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Crown Cork & Seal Company photographs

 Collection — Box: 5
Identifier: IAL-2022-001-002

Scope and Contents

This collection includes photographs related to the Crown Cork & Seal Company. The photographs include images of various machinery manufactured by the company, including bottle fillers and machines for the application of lids.


  • 1950 - 1970


Conditions Governing Access

The collections is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this collection in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Biographical / Historical

Crown Cork & Seal Company, a packaging and closure business, found its origins in 1892. The year prior, in 1891, William Painter invented the crown cap, a way of sealing carbonated beverages including soft drinks and beer. He obtained patents 468,226 and 468,258 for the crown cap on February 2, 1892. With patents in hand Painter founded Crown Cork & Seal Company in Baltimore, Md. Painter furthered the business in 1898 by creating a foot-powered, syruper-crowner device which could cap up to 24 bottles a minute. The crowning equipment could be sold to retailers which gave traction to the sales of caps. The use of the crown cap quickly grew and Crown Cap & Seal Company was operating in multiple countries including Brazil, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom by the time of Painter’s death in 1906. The first World War greatly affected sales, but during Prohibition, Crown pivoted towards the soft drink market. In 1927 Charles McManus, creator of the Nepro Cork, a substitute for natural cork, merged New Process Cork & Seal Company with the New Process Cork Company. This merged organization reached $11 million in net sales. The Crown Cork International Corporation was founded in 1928 with the intent of handling Crown’s international business. In the 1930s, Crown expanded its business to including tin cans through its purchase of the Acme Can Company in Philadelphia in 1936. The next year McManus introduced the funnel-shaped quart beer can, “Crowntainer,” after perfecting the electrolytic tin-plating process. During World War II, Crown pivoted to producing some supplies towards the war effort, including the development of a gas mask canister. During this time, Crown also introduced the Kork-N-Seal, the Pour-N-Seal, and the Merit Seal. After the war, Crown continued expanding its operations. In 1952, they introduced the “Spra-tainer,” an aerosol can without a side seam. Despite the expanded operations, the business was on the verge of bankruptcy until John Connelly, a former supplier for Crown, became president of the company in 1957. Connelly made drastic changes to Crown’s operations and pared it down significantly, and, just a year later moved the headquarters from Baltimore to Philadelphia. These decision saved Crown and allowed it to prosper. The 1960s saw the expansion of the consumption of soft drinks–a trend which Crown was able to invest upon. They pivoted once again to the specific needs of soft drinks. In 1969, they introduced the Drawn-N-Ironed, a steel alternative to the aluminum can. Through the latter half of the twentieth century, Crown had a major market share in the packaging of drinks and other products in food, personal care, household and insecticides market. In 1977, net sales reached $1 billion; just twenty years later this reached $8 billion. Crown had a series of acquisitions which enabled them to strengthen their position and enter new markets during the 1970s, 1980, and 1990s. As the end of the twentieth century neared, Crown made a major acquisition by acquiring portions of Continental Can Company, a former major competitor. At this time they also entered the plastics market. In 1992 they acquired CONSTAR International, a manufacturer of PET plastics used in packaging. Shortly after they acquired CarnaudMetalBox, a former leader in the European market. As a final major milestone of the twentieth century, Crown opened their new global headquarters in Philadelphia in 1996. However, the twenty-first century included both ups and downs. In 2000, Crown introduced SuperEnd beverage ends, a major breakthrough in beverage technology. In 2003, Crown Cork & Seal Company completed a major $3.2 billion refinancing plan to form Crown Holdings, Inc.--a public holding company. However, Crown downsized, selling its Global Plastics Closures and Cosmetics Packaging businesses in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Crown continued with new products, such as the EasyLift easy-open ends (2007), EarthSafe Dispensing System (2008), 360 End full aperture end (2010), OrbitClosure twist-off closures (2011), Global Vent dual aperture beverage end (2013), and CrownConnect QR code for beverage can tabs (2018). During this time, Crown expanded into new markets. In 2015 they acquired EMPAQUE, a Mexican packaging manufacturer. Just three years later they acquires Signode Industrial Group Holdings Ltd., which became Crown’s Transit Packaging Division. At the same time, in 2018, the global corporate headquarters moved to Yardley, Pennsylvania. Crown still is in operation today and is a Fortune 500 company. The business touts that nearly 20% of all beverage cans in the world are Crown manufactured. It operates over 100 plants in 41 countries.


.5 Linear Feet (88 8x10 photographs, 7 5x7 photographs) : black & white photographs

Language of Materials


Processing Information

Processing was completed in April 2022 by Melissa Nerino. The photographs were kept in the order in which they were received.

Crown Cork & Seal Company photographs
Melissa Nerino
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Industrial Archives & Library Repository

18 West 4th Street
Bethlehem Pennsylvania 18015 USA