Celebrating National Inventors’ Day

Picture of silver bottle caps
Monday, February 11, 2019

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared February 11 National Inventors’ Day to commemorate Thomas Edison’s birthday. To celebrate, we are remembering Crown’s founder and own “father of invention,” William Painter, and exploring how his creative packaging innovations have revolutionized the beverage industry as we know it.

The global beverage market, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, is expected to reach an estimated $1.9 trillion by 2021, and we like to think Painter had something to do with the success of the industry. Carbonated beverages first gained popularity around 1800, but by Painter’s time in 1880, stoppers and bottle caps faced significant design challenges. The caps lacked reliability because they did not seal the beverage sufficiently, causing liquids and carbonated gases to leak. 

Painter sought to fix this issue and find a better way to package soft drinks and beer, thus inventing the “crown cork,” which sealed the bottle and prevented contact between the metal cap and the drink. It was simple, economical to produce and leak-proof. In 1892, he was granted a patent for his invention and started Crown Cork & Seal Company of Baltimore. The best part? Crown caps, both pry-offs and twist-offs, are still in use today. 

While Painter revolutionized capping back in the 1800s, packaging innovations remain at the core of Crown’s purpose today. From the first “crown cork” closure to the tech-forward CrownConnect™ smart packaging, Crown continues to be an influencer of invention in metal packaging.

Painter was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006. To learn more about Painter and Crown’s history, check out our timeline.