ASME-Landmark:Crown Cork and Soda Filling Machine


Although bottled carbonated beverages were popular by the 1880s, sealing the bottle was a constant problem. Most "stoppers" were made of metal and were intended for reuse. None sealed adequately, and contact with the cap often contaminated the drink.

On February 2, 1892, William Painter (1838-1906) patented a cheap, single-use metallic cap, crimped over a lip formed on the bottle neck and lined with a thin cork wafer that both formed a leakproof seal and separated drink and metal. In addition to solving previous engineering challenges, this disposable stopper insured future demand and continuing business.

Soon thereafter, Painter patented a machine that filled the bottle simultaneously with syrup and carbonated water, and then applied the cap. The two inventions commercially developed by Painter's Crown Cork & Seal Co. were the foundation of today's vast bottling industry. In 1898, Painter claimed that a worker could fill and cap eight bottles a minute, although the average was half that. By 1902, Painter had introduced the eight-head automatic electric Crown bottling and capping machine, which had a capacity of 60 to 100 bottles a minute. Painter, who was an ASME member, had 85 patents.

There are only a few Crown soda machines known to exist today. Two were restored for the centennial celebration and are on display in the company lobby of Crown Cork & Seal; one has been loaned to the Coca-Cola Company museum in Atlanta. See ASME website for more information