History of beer cork
Many great ideas come out unexpectedly, literally overwhelming everyone with their simplicity. Sometimes, however, they are the result of long thinking and continuous searching.
The American inventor William Painter (1838-1906) had more than 80 patented inventions by the end of the nineteenth century. However, they were not popular due to their specificity and narrow focus and, accordingly, did not bring real income to the inventor.
William Painter began to think of an invention related to consumer goods and found a solution. By the end of the century before last the industry had completely switched to glass bottles, but the problem of hermeticity and preservation of carbonated drinks had not been solved by that time. Some of the bottle caps were leaky, while others, due to poor materials, were affecting the quality of the beverage.
In 1891 an American inventor solved this problem. The new cork had a corrugated flange edge and a thin inlay disk on the bottom made of cork or special paper to seal the bottle and to protect the metal of the cork and the drink from contact. The first round was won: a new cork, called the Crown Cork, was registered on February 2, 1892 with Patent No. 468258. It remained to fit the bottle with this cork.
Over the next few years William Painter succeeded in convincing bottle manufacturers to make a ridge on the neck for the “crown” to cling to, and in 1898 he developed a special foot-powered cork press (with which an experienced operator could seal 24 bottles in minute).
Over time, manufacturers appreciated the new invention and began to produce bottles with a standard unified neck. The new cork gained popularity in the world, but it was not the only one – it also had some disadvantages. It could only be used once and was discarded when the bottle was opened, but it is still the most popular today. I myself use such a manual cap crowner in my laboratory.
The manufacturers are happy, but the consumers, not so much. The “Twist off” cork was invented precisely for these “hard-working” people. Its prototype was the classic Crown Cork. In the new version, were removed teeth, which are crimped when closing and inside the cork was squeezed out obliquely guide. This way, no special bottle opener is needed to open a twist off bottle. It is enough to turn the cap by a quarter of a turn. It also has the advantage that if there is any beer left in the bottle, which is not a typical, but possible, situation, the cap can be put back on.
The Ring-pull crown cork has been very popular in recent years. Its prototype was the once popular “disposable bottle caps ” The essence remains the same, but a small flap of metal has been replaced by a very convenient ring. This ring fits comfortably on the finger and guarantees the opening of the bottle on the first try. This is my favorite kind of cork – I pull the ring, open the bottle in a second and no longer need to get distracted. What could be better?
Even today, some manufacturers continue to produce beer with real corks like wine corks. Unlike wine corks, they are not completely sunk in, but are mushroom-shaped, with the cap located above the neck of the bottle. For safety reasons, such corks are usually wire-framed to the bottle neck. Of course, this cork is a more expensive, but it is not used for cheap beer. The non-standard cork often emphasizes the “unbreakable connection of times”. They say that this is the same beer that was brewed by monks in the Middle Ages. 😊 And the opening process itself takes a certain amount of time, creating a sense of waiting in anticipation of a festive encounter with the beautiful.
And, lastly, a cork called Flip cork. They are reusable corks. They are a rigid wire frame with a ceramic cork and a rubber gasket. This framework is attached to the bottle (for this purpose, there are two recesses on the bottle neck). These corks can be used repeatedly with the bottle. They are not as popular as ordinary crown cork, but they have their niche in the beer market. Their most important advantage is that the bottle can be used with the cork many times, even at home. These bottles are widely used in factory laboratories for sampling and other needs.
More than a hundred years have passed since the first carbonated beverage cork was invented. Progress does not stand still. Other types of packaging have been invented and enjoy well-deserved popularity, but they all occupy only a certain niche in the market. The most popular and the most reliable in all respects is still considered to be the cork, invented in the far nineteenth century.