Monday, September 13, 2021

Invention of flip-top closure by Charles de Quillfeldt

High pressure generated inside bottles by the carbonation caused frequent leakage and although improved by wiring-in-place, corks were generally unsatisfactorily. Many alternative forms of seals were patented over the year.

One of the alternatives is wire and rubber sealing devices. They’re known by several names – swing-top, flip-top, bail, and brace. Wire and rubber sealing devices were especially popular in the USA until the early 1900s. The wire could be either an internal spring form, which held a seal in place on the inside of the neck, or of the external ‘swing’ type, in which an external wire frame was used to hold a ceramic plug in place against a rubber seal.

First patented by Charles de Quillfeldt in 1874, this latter type is still currently in use for some specialty.

Before the invention of the flip-top bottle, bottles were often made from blown glass and sealed with a cork, which was difficult to open by hand and often unreliable, particularly for carbonated beverages such as mineral water or beer.

Originally, Quillfeldt called it simply an “improved bottle-stopper.” Not long after the patent was granted this stopper-type gained the fantastic name “lightning stopper” because it could be quickly sealed.

Karl Hutter seems to have entered the bottle stopper business when Charles de Quillfeldt assigned his reissued patent to him on June 5, 1877. With de Quillfeldt’s new stopper under his control, Hutter opened up a bottlers’ supply business under his own name – Karl Hutter – no “Co.” Hutter registered the term “Lightning” for the fastener on February 12, 1878.

On March 30, 1877, Henry Putnam applied for a patent for an “Improvement in Bottle Stoppers and Bottle Fasteners” and received on September 10, 1878. He manufacturing the stoppers in his Bennington, Vermont, plant.

Hutter, Putnam, and de Quillfeldt continued to design improvements to the Lightning fastener – most with little apparent public appeal – although Putnam had some success with his February 10, 1880 patent.
Invention of flip-top closure by Charles de Quillfeldt

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