Friday 20th October 2017

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Henry Barrett, in 1872, invented this particular type of screw stopper – and they were subsequently used then for well over 100 years until the 1970s. Henry actually patented the design in the early 1880s, and he was also the person who designed the internal screw thread for the interior of the bottle neck.
The stoppers themselves are made from hard, non-elastic, India rubber, also known as vulcanite. The process of “vulcanisation” involved heating rubber to 115 degrees Celsius with sulphur and also linseed oil – thereby converting it into a more durable material. The stoppers are also sometimes described as being made from ebonite, which in fact was the brand name for the vulcanised rubber patented by Charles Goodyear in 1846.

During the war, with rubber in short supply, it is possible that an inferior material was used for a while. Also, the scooped out stopper means that less material was used. The stoppers made in this fashion during the war, were stamped with “war grade”.

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