A Beer Can Timeline

Today is Beer Can Appreciation Day, because on this day in 1935, the first cans of beer were sold. Cans of “Krueger Cream Ale” were sold by the Kruger Brewing Company in Richmond, Virginia, with other breweries following suit the very same year. Here’s some fun resources about the history of the beer can. First, there’s a History of the Can (that’s all cans) while Rusty Cans has a more beer-centric timeline. Keglined has An Illustrated History of the American Beer Can and Timeline has another history that goes back to ancient times. And CraftCans has this infographic timeline showing “8 Decades of Canned Beer.”

Click here to see the timeline full size.

Patent No. 3554400A: Nonflipping Beer Can End

Today in 1971, US Patent 3554400 A was issued, an invention of John S. Bozek, assigned to the Continental Can Co., for his “Nonflipping Beer Can End.” Here’s the Abstract:

An easy opening end particularly adapted for use on beverage cans, said end including an end panel, weakening line formed in said end panel and defining a removable tearout portion which extends generally from the central portion of said end panel to the periphery of said end panel, and a circumferential rib in said end panel, said rib being generally C-shaped in outline and having opposite ends terminating adjacent said tearout portion and reinforcing said end panel around said tearout portion to prevent premature rupturing of said can end along said weakening line, and a pull tab secured to said tearout portion for effecting the removal thereof, said rib being depressed to define an upwardly opening groove, and said pull tab having a free end overlying said groove whereby clearance is provided between said pull tab free end and said end panel to facilitate the initial lifting of said pull tab.


Patent No. 2665936A: Beer Can Handle

Today in 1954, US Patent 2665936 A was issued, an invention of Walter G. Moore, for his “Beer Can Handle.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to a handle for beer cans and the like, and has for its principal object the provision of a simple, economical, one-piece structure which can be instantly snapped on and off a tin can to provide a handle therefor, and to form a drinking receptacle therefrom.


Patent No. 19063A: Can Opener

Today in 1858, US Patent 19063 A was issued, an invention of Ezra J. Warner, for his “Can Opener.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

I have invented a new and useful Improvement` in Instruments for Cutting Open Sealed Tin Cans and Boxes; and I do hereby declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description of the construction, character, and operation of the same, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, which make a part of this specification, in which- Figure l, is a view of the whole instrument, showing the looped bar, (as Fig. 5,) swung across the piercer bar. Fig. 2, is a view of the same, showing another position of the looped bar. Fig. 3, is a view of the shaft, with the piercer bar. Fig. 4, is a view of the curved cutter, (as in Figs. l and 2). Fig. 5, is a view of the looped bar, (as in Figs. 1 and 2.)

I make the shank, A, (including t-he piercer-bar, B,) of steel, substantially, as represented in Figs. l, 2, and 3, with a suitable handle, as C, Figs. l and 2, and I make the point of the piercer bar, B, substantially, in the form represented at d, Figs. l, 2, &c., I make the curved cutter, a, of cast steel, substantially in the form shown in Figs. l, 2, and 4, and attach it to the shank, A, (as at 5,) by passing the end, a, Fig. 4, into a dovetail slot, so that it may be readily removed, in case of its being injured, or when I desire to change the position of the cutting edge from one side of the looped or swinging bar c, to the other or to have it cut in the center, between the two sides, and I bevel the edge on either side, or on both sides, according to the position in which it is to be placed for cutting. I make the looped bar, c, of steel, or any other suitable material, substantially in the form shown in Fig. 5, (and indicated in Figs. 1 and 2,) and attach it to the piercer bar, B, (near its end,) by a fulcrum or joint pin, as shown at c, Figs. l and 2, (and indicated in Fig. 3,) so that it may readily swing, or rock, from the position shown in Fig. 1 to that shown in Fig. 2.

To use this instrument, I swing the loop bar substantially to the position shown at c, in Fig. l, take hold of the handle, C, and press the point, a, of the piercer-bar, B, through the tin in the desired place, turn the instrument, and insert the point of the curved cutter, a, through the perforation already made, (when the looped or swinging bar, c, will be substantially in the position shown in Fig. 2,) and work the handle, C, (in the manner of a brake.) Then the handle, C, is moved in the direction indicated by the dart in Fig. 2, the loop bar, c, will be held against the surface of the tin, while the curved cutter, a, will be forced between its parts and cut the tin smoothly through, and when the handle is moved in the opposite direction the instrument may be pushed forward for another cut, and so on, thus allowing the operator to cut as fast as he can move his hand.

The advantages of my improvement over all other instruments for this purpose consist in the smoothness and rapidity of the cut, as well as the ease with which it is worked, as a child may use it without difficulty, or risk, and in making the curved cutter susceptible of being removed, so that if one should be injured it may be replaced by another, thus saving all the other portions of the instrument, and consequently much expense, and in that the piercer will perforate the tin without causing the liquid to fly out, as it does in all those which make the perforation by percussion of any kind.


Patent No. 3071403A: Crowned Bottle Rejection Pin For Bottle Pick Up Apparatus

Today in 1963, US Patent 3071403A was issued, an invention of William J. Hohenstein and Helmut W. Preu, assigned to Schaefer Brewing Co., for their “Crowned Bottle Rejection Pin For Bottle Pick Up Apparatus.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The present invention relates to a crowned bottle rejection pin for use on apparatus which picks up empty bottles for moving them from place to place.

A conventional apparatus for removing empty bottles, such as beer bottles or the like, from cases for transferring them to a conveyer for movement into a washing machine, has a plurality of heads thereon which have an expandable rubber sleeve within them. The heads are connected to a source of compressed air so that when the heads are lowered over the tops of the bottles in a case of empty bottles, the compressed air is fed to the heads and it expands the rubber sleeves around the tops of the bottles. The apparatus is then operated to lift the empty bottles from the case or the like and move them to a conveyer.

It often occurs, however, that caps or crowns will be placed on the tops of the bottles after they are empty, and when the heads on the bottle removing apparatus move down around the tops of the empty bottles, they will pick up the crown as well as the empty bottle and transport it to the conveyer to the washing machine. The crown will remain on the bottle in the washing machine and prevent a brush spindle which cleans the inside of the bottle as well as the rinsing tube from entering the bottle. This malfunction results in the spindles and rinse tubes being bent out of shape, requiring a thirty to fifty minute shutdown of the machine to replace the bent parts.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a pin which can be placed within the heads on the bottle removing apparatus which will prevent the head from picking up an empty bottle which has a crown thereon, yet which will not prevent the head from picking up a bottle without such a crown thereon.


Patent No. 2623672A: Beer Jetter

Today in 1952, US Patent 2623672 A was issued, an invention of James H O’Neil, assigned to the Continental Can Co., for his “Beer Jetter.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The invention relates to new and useful improvements in a method of packaging beer in containers and more particularly in open top cans. The elimination of air from the head space of the container before sealing is recognized as desirable. Many expedients have been proposed and utilized for this purpose, including the directing of a jet of inert gas into the beer beneath the surface thereof through a nozzle submerged in the beer in an open top can for causing foam to ll the head space and force the air therefrom. The wide open mouth of the open top can presents difficulties when attempts are made to direct a jet of inert gas into the beer from a point above the surface of the beer, because the jetted stream entrains surrounding air which is driven into the beer along with the inert gas causing an excessive amount of air to be entrapped in the beer and foam. Also, the velocity of the jet must be controlled to avoid blowing the foam from the surface of the beer thereby causing excessive foaming and Waste of beer.

An object of the invention is to provide a method of directing inert gas into an open top can partially filled with a gas containing beverage which includes the step of first covering the mouth of the can so as to provide a closed head space with a vent opening leading to the atmosphere and then directing a jet of inert gas through the closed head space at a point above the surface of the beer at a velocity sufficient to cause the gas to penetrate the surface of the beer for causing the beer to foam and iill the head space with foam.


Patent No. D152196S: Design For A Combination Key Holder & Bottle Opener

Today in 1948, US Patent D152196 S was issued, an invention of Arthur R. Glidden, for his “Design For a Combination Key Holder and Bottle Opener.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

I have invented a new, original, and ornamental Design for a Combination Key Holder and Bottle Opener, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, forming a part thereof.


Patent No. 3225510A: Article Cartoning Machine

Today in 1965, US Patent 3225510 A was issued, an invention of Robert J. Weichhand and Wickliffe Jones, for their “Article Cartoning Machine.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to article packaging and more particularly to a machine for packing beer bottles in conventional six-pack or eight-pack cartons.

More specifically, the machine of this invention is intended for packaging beer bottles in cartons which are formed of paperboard material and which are furnished in a fiat collapsed condition. The collapsed cartons are loaded in stacked formation into a magazine, which includes mechanism for withdrawing the collapsed cartons individually from the lower portion of the magazine subsequently to be erected and loaded. In order to obtain the high loading rate, as indicated above, the bottles, which are fed in a continuous stream, are segregated into groups and the groups advanced into the erected carton from opposite ends. After being loaded with the bottles, liquid adhesive is applied to the flaps of the cartons, then the flaps are folded to a closed position and sealed before the loaded cartons are discharged from the machine.

To perfect a cartoning machine which will handle 600 to 1,200 or more bottles per minute and package them in an automatic manner, the bottles must flow in a substantially straight line continuous movement without any stopping or starting. At the rate of movement of this machine, the inertia of stopping the bottle and starting it again or of jerky acceleration and deceleration would break the bottle or at least scar and tear the paper label. It has thus been an object of this invention to provide a bottle cartoning machine which utilizes smooth acceleration and deceleration substantially straight line continuous flow of the bottles to be packaged and which eliminates abrupt impact reciprocating or oscillating elements which might break the bottle or at least scar the labels upon the bottles. It should be understood that while this machine has been described with reference to packaging bottles, it is equally adaptable to packaging other articles. Of course a machine operable to handle fragile glass is capable of handling metal containers such as beer cans.

The machine includes a series of continuous motion conveyor systems for advancing and erecting cartons after they have been withdrawn individually from the magazine. Thus, the first conveyor apparatus receives the carton blank as it is withdrawn from the bottom of the magazine and includes means for handling the flaps which project outwardly from the opposite open ends of the advancing blank. A first stage conveyor apparatus advances the blank toward a main carton transport conveyor and concurrently partially erects the carton. The partially erected carton is then transferred to a main carton conveyor and during transfer is completely erected by con- Patented Dec. 28, 1965 ice tinuously advancing spacer lugs on the main carton transport conveyor. These lugs coact with the first stage conveyor apparatus to completely erect the carton. The spacer lugs of the main carton conveyor confine the carton firmly in its erected condition and advance it toward the bottle loading zone with the several carton flaps extending outwardly to an open position to avoid any interference of the bottles as they are advanced into the open end of the erected carton.

As the erected carton advances to the loading zone, six cans (or eight cans in the case of an eight-pack) are fed laterally from a pair of parallel bottle conveyors into the opposite ends of the carton by stationary converging guide rails. The bottles are segregated into groups of three each (or four in the case of an eight-pack) and fed into the carton. The segregating mechanism consists of restraining fingers which enter in front of every third bottle. These restraining fingers move at a slower rate than the bottle conveyors so that the restraining fingers slow the movement of the bottles. The down stream finger then releases a group of three which move away from the finger or move downstream at a rate determined by the bottle conveyor which is moving faster than the restrained bottles. As soon as the group of three bottles have moved downstream so as to establish a gap between the restrained bottles and the unrestrained ones, spacer fingers enter the gap so as to maintain the spacing between the now grouped bottles. Guide rails then force the group of bottles across a continuously moving bucket conveyor which maintains the spacing of the groups and into the open sides of the cartons. After the bottles are loaded into the carton, liquid adhesive is supplied to the flaps and the flaps are folded to a closed position and sealed as the carton advances toward the discharge end of the machine.

A further objective of the invention has been to provide an improved segregating mechanism for forming articles into groups while advancing the articles toward a packaging zone where the segregated groups are fed transversely into the open end of an advancing carton.


Patent No. 20090308879A1: Method Of Distributing Beer

Today in 2009, US Patent 20090308879 A1 was issued, an invention of James H. Johnson, Jr., for his “Method of Distributing Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

A method of distributing beer includes the steps of providing a beer staging structure adjacent a retail location for the sale of beer, stocking beer in the structure and advertising for the beer on the structure.


Patent No. 2102208A: Process Of Packaging Beer In Open Top Metal Containers

Today in 1937, US Patent 2102208 A was issued, an invention of Alfred L. Kronquest, assigned to the Continental Can Co., for his “Process of Packaging Beer in Open Top Metal Containers.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to new and useful processes for the pasteurizing of the beer.

The present invention has to do with a method of making and treating a container so as to provide a suitable coating covering the entire inner surface of the metal container so as to prevent the beer from contacting with the metal at any time. It is well known that when metal sheets are coated with an enamel that has no clouding effect upon the beer, the bending or drawing of the sheet to form the ends and to form the body seams, is likely to fracture the enamel coating temperature necessary to heat the sealed container so as to expose the metal there beneath. Even if the can body and the bottom end thereof is coated with enamel, the shaping of the parts is likely to fracture the enamel coating and render the container thus formed unsuitable for 5 the packaging of beer.