Commentary: Connections-Cheers; May 1998; Scientific American Magazine; by Burke; 2 Page(s)
Abarman the other night opened my tonic water bottle with a flourish, and the tinkle of metal reminded me of William Painter, the man who devised the Crown Seal Company bottle cap. (And then blew his Hall of Fame chances by advising one of his salesmen, name of Gillette, to invent a similar use-and-throw-away gizmo, the safety razor.)
At effecting closure--including wax, glass balls and a combo of wire and cork--metal-capped effervescence was first made popularly available by Jacob Schweppes at the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition in London. At which he sold vast quantities of soft drinks, thus realizing the long-dead dream of Joseph Priestley, who had invented soda water decades earlier. Getting fizz into water (drinking same, it was thought, would cure yellow fever) was one of Priestley¿s more successful industrialchemistry efforts, all of which were inspired by the modern education he had received at one of the great Dissenter academies. These had originally been set up in late 17th-century England by Protestants who wouldn¿t accept the return of a monarchy after the failure of Oliver Cromwell¿s Puritan Commonwealth. These guys opened their own schools because those who had refused to sign an oath of allegiance to the throne were barred from going to university, becoming members of Parliament, preaching or trading in the major cities, and taking jobs in the army. So went their options for advancement.