Monday’s ad is for Rheingold, from 1953. In the early 1950s, Rheingold recruited a number of prominent celebreties to do ads for them, all using the tagline: “My beer is Rheingold — the Dry beer!” In this ad, German actress and singer Marlene Dietrich, supposedly lover to drink Rheingold Extra Dry whenever she’s in New York.
Archives for January 1, 2018
A favorite British television show of mine was The Secret Life of Machines, by Tim Hunkin, whose birthday is today, January 1, 1950. Hunkin is “an English engineer, cartoonist, writer, and artist living in Suffolk, England. He is best known for creating the Channel Four television series The Secret Life of Machines, in which he explains the workings and history of various household devices. He has also created museum exhibits for institutions across the UK, and designed numerous public engineering works, chiefly for entertainment. Hunkin’s works are distinctive, often recognisable by his unique style of papier-mâché sculpture (made from unpainted newsprint), his pen and ink cartoons, and his offbeat sense of humour.” Given that his show, three seasons between 1988-1993, was about how machines work, it’s surprisingly low-key and minimalist, but quite fascinating. And often very funny.
Anyway, in 1977, Adnams Brewery, commissioned Hunkin to create a poster of their brewery in Suffolk. Hunkin remembered. “I spent a month drawing it and so enjoyed the experience that I moved out of London to Suffolk where I’ve lived ever since. I didn’t even drink much of the beer at the time. Before drawing it, I don’t think I had ever appreciated how the combination of words and drawings can make conveying information much clearer and simpler. I was able to dramatically cut the text about the brewing process by having it integrated with the drawing of the vats and pipes. I think all journalists should be taught to draw.”
I have a couple of books by Hunkin that are filled with detailed doodle drawings with loads of text like this, and they’re great, so I’d love to see what he wrote in this poster although the biggest file of the poster I could find wasn’t quite big enough to read it all.
Or you can see it full size here.
If you’ve ever opened a beer bottle, you’ve probably held something he had a hand in developing, because he made beer bottles cheap and affordable for breweries, and his company has continued to improve upon his designs. Based on his patents, in 1903 he founded the Owens Bottle Company, which in 1929 merged with the Illinois Glass Company in 1929 to become Owens-Illinois, Inc. Today, O-I is an international company with 80 plants in 23 countries, joint ventures in China, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, the United States and Vietnam, with 27,000 employees worldwide and 2,100-plus worldwide patents.
Here’s a short biography of Owens:
Michael Joseph Owens was an inventor of machines that could automate the production of glass bottles.
Michael J. Owens was born on January 1, 1859, in Mason County, West Virginia. As a teenager, he went to work for a glass manufacturer in Newark, Ohio.
During the late 1800s, Toledo, Ohio was the site of large supplies of natural gas and high silica-content sandstone — two items necessary for glass manufacturing. Numerous companies either formed in or relocated to Toledo, including the New England Glass Company, which relocated to Toledo in 1888. This same year, the company’s owner, Edward Drummond Libbey, hired Owens.
Within a short time, Owens had become a plant manager for Libbey in Findlay, Ohio. At this point in time, glass manufacturers in the United States had to blow glass to produce the bottles. This was a slow and tedious process. Owens sought to invent a machine that could manufacture glass bottles, rather than having to rely on skilled laborers, greatly speeding up the manufacturing process. On August 2, 1904, Owens patented a machine that could automatically manufacture glass bottles. This machine could produce four bottles per second. Owens’s invention revolutionized the glass industry. His machine also caused tremendous growth in the soft drink and beer industries, as these firms now had a less expensive way of packaging their products.
In 1903, after Owens had invented his bottle machine but before he had patented the invention, Owens formed the Owens Bottle Machine Company in Toledo. Libbey helped finance Owens’s company. This firm initially manufactured Owens’s bottle machine. By 1919, the firm had begun to manufacture bottles, and the company changed its name to the Owens Bottle Company. The company grew quickly, acquiring the Illinois Glass Company in 1929. The Owens Bottle Company became known as the Owens-Illinois Glass Company this same year. In 1965, the company changed its name one final time. It became and remains known as Owens-Illinois, Inc.
Owens retired in 1919. He did not live to see his company grow into such an important manufacturer of glass. He died on December 27, 1923, in Toledo, Ohio. Over the course of his life, Owens secured forty-five patents.
Here’s his biography from his Wikipedia page:
He was born in Mason County, West Virginia on January 1, 1859. He left school at the age of 10 to start a glassware apprenticeship at J. H. Hobbs, Brockunier and Company in Wheeling, West Virginia.
In 1888 he moved to Toledo, Ohio and worked for the Toledo Glass Factory owned by Edward Drummond Libbey. He was later promoted to foreman and then to supervisor. He formed the Owens Bottle Machine Company in 1903. His machines could produce glass bottles at a rate of 240 per minute, and reduce labor costs by 80%.
Owens and Libbey entered into a partnership and the company was renamed the Owens Bottle Company in 1919. In 1929 the company merged with the Illinois Glass Company to become the Owens-Illinois Glass Company.
To read more about Owens’ contributions, check out Michael Owens’ Glass Bottles Changed The World, by Scott S. Smith, Owens the Innovator at the University of Toledo, Today in Science, and the West Virginia Encyclopedia has a history of the Owens-Illinois Glass Company.