The Bottle Cap Challenge has taken the internet by storm, and the phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down.
Popularized after action-movie star Jason Statham posted his successful attempt on Instagram (in response to a challenge from musician John Mayer), thousands of others around the world have tried and recorded the challenge themselves.
First spread among martial arts circles, the goal of the challenge is to unscrew a bottle cap with a roundhouse kick without knocking the bottle over in the process. In celebration of this viral sensation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame®(NIHF) would like to honor the inventor who made it possible: NIHF Inductee William Painter, inventor of the modern-day bottle cap!
Born in 1838, William Painter was a mechanical engineer and founder of Crown Cork & Seal Company, known today as Crown Holdings Incorporated. While carbonated beverages were in high demand by the 1880s, at the time, manufacturers found it difficult to keep the carbonation from escaping the bottle. The stoppers and caps commonly in use did not provide a sufficient seal, causing frequent leaks.
Determined to create a better solution, Painter invented the Crown Cork bottle cap. This new design used a corrugated-flange edge and was lined with a thin cork disc. A special paper backing was also added to seal the bottle and prevent contact between the metal cap and the drink. The cap’s simple, inexpensive and leakproof design was an immediate success. After working with bottling manufacturers to develop a universal neck, Painter went on to develop the machinery to produce his invention at scale.
As technology has advanced, the bottle cap has continued to evolve. The cork disc has been replaced with PVC material, the cap’s teeth have been reduced from 24 to 21 and the skirt’s height has been shortened. Today, the crown cap is the universal bottle cap for carbonated glass bottles, and Painter’s design has been used and enjoyed by millions of people around the world.
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At NIHF, we are proud to honor our incredible Inductees whose innovations continue to improve our lives. To learn more about our Inductees, we invite you to visit our website.