Crown Cork and Seal Company

Although bottle carbonated beverages were popular by the 1880s, sealing the bottle was a constant problem. Most “stoppers” were of metal and intend for reuse. None sealed adequately and interacted with the contents of the bottle, causing changes in their color and flavor.

William Painter was a machinist who became an inventor during the 1880s. By at least 1885, Painter had turned his hand to bottles – specifically bottle seals. In 1882, he obtained a patent for a bottle seal that was designed for a single use and then discarded. This was a metal cap that had a layer of cork inside that gave a good seal against the top of a glass bottle.
A business associate of Painter’s bought all rights to sell this Painter bottle stopper. William Painter and some associates later formed the Bottle Seal Co. in 1885 to market the new seal, and the firm remained in business until the formation of the Crown Cork & Seal Co. in 1893.

In 1891 Painter invented the “crown cork cap”, a metal cap with a corrugated-flange edge, lined with a thin cork disc and special paper backing both to seal the bottle and prevent contact between the bottle contents and the metal cap that crowned it.

By the time Crown’s founder, William Painter, died in 1906, Crown had opened plants abroad, including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Japan and Brazil. By the end of the 1920’s the company’s manufacturing base had expanded throughout Europe, South America and Asia.

The passing of the Prohibition Amendment in 1919 killed the bottled beer industry, which then dominated the soft drink industry, and by 1925 the Company was on the verge of financial collapse. In 1936 – the company moving into tin cans business by acquires the Acme Can Company of Philadelphia.

In 1941 the company shifted to military production for World War II, producing metal cartridge links for ammunition, antiaircraft guns, tail fins for flares, aluminum fairings for fighter planes and other products. Crown also introduces the Kork-N-Seal, the Pour-N-Seal and the Merit Seal.

In the 1950s, Crown lost market share and was on the brink of bankruptcy. Under the leadership of John Connelly, the company had transformed from near -bankruptcy in 1957 to becoming a formidable force in the domestic and international metal container market. By 1976 Crown had revenues of $910 million, $343million of which came from international markets – making them the largest international producer.
Crown Cork and Seal Company

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