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The crown cork (also known as a crown seal, crown cap or just a cap), the first form of crimped bottle cap, was invented by Charles Robert Spencer. Mr. Spencer was a machinist working in the machine shop owned by William Painter in Baltimore. The company owner - Mr Painter - applied for and received the patent. Later, the invention was sold to another company. The company which began mass production was originally called the Bottle Seal Company, but it changed its name with the almost immediate success of the crown cork to the Crown Cork and Seal Company. It still informally goes by that name, but is officially Crown Holdings. Crown corks are similar to the Pilfer proof caps, as usage of both products is to seal the bottle.

The crown cork was the first highly successful disposable product (it can be resealed but not easily). This inspired King C. Gillette to invent the disposable razor when he was a salesman for the Crown Cork Company. The firm still survives, producing many forms of packaging.

Prior to the invention of the crown cork bottle stopper, soda bottles had ordinary cork bottle stoppers and often had rounded bottoms so they could not be stored standing upright. The reason for this is corks have a tendency to dry out and shrink, which allows the gas pressure in the bottle to cause the cork to "pop." Storing bottles on their side prevents the corks from drying out and "popping." After the invention of the crown cork bottle stopper, this problem was eliminated, and soda bottles could be stored standing upright.

Crown corks are collected by people around the world who admire the variety of designs and relative ease of storage. Collectors tend to prefer the term crown cap over corks.

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