We’re holding history in our hands.
It took us years to find somebody who would make this, then months to get them manufactured before they travelled 3,806 miles to get here.
We found a small family-run business in Shropshire who uses original antique equipment at a historic foundry to cast us solid iron bottle openers.
They were not cheap. Or fast. And hard as hell to make - in all ways.
But It felt like a solid fit for us, given that our tagline at camp is: “Not new, not improved since 1925”
Our openers were cast in the patented “1924” patent design.
OUR PARTNER IS OLD SCHOOL:
The @TheBritishBottleCompany manufactures in a foundry called “Branford’s” (Est. 1889)- that’s in ’The Black Country’ (which is famous for its industrial heritage). It got it’s name due to black soot that used to fill the air in the streets factories there. Peak production at Branford’s back in the day was 95,000 openers per week (5 moulders worked a 5 day week producing 100 boxes of 38 openers per day)
THE 10-STEP PROCESS MADE THE HARD WAY:
+ The letters were set up in a pantograph engraving machine and an incised mirror image engraved in a brass block.
+ This was used as the master to produce copies.
+ A pattern was made from aluminium & placed in box split in 2 halves.
+ Sand, mixed with resin and acid was rammed into place around the pattern.
+ The acid cured the resin which consolidated the sand into a mould.
+ The box was then split and pattern removed.
+ The box was re-assembled and molten iron poured down a central runner such that it flowed to each opener mould .
+ When cool, the box was split and the openers removed.
+ The barrel was pivoted on trunnions at both ends (so the openers could be tumbled for 10 hours)
+ Then “Sand and flash” (extraneous attached bits of metal were rubbed off)
*The result is strong- that’s why our openers come with a lifetime guarantee.
THE BIRTH OF THE BOTTLE OPENER:
Became common after the “crown top” was invented in America in 1892. ( Before that, beer came with attached stoppers) As this new top became the standard, bottle openers boomed, usually custom ads for bars, beer & restaurants. The Wandawega Inn may have even had their own back in the day, we’ll never know… but we are grateful to craftspeople like Craig & Rob making ours. (shown pouring & operating the furnace here)
➕ SIZE: 3.5” x 1.5”
➕ SIDE 1 IMPRINT: ‘Wandawega Inn’ / SIDE 2 IMPRINT: ‘founded 1925’
➕ FINISH: original cast iron
➕ ARRIVES: in our linen drawstring bag
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