Codd Stopper Bottle
Who put the pop in soda pop?
The original carbonated soft drinks were created on the spot at soda fountains where carbonated water was mixed with syrups and flavorings. If the customer wished to enjoy the drink later, he or she was out of luck.
But at some point in the mid 1800s, some manufacturers began bottling their ginger ales and fruit drinks in ceramic jugs or glass bottles, using a cork for a stopper tied down with wire like a champagne cork to hold in the carbonation. This worked well enough, unless the cork dried out and lost its seal. Some early bottlers such as Schweppes made their bottles with round bottoms, so that they must be stored on their sides, keeping the cork moist. This is the origin of the classic bowling pin shaped bottle as still used by San Pellegrino.
But cork stoppers were expensive for bottling. Sometimes unscrupulous bottlers purchased previously-used champagne corks scavenged from bars to seal their sodas. And sealing the corks with wire was a time-consuming process that added to the cost of the soda.
Throughout the last part of the 1800s, inventors came up with hundreds of new designs for soda bottle stoppers to replace the old-fashioned cork. There were wire cages, swinging bale stoppers, locking clasps, metal stoppers sealed by giant magnets, rubber gaskets, tin strips and foil seals.
In 1873 British inventor Hiram Codd came up with this unusual bottle design seen at left. A glass marble is placed inside the bottle when it is cast. The soda is bottled upside down, so that the marble falls against an india rubber O-ring (missing from this bottle) in the neck of the bottle, where the pressure of the carbonated gas inside holds the marble in place. When the consumer wishes to drink, he or she presses down on the marble with a wooden plunger, releasing the pressure with a pronounced POP! When the bottle is tipped, the marble rolls into a narrow trough out of the way so that the liquid can pour out.
These bottles were intended to be returned to the factory to be used again, but no doubt many were broken by children to retrieve the colorful marble inside. With so many contours and narrow corners, this bottle seems as if it would been difficult to wash and re-use.
Despite these limitations, the Codd stopper bottle and its imitators became the most widely used in England and Australia. In America most bottlers preferred the Hutchinson stopper, a rubber and wire plunger inside the bottle sealed by the pressurized liquid in a similar way.
Then in 1892 William Painter invented with the bottle stopper that we still know today: the crown cap. The cork-lined bottle cap was such an improvement in cost, ease of opening, and quality control that within several years it was the standard for all soda bottling, although the Codd stopper continued for several decades longer in Europe.
In Japan and India however, these Codd stopper bottles are still used today for cheap local fruit-flavored soft drinks. In Japan they are called ramune, while in India they are known as bante wali botal, or "bottle with a marble". Nowadays the Japanese bottles are mass-produced and not as well designed to trap the marble when pouring, but they still open the same way, with the sound that gave soda its name: POP!
Copyright 2022 Matt Bergstrom • about Delicious Sparkling Temperance Drinks