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OPENERS - for Bottles, Cans...

​There are over 20 different categories of beer advertising openers, and hundreds of different types, as presented in the publication "Advertising Openers..." by Donald A. Bull & John R. Stanley, published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2014. However, the main types of bottle openers provided by brewers were for; 1) Wire cutters and openers, used mostly  before the invention of the crown / bottle cap (in 1892), 2) bottles and "cone tops," 3) churchkeys for flat top cans,  so named because they would leave a triangle mark when used that resembles the roof of a church, but that also usually allowed the opening of bottles on its other side, and 4) combination and multi-purpose openers, for bottles and/or cans along with one or more of the following - cork screw, screw driver, cigar cutter, ice pic and even a kitchen utensil (e.g. spoon, spatula...). One of the major companies that made openers of various types was the Vaughan Specialty Co. in Chicago, IL. Please see more information about the the Vaughn Co

BOTTLE OPENERS a/k/a Cap Lifters

Pre-Prohibition: The very early examples of bottle openers before the crown cap was invented in 1892 had wire cutters and a cork screw to remove the stopper on the bottle that was held down with wire. After 1892, the Crown Cork and Seal that invented the crown / bottle cap also provided an opener, and other companies also started providing them.  Thus far, we do not have examples of these early Bavarian Brewing Co. openers before Prohibition. If anyone has such an opener, or openers not provided below, please let us know


After Prohibition: Even though some brewers started using flat top cans that required a can opener in the mid 1930s, most brewers started using cone top cans that had bottle caps, and did not have a flat top requiring a can opener. They did this to avoid the expense of having a separate canning operation.  So, for many brewers, like Bavarian, there was only a need for bottle openers until about 1955 when Bavarian started to make flat top cans. (Please see Beer Cans.)


Circa Mid-1940s to Early 1960s. Examples of different versions of bottle openers are displayed below. The first item is an "Over the top" bottle opener probably made in the late 1940s. In the row below it there are two different color versions of the same opener (one platinum and the other gold) probably made in the early 1950s, which are stamped with "Bavarian Brewing Co., Covington, KY." On the last row are wire formed openers. The one that says "Old Style" date from in te early to mid 1950s. The last  one that says the "Bold Beer" was from around 1964 when this saying was used by IBI. (See Ads: 1957-1966.)


When "flat top" beer cans began to be used more commonly in the late 1940s and 1950s in general, but not until the mid 1950s for Bavarian's, a different type of opener was needed that could pierce a flat steel can. They are referred to as "can piercers" or "church keys."  Because this was a different type of opener was needed, they were sometimes included with a six pack of canned beer. They were also designed with a combination of a can piercer/cap lifter. The Bavarian Beer opener dates around the mid 1940's, the IBI opener is from the early 1960s and the Bavarian/s opener may be from around 1958.   


Brewers also offered a bottle opener for both flat tops and cans; sometimes a cork screw would also be included to be use for wine.  This particular opener below, referred to in general as a "can and bottle shape opener" and is more specifically  known as the "Tap Boy" made by Vaughan Co., Chicago, IL under Patent  No. 170,999, December, 1953, as cited on pg. 132 of the previously mentioned "Advertising Openers" publication. The images show both sides of the opener; the one on the left is with a can opener and corkscrew and the one on the right  is with a bottle opener. Since Bavarian/s is not shown on this opener, it was made before the acquisition of Bavarian in 1959, but after 1956. Another version of this same opener is shown after IBI acquired c. 1960, with some different inscriptions and the inclusion of Bavarian's.