At the beginning, in the 19th century, bottles were closed with disposable corks with name of the brewery and its trademark burnt on both sides. Breweries used to obtain corks from many factories and cork wood yards. One of the oldest such establishments in the Polish territories was Krajowa Fabryka Korków Józefa Gardolińskiego in Złoczów near Lvov. Bohemia also had its famous Prague cork plant Stern & Renner. For the longest time – until WWII – cork was maintained in use for special beer bottles, e.g. for porter ales.
In early 20th century, a revolutionary bow-shaped handle was introduced with porcelain cork, patented by German Siemens company. In Tychy, this type of closure was used most intensively between 1910 and 1960.
The popular cap closure is as old as the bow-shaped handle, however, it failed to win the trust of producers and customers. For the first time the cap was used in 1890 by William Painter in the US. In Browary Książęce, the attempts to introduce this type of closure were made in early 1920s, but it was more broadly introduced in 1930s. However, this type of closure began to dominate with the automatic bottling of beer, i.e. from the 1950s.
At the beginning, most breweries in Poland were using plain cap without lithographs. Only breweries exporting beer had caps with lithographs already in 1960s. It is only in 1980s that the aesthetics of the cap is improved with the introduction of popular lithography. Another quality issue is the perfect size of the cap, which decide about the operation of the capper. In modern bottling lines, with high capacity, there can be no deviations in established size of the cap. Not every beer lover knows that the norm defines for the cap to have obligatory “blackjack” number of 21 teeth.
Recently, twist-off caps were introduced, owing to which we do not need any opener at hand. And finally, the dernier cri of twist-off caps is the new Soft Touch type. It has as much as 29 teeth, which means it is much easier to twist it off from the bottle.
The backing underwent many modifications as well. First of all, its chemical composition was changed into safer one, which does not interact with beer and has no specific smell. On the other hand, through its adequate profile, it secures the tightness of the cap with lower use of the sealing material.
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