John Klee Bottle Stopper

U.S. Patent Number: 231,230                               Patented: August 17, 1880

John Klee’s patent application was filed October 13, 1879 and specified:

I, John Klee, of Dayton…Ohio, have invented certain new and useful Improvements…(relating)…to an improvement in bottle-stoppers of that class which are suspended within the neck or throat of the bottle, and which are held in place by being drawn up into said neck and by the expansive force of the contents.

The novelty of my invention consists in the combination, with an internal bottle-stopper, of the grasping-loop made of a continuous piece of wire with rigidly-fastened ends and provided with lateral curves or shoulders near its upper end…

In the accompanying drawings, Figure 1 is a section view of a bottle in elevation, showing the application of my improved stopper drawn up to close the bottle.  Fig. 2 is a corresponding view with the stopper pushed in.  Fig. 3 is a modification in the construction of the stopper.

A. represents the bottle, of any suitable construction.  B. is the head-piece or plug, of metal, either in two parts, to clamp the rubber disk C. between them, or made solid with a circumferential groove, into which the eye in the disk fits by being drawn over the upper smaller portion of the head.

D. represents the spring guide-stem and grasping-loop, made of comparatively light wire…bent to form two nearly parallel stems, a, united at their upper ends by the portion b, and bent in at their lower ends and secured in any suitable manner to plug B

The stems a are bent outward about halfway of their length to form the curved shoulders c, and the upper portion, b, is projected beyond the line of the stems by similar shoulders d.  The distance apart of the stems a is such that when inserted in the neck of the bottle the shoulders c bind slightly against the neck, and thus prevent the loop from rattling, and at the same time when the stopper is forced down, as in Fig. 2, so as to open the bottle, the stopper is held from returning or slipping back as the bottle is inverted.

Instead of having the lower ends of the loop enter the head B, they may be connected by solder to a short stem, f, Fig. 3, which stem is riveted or screwed into the head.

I am aware that spring grasping-loops have been employed in connection with suspended stoppers, as shown in…patents to…C. G. Hutchinson, and…J. B. Miller; but in both these cases the spring-loops had one or both ends free, and required heavier wire to render them effective.  My loop, on the contrary, has its ends rigidly fastened, thus producing a much more efficient spring and enabling me to use lighter wire.


Numerous variants of bottles utilized by John Klee have been found in the Indianapolis, Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, and Dayton, Ohio areas where Klee operated bottling plants.  The Indiana bottles are embossed with a K, K & C, or KLEE & COLEMAN.  The Kentucky bottles are embossed K. C. & Co. with S.G.W. / LOU. KY on the base. The Ohio bottles are embossed with a K, K & C, K & C CO., K C & Co., and KLEE / K / DAYTON, O.  These bottles look like typical Hutchinson bottles even though they likely utilized Klee’s Bottle Stopper, not Hutchinson’s Patent Spring Stopper.  Collectors refer to them as “Hutchinsons” whether they’re found with Klee or Hutchinson stoppers, so they have been included in the Hutchison Bottle Directory.

In spite of the obvious similarity to Charles G. Hutchinson’s earlier patent, the U.S. Patent Office apparently approved John Klee’s patent application because of his “improvements.”  125+ years later it appears Klee may have tweaked Hutchinson’s patent slightly and filed it as his own in hopes of grabbing a portion of the lucrative stopper market.  There is no evidence he achieved any marketing success with his closure.