process of utilizing cork closures to seal carbonated beverages was the
industry standard over a very long time span and corks continued to
satisfy selected soft drink industry needs throughout the entire
Hutchinson era. Knowing more
about the use of cork stoppers helps one better understand why the
introduction of closures such as
The Value of a
Where it is a question of retaining the gas in the beverage, an inferior cork should never be used. Mineral waters are the most severe on corkwood, and, unless the best grained cork is obtained, the life of the liquid is bound to escape…The cork cannot be superseded by any as yet discovered material or contrivance for stoppering bottles whose contents are to be preserved for an indefinite time…Carbonated beverages require a firm, close-grained cork, and not a soft, spongy article. Carbonic acid gas will escape through a poor cork in no time, and as the life of a drink depends altogether upon its gaseous nature, an inferior cork cannot but work damage to the goods…
The manufacture of corks in this country is carried on almost entirely by machinery, and is the kind used by bottlers to a large extent. Were it not for machine-cut corks the bottling trade would be compelled to pay enormous prices for their corks, and patent stoppers would be its only salvation. Until a comparatively recent date corks were cut by hand, and it took an experienced workman a whole day to finish a thousand marketable corks, with great waste of material. Today a machine run by steam and attended by a small girl does fifty times the amount of work with unerring precision and the smallest possible waste of material…
There is no disputing the fact that corks will always remain in use by bottlers, notwithstanding the apparent activity in patent bottle stoppers. The trade cannot close its eyes to the objections raised against the bottler by consumers, which the former never meets with, and bottlers are advised to buy none but good quality corks for the proper preservation of a fine grade of beverages, either carbonated or fermented…
Preparing Corks for Bottling.
Before use, clean the corks in clear cool water to remove all dust; if they are yet hard, soak them in summer in cold, in winter in warm, water a little while. Hot water should not be used, as the corks would get too soft and lose their bright color. It is recommended to add a little sweet oil (olive oil) to the warm water they are soaked in, so that the corks can be forced easily into the head of the bottle…
Second-hand corks find a ready market among some bottlers who want to reduce their cost to a minimum and yet have the prestige of using corks.
The quality of the beverage is not benefited, and many instances are known where the use of an unclean cork, of the second-hand variety, has contaminated the contents. Therefore, should this practice be followed, the bottler cannot be too careful in cleansing them, or too cautious is ascertaining the character of the places from which they have been gathered.
Second-hand corks, after lying for weeks around in bar rooms, covered with bad-smelling and fermenting vegetations, are sold to dealers, who subject them to a kind of bleaching process, run them through a smoothing machine, and sell them to bottlers, weiss-beer brewers and others, for use again. A cork may be ever so well cleaned, but the internal fissures in it always retain some of the vegetations referred to, and communicate its ravaging properties to the liquids they are used to preserve…
Securing the Corks in the Bottles.
The pressure of the gas in a bottle of carbonated beverage necessitates the employment of some means of holding the cork in its place. This may be done in several ways. The oldest method is merely to tie the cork fast to the bottle mouth with twine.
The wire cork fastener for ordinary saccharine beverages is in almost universal use, and all that is necessary to secure the cork is to push the cork fastener over the cork before removing the bottling-machine plunger.
For ginger-ale bottles wires are used to secure the corks. Also caps to prevent the wire from cutting into the cork. The name and address of the manufacturer may be stamped in the caps.