Leisure => Drinking Establishments & Hotels => Breweries => Topic started by: Islesy on February 03, 2010, 20:13:59

Title: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: Islesy on February 03, 2010, 20:13:59
Not specific to Kent I know, but the county has had so many breweries etc. During a recent 'off piste' foray, Unfairytale and I came across a couple of threaded bottle stoppers from brown glass bottles that we presumed were beer bottles (just the remains of the necks unfortunately).

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4060/4328615426_0b2cb827a6.jpg)

They're made of a sort of bakelite type material, and are marked "War Grade". Does anyone (I'm looking at you particularly Sheppey_Bottles!!), know any history behind these?

So this got me thinking...would different breweries have unique bottle stoppers,
or would they be stock items?

I hand the floor over to.....
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: sheppey_bottles on February 04, 2010, 10:01:23
This is the first 'war grade' stopper I have seen so cannot give you any history on it i'm afraid. These stoppers are made of a hard rubber which I think was called vulcanite and they had a soft rubber sealing washer, my thought is that rubber was in short supply so all the rubber went to the war effort and bottle stoppers used maybe an inferior material for a while..just a thought.
The internal screw stopper was the brainchild of Henry Barrett around 1870 and took the place of the cork on most beer bottles. Up to this point most beer was sold from the cask but with this excellent method of reusable closure bottled beers really took off. The embossing of beers as a form of advert was widely used so it followed on that the stoppers carried company names and trademarks also. In answer to the question were unique stoppers used for each company the answer is basicaly yes and I have taken a photo of a few of mine to show this, please see below. An American invented the Crown cap in the 1890's and this came into use on our beer bottles after the turn of the century but being of 'once only use' it is found mainly on half pint bottles, pints and especialy quarts used the resealable screw stopper.

(http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l218/Sheppey_bottles_John/stoppers.jpg)
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: Islesy on February 04, 2010, 10:22:01
That's fantastic info sheppey_bottles, exactly what I was hoping for. Great collection by the way, are they all as a result of digging rubbish dumps/glass dumps? Love to join you if end up in this part of Kent.
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: ellenkate on February 04, 2010, 10:33:02

Hello Sheppey Bottles -
Interesting bottle stoppers - have you any information on the "Russells of Gravesend"  Shrimp Brand?  firm?  And who ran it ? 
I am always interested in any Russell families connected to shellfish, my Russell ancestors were, in various parts of southern/eastern england, oyster and shellfish dealers.
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: Paul on February 04, 2010, 10:47:26
Ive got a Tizer one :)

Its square at the top,Theres thousands of them at Surrey Docks,London.  All types, bottles aswell bot not flaggons.
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: sheppey_bottles on February 04, 2010, 11:38:30
Glad your happy Isley, they come from various sources fairs, boots, bottle digging friends and a few I have dug myself..although most of the old dumps have dried up now as they have been built on etc and I aint as young as I used to be. Most of my digging around is on good old Ebay :)

ellenkate, there is very little info about on these companies but I have found this basic stuff in one of my books..maybe someone local to Gravesend has researched the history but I have not...sorry. I know it is the lazy way to do it but here is the page from an excellent book called Bygone Breweries by Keith Osborne and published by Rochester Press. ISBN
 0 905540 77 8. Hope that is of some help to you.

(http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l218/Sheppey_bottles_John/shrimp.jpg)
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: seafordpete on February 04, 2010, 12:03:40
We had a wooden Simmonds Reading brought into the museum last year, a beach find. Only ever seen vulcanite before
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: sheppey_bottles on February 04, 2010, 14:37:16
I have one of those wooden ones somewhere seafordpete..they are very uncommon. If I remember correctly the wording is inscribed into the wood top and mine has this filled in with a red colour but I cannot remember if it is a Kent company or not. I also have a couple that are made from glazed stoneware which probably were made for stone ginger beer bottles rather than glass. There is another vulcanite version which again I have somewhere that has a chisel shaped top, Rileys patent I think it is called..gave you a better grip to open I think the idea was!

PS..  picked up an old sign recently for Martins Pale Ale brewed by Simmonds of
 Reading..strange ehh.
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: seafordpete on February 04, 2010, 15:27:29
I have one of those wooden ones somewhere seafordpete..they are very uncommon. If I remember correctly the wording is inscribed into the wood top and mine has this filled in with a red colour but I cannot remember if it is a Kent company or not. I also have a couple that are made from glazed stoneware which probably were made for stone ginger beer bottles rather than glass. There is another vulcanite version which again I have somewhere that has a chisel shaped top, Rileys patent I think it is called..gave you a better grip to open I think
the idea was!

PS..  picked up an old sign recently for Martins Pale Ale brewed by Simmonds of Reading..strange ehh.

As you say worded on the top, no trace of colour infill but it was out of the sea so may have been. I wonder if the Riley top was a move to mechanise the capping? Normal method was by hand using a "flogger" a thing a bit like a sail makers palm that had a wedge shaped grip  to it didn't matter where it fitted. Bottle held in the left hand and twisted anticlockwise, top in the right and twisted clockwise so it was a quick operation. Bottling hall women had BIG muscles
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: sheppey_bottles on February 04, 2010, 15:54:20
I am sure you are right seafordpete most of the bottles had a machine invented to fill and stopper them, the codd ( globe stopered bottle) had various machines to fill it, turn it over and seal it etc. The chisel top lends itself to a mechanised action..I will try and dig it out and put a picture on and the stone versions as well. I am sure I have some adverts for bottle filling machines as well but I am a bit of a hoarder and very disorganised so don't hold your breath :) and the rest of you stop yawning.
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: seafordpete on February 04, 2010, 16:01:46
The "stone" ones coulg be ginger beer etc or from stone hot water bottles, one large stopper, 1 small one
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: Merv on February 04, 2010, 16:50:27
Dove Phillips and Petts, of Strood were still ueing them stone ones in the 60's
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: seafordpete on February 04, 2010, 16:53:51
There was some link to Fremlins with Dove Pett & Phillips, when I joined them in 1970 the Head Brewers Secretary was Mrs Phillips who was of that firm
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: unfairytale on February 04, 2010, 17:04:59
My new find fits nicely into my last one: This Elveys Mineral water bottle,
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2691/4226754446_0e98375295.jpg)
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: ellenkate on February 05, 2010, 18:52:32

Thank you Sheppey Bottles for the info on Russells Brewery of Gravesend, which was started by a John Russell c.1858. 
Still interested to know why they called it "Shrimp Brand".

Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: sheppey_bottles on February 05, 2010, 23:13:57
Gravesend was the centre of the local Shrimp fishing industry through the 1800's and up to quite recent..it may still be carried on there as I seem to remember Shrimps coming ashore near the Ship and Lobster? at Denton in ther early 1970's when we fished near the Sea School stretch.. The type of boat used was called a bawley and I have had a look through my books to see if the name Russell ties in with any boat owners or traders but nothing found. it looks like they ran the brewery instead of fishing. So that is why the brewery has a Shrimp as it's trademark I should think.
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: Merv on February 05, 2010, 23:46:13
A Guy called Phil Bennet and his Father were has far as I know still taking part in Shrimper Races and maintaining old boats.
Phils Father had the cricketers pub a few years ago and I believe Phil still is a Landlord of another in Gravesend
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: Islesy on December 05, 2011, 20:44:30
I haven't managed to unearth any info on this particular stopper. Discovered amongst building waste dating from the 1930s to '50s, including that of at least one pub (Leney's/Rigden's).

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7147/6461682827_76f9a036a5_z.jpg)

Mark on the top is "MONSTERS" with 3 dots below it. I have other bottle finds from this site which I'll post up once they've cleaned.

Can anyone offer any more background/history?
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: CDP on December 05, 2011, 21:37:58
Are the three dots for use with a special  tool to open and close the MONSTER stopper tightly ? That was my first thought when I saw the holes. ( Leverage and all that !)
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: Islesy on December 06, 2011, 09:43:51
I wouldn't think so CDP, they're quite shallow and show no signs of wear but I'll reserve judgement until someone that knows more on the subject comes along.
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: sheppey_bottles on December 06, 2011, 10:24:46
Monster was a franchise type company and I myself have found these stoppers in the past along with plain bottles with no town name but Monster heavily embossed down the side. You see quite a few enamel signs with just the word 'Monsters' on them...anyway if you click this link below and scroll down there is good info and lovely pictures...

PS... Do not have a clue re three impressed dots in the vulcanite? top and have not seen them on other tops as far as I can remember and I have got a few.

 http://www.diggersdiary.co.uk/Articles/ArthurParishMorton/Morton_Boston.htm
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: Islesy on December 06, 2011, 12:03:54
Making them something akin to Corona in the 1970s then Sheppey Bottles?
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: sheppey_bottles on December 06, 2011, 12:08:52
Yes I should say so Islesy..Corona now that is a company I have not heard of in long while. Some breweries brew a beer or larger under licence and I should imagine this is a similair kind of set up nowadays. Where we lived at Plumstead Mackintosh were the Local company that came round our streets and R. Whites were the biggest name in the shops.
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: seafordpete on December 06, 2011, 16:44:29
Corona got eaten up (or should i say drunk) by Beechams and then Britvic. There was a massive amount of brand shuffling in the 1970s Britvic/Bass/Whitbread set up Britania Soft drinks which then had R Whites, Pepsi, Rawlings etc. 
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: Islesy on December 06, 2011, 16:53:31
Found a sign anyway!

(http://www.advertisingantiques.co.uk/Portals/19/VizGallery2819/1989.jpg)

The product was a fizzy lemonade type drink, pre-dating the appeal of Coca Cola, which although on sale in the USA, did not go on regular sale in the UK until the 1920s. 1d Monsters get a mention in George Orwell's 'Coming Up For Air':
 
"And what about Penny Monsters? Does one ever see a Penny Monster nowadays? It was a huge bottle, holding more than a quart
of fizzy lemonade, all for a penny. That's another thing that the war killed stone dead."
Title: Re: Beer Bottle Stoppers
Post by: NWAG DIGGER on January 07, 2012, 14:40:11
You can find a refeence to  Wooden stopper on our website
http://northwag.org/joomladev/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=8&Itemid=79 (http://northwag.org/joomladev/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=8&Itemid=79)
Here is part of the text.
Quote
“The internal screw stopper was the brainchild of Henry Barrett around 1870 and took the place of the cork on most beer bottles. Up to this point most beer was sold from the cask but with this excellent method of reusable closure bottled beers really took off. The embossing of beers as a form of advert was widely used so it followed on that the stoppers carried company names and trademarks also. In answer to the question “Were unique stoppers used for each company ?” The answer is basically “Yes “and I have taken a photo of a few of mine to show this please see below. An American invented the Crown cap in the 1890's and this came into use on our beer bottles after the turn of the century but being of 'once only use' it is found mainly on half pint bottles, pints and especially quarts used the resealable screw stopper.”
My text in report
Quote
The stopper is made from turned wood  with the grain clearly visible. The edge is milled at about 2 mm intervals. There is no sign of it having been embosssed with a name but the hole for the lathe spindle is visible.  Perhaps this represents an early type later superceded by moulded ones. Traces of a red rubber sealing ring remain. It could not have been in use prior to 1870.

Top diameter. 2.5 cms
I indicate a date for historical reasons of :- 1870 to 1884. I havn't included the whole text but you may like to read it in full anyway and explore our popular website.