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Friday, June 28, 2019

Hidden Treasures of the Collections: Bottle Capper

The majority of collections that remain at Staatsburgh relate to life "upstairs" in the mansion.  When the family gifted the mansion to New York State in 1938, the rooms upstairs were left largely intact, while servants' spaces were not.  By 1938 several of the rooms in the basement were used as storage areas and they were no longer furnished as they would have been earlier in the family's occupancy.  In addition, many of the tools used by servants are not part of the collections.  Items that were consistently used were often discarded when they were in poor condition and no longer useful.  In addition, as the technology improved, housewares and tools were upgraded.  Taking this into consideration, we are especially excited when we have servant related collections that we can share.  Several of these artifacts were relegated to a closet in the maids quarters and they were not uncovered or accessioned until decades after the rest of the house.

One of those items is the object that we see below, the Everedy Bottle Capper, which was used to secure a cap on a bottle almost as tight as at factory.  This object was first invented and manufactured by the Everedy Company in 1923, which is the approximate date of this item.

Everedy Bottle Capper, circa 1920s

Today Everedy Square in Frederick, Maryland is home to trendy shops and restaurants, but the buildings in Everedy Square once housed the Everedy Company.  The Everedy Company was founded in 1923 and the the bottle capper was the first item that they produced.  The company later began to produce stainless steel pots and pans and other kitchen wares.  They manufactured munitions during World War II, and served as one of the largest employers in Frederick until they closed in 1977.

Everedy Bottle Capper Trademark, circa 1920s

The bottle capper was the company's most popular and successful item, especially during Prohibition (1920-1933).  The bottle capper was marketed for root beer, but as countless Americans "secretly" brewed their own beer at home, the bottle capper was an integral tool in that process.  Many households, including Staatsburgh, owned one.  The bottle capper can also be used to re-cork a bottle of wine.  It adjusts to fit different size bottles.  The following video will demonstrate how the bottle capper can be used to replace a cap or cork on a bottle.

The Frederick, Maryland based company is remembered today by an interpretive sign near the location of the original factory.  This mural, based on a historic advertisement, is part of the public remembrance of the historic use of this space.  Even though the Everedy Company went out of business decades ago, their products can still be found online and in antique shops throughout the country.

Everedy Square, Frederick, MD

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