bottlers were injured by exploding
Charles Sulz addressed the topic of safety in his 1888 book, A Treatise on Beverages or The Complete Practical Bottler, with the following comments and illustrations:
For the safety of the operator, to protect him against injury from the glass fragments of bursting bottles, safety screens are attached to the bottling machines as seen in the illustrations. Instead of them, or even besides, wire bottle-screens are used, especially where beverages under high pressure in pint or quart bottles are to be filled, and their employment affords greater safety or protection. These bottle screens are made of steel wire, well tinned, and are strong and durable. Other appliances for protection and safety for face and eye are wire masks and wire eye protectors; for hands ‘bottling gloves’ are used. When a moderate and standard pressure is maintained for ordinary bottling the safety screens attached to the bottling machines afford all the protection that is necessary; for bottling highly charged beverages in large-sized bottles, it is well to care for additional protection by employing the other appliances.
Bottling Pressure. – The usual pressure to bottle at should not exceed 60 to 80 lbs. for saccharine beverages. Plain soda waters are frequently bottled at from 80 to 100 lbs., siphons at from 120 to 140 lbs. of pressure. Carbonated beverages going to hot climates should not be charged higher than 30 to 45 lbs.; but the liquid must be thoroughly agitated to impregnate it with gas. No greater mistake is made by bottlers than when they attempt to charge their beverages with excessive high pressure…
Complaints of bursting of bottles are frequent. This is due to overcharged or badly annealed or cracked bottles, and they burst nearly always in the process of bottling, as it is at that moment that the greatest pressure is inflicted upon them. The exploding of bottles afterwards is partly due to the same cause, but also to changes in temperature and rough treatment while on transportation and other similar causes. Accidents not infrequently happen, and such of a most painful character are known, and the carbonator can guard against them by properly charging and bottling his beverages.
Testing Carbonated Beverages…A requisite for bottling is a test gauge. This is an instrument for ascertaining the pressure of gas in the bottles filled with carbonated waters…Fig. 258 is a device for being attached to the…pressure gauge and used when testing the pressure in patent bottles. The under part of the tongs is shaped like a fork: this is placed under the ring or neck of the bottle, when, by compressing the handle, the plug on upper part will be brought on to the top of the stopper in the bottle, and so force it away from its seat the pressure can now be noted, and by reversing the bottle the tongs can be taken off, the stopper will take its seat, and the bottle be again closed.
Early industry trade publications contained numerous references to mishaps involving bottlers. Here’s an example from the December 15, 1897 issue of The Western Bottler:
S. F. Ellingwood demands that the Omaha Bottling Company pay him $5,000 for an eye he lost while in the employ of the defendant. Ellingwood alleges that he was employed by the defendant, laboring as a soda water bottle filler. While so engaged, he alleges, on September 6th last, a bottle exploded and that fragments of the glass flew into his eye, destroying the sight of the organ. He further alleges that the machinery in the factory was defective, as was the bottle, and that consequently the defendant is responsible for the accident.
W. H. Hutchinson & Son supplied numerous safety-related products specifically designed to provide additional protection for bottlers. Here are examples of several items advertised in their 1908 Bottler's Book:
Most of the bottling industry
supply houses offered face masks during the