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A bottle opener is a device that enables the removal of metal bottle caps from bottles. More generally, it
might be thought to include corkscrews used to remove cork or plastic stoppers from wine bottles.

A metal bottle cap is affixed to the rim of the neck of a bottle by being pleated or ruffled around the rim.
A bottle opener is a specialized lever inserted beneath the pleated metalwork, which uses a point on the
bottle cap as a fulcrum on which to pivot.

A simple opener is just a piece of metal with a rectangular or rounded opening in one end and a solid
handle large enough to be gripped between the thumb and forefingers on the other. The opening
contains a lip that is placed under the edge of the bottle top, pulling it off when upward force is applied
to the handle end of the opener. This type of opener is small and durable, so it is frequently used as a
key fob.


Bottles are usually corked. This means they are a total bitch to open. As far as the art of bottle-opening
is concerned, this is the dark ages. Painter William Henry Hamilton Trood demonstrates the danger of
corks in a series of not so well known paintings.

February 1892

William Painter invents the 'Crown Cork' cap (U.S. patent #468,258). It looks much like the bottle caps
we still use today. Unfortunately, nobody buys him a beer for his good work because there is still no
practical way to open them. Beer drinkers become identified by the scars on their fingers and knuckles.


Problem solved! Painter's 'churchkey' bottle opener (U.S. patent #524,200) makes it much easier to tear
off crown corks. Everyone drinks in his honor. Painter goes on to patent an ejection seat for passenger

Early 20th century

The bottle industry explodes (sometimes literally), as crown corks allow bottles to maintain maximum
freshness and carbonation. The 'soft' drink industry is born.

The Crown Cork was invented by William Painter, an American of British descent who lived in Baltimore
a century ago. Painter was a keen investor; he took out over 80 patents during his busy lifetime, not all
to do with bottles!! Hi first British patent relating to bottle closure or capping of some sort was obtained
in 1885, this patent involved a "disc" capping of flexible material such as linoleum, which could be holed
with a special piercing tool. Over the next six years various changes were made to his original ideas, and
soon a crimped metal bottle top crowning bottles of a special new lip / neck design evolved, known as
the Crown Cork closure. They needed a lever devise know to open the new bottles, so they invented the
Crown seal bottle opener or bottle lever. Dating openers is very difficult, but registered numbers on
some openers gives us some idea. The number RD. 702661 and 708483 first appeared in 1923 and 1924,
the earliest types of openers had a round looped head, they had stamped lettering and usually were
only quite small, about 2 3/4 inches long. The other quite common type of cast iron opener that you see
has the numbers RD. 811274 on one side and PT. 466444, a design registered in 1936. When you delve
into collecting cast iron openers you will see just how many different types are available out there.

The need for bottle openers starts with the bottle cap. Today, bottle openers can be found in a variety
of styles and configurations. Combination bottle opener keychains are all the rage! There extreme
popularity have made them desirable business and promotional items customized with a name, logo or
message. Here's how the need for bottle openers got started.

Cork and wood bottle stoppers are known to be the oldest bottle caps. Even today most wine bottles
use cork (the good stuff anyway) to seal the bottles. By the middle of the 19th Century the use of glass
bottles and jars was on the rise and so was the development of bottle closures. In 1856 a screw cap was
invented with a cork disc attached to seal glass jars. From 1856 to around 1915 most beer bottles used a
wire attached mechanical cap. This style of cap is still being used with some modifications.

The origins of the bottle cap we know it started in 1890 with William Painter. Painter came up with a
one-time use cap with a cork lining he called crown cork since it resembled the British Queens crown.
This type of bottle cap is still in wide use today by the beer industry.

The invention in the early 1900s of mass production of glass bottles lead to an increase in the use of
crown caps. In addition, further growth came from other containers being converted to bottles in order
to make use of the crown cap. Within 20 years nearly all soft drink and beer bottles were sporting crown

During the 1960s the advent of less expensive synthetic materials and sparse cork resources lead to the
replacement of the cork lining in crown caps with plastic. In addition, some of the crown caps have been
replaced with twist-offs that dont require a separate opener.

Today aluminum and plastic pilfer proof (PP) caps have replaced most of the crown caps on glass and
plastic beverage containers. Most beer bottles still use either one-time use or twist-off crown style caps.

Our metal bottle openers make exceptional business and personal promotional items with name, logo
or message laser engraved on the surface. Choose from the standard rectangular beer bottle openers
and our unique bottle openers with carabiner wire gate for attaching to straps and loops. These
carabiner style bottle openers have the added benefit of optional second side engraving.

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