first patent application. A few years later, the rights to the invention were acquired by Henry W. Putnam, who adapted the design for use on jars for fruit jams and bulk products. In 1882, he received a patent for a cork, which was already called “lightning”. The same name is used in the updated patent application of 1898.

The first known fact is the use of “lightning plugs” dates back to 1876. It was recorded on the New England State Medical Register. But in parallel, the idea of ​​such traffic jams was developed in Europe. In 1875, the German Carl Dietrich developed a cap with a buckle for fastening on bottles, and two years later Nikolai Fritzner opened a plant for the production of such clamps in Berlin. Fully technical description sounds like “vertical clamping device with a bracket; yoke clamps are primarily suitable for quickly plugging and strengthening caps and valves. ”

From the German language the name “cork stopper” was adopted: bügel is translated as “handle, arc” or “grip, clamp”. Such locks are suitable for a wide variety of corks and caps – not only for beer bottles.

In 1877, German Grauel from Magdeburg patented a hinged lid, which was called “seltzer”. Until 1969, it was used to seal mineral water in Germany. A year later, Friedrich von Siemens came up with the use of a porcelain lid with a clip, on which advertising logos of different colors could be applied.

But the active development of the idea of ​​hinged lids did not last long. In 1892, an American, William Painter, invented crown caps – a device for bottle capping, consisting of a round piece of metal sheet, which is bent at the edge, and a seal. It sounds complicated, but this is exactly the cork that is used by the vast majority of breweries in the world now.

Despite the transition to crown caps, the cork caps have not died – some manufacturers still use them. Moreover, the mechanism is popular not only among alcoholic and carbonated drinks. Cork plugs are used for oils, sauces and other ingredients. But still, such jams are most widely used in the brewing industry.

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