William L. Roorbach Bottle Stopper

U.S. Patent Numbers: 320,701                       Patented: June 23, 1885

William L. Roorbach’s patent application was filed March 27, 1885 and specified:

I, William L. Roorbach…of PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Bottle-Stoppers…in which…

Figure 1 represents a vertical section of a bottle and stopper embodying my invention.  Fig. 2 represents a vertical section of a modification thereto…

My invention consists in an improvement in the class of internal bottle-stoppers in which a bottle is provided with a grooved neck to receive rubber packing, of the form of an annulus, whose outer circumference conforms to the shape of the groove, and whose inner circumference has an inclined face forming a “rise,” on which the stopper has a seat, the top and bottom of said inner circumference being flush with the neck of the bottle…

Primarily, the stopper is inserted in the neck of the bottle, and the packing is them compressed in the groove B, so that it closes part of the space of the neck, preventing the escape of the stopper.  The bottle is filled and charged in any suitable manner, and the pressure within the same holds the stopper on its seat.

In my former patent the packing is of cylindrical form, and when compressed in the groove it assumes the double conical or inclined form of the groove; but the upper and lower portions of the packing are liable to loosen as they are compressed to less extent than the middle portion, and thus the packing imperfectly holds the stopper. 

In the present case the packing bears uniformly against the side wall of the groove, and its upper and lower edges, being covered by the top and bottom walls of the groove, are not liable to slip out of the groove and the packing remains reliable in position.  It will also be seen that the stopper makes a joint on the rise of the inner circumference of the packing, thus keeping the contents of the bottle from coming in contact with the rubber, and exerts a pressure diagonally upwardly and laterally outwardly on the packing, so that the latter is more tightly pressed against the upper inner corner of the groove, and its retention in the groove is assured.


This is the second of three inter-related patents filed by William L. Roorbach.  In addition to this U.S. patent, this stopper was patented in England on December 30, 1884.  Given Roorbach’s specifications, it appears these improvements were filed to overcome problems with the rubber bushing or packing slipping out of the horizontal groove in the mouth of the bottles.  Once again he failed to specify the material from which the stopper was manufactured or how it would have been moved into the mouth of the bottle after filling.  Examples of this bottle have been found with a hollow, brown marble as the stopper.  These marbles float, so most likely the bottles were filled in an upright position, quickly inverted so the marble fit against the bushing, and then righted again.  The CO2 exerted downward surface pressure on the liquid, and upward pressure on the marble, holding it in place against the bushing.  Roorbach achieved very limited marketing success on a national basis.