I'm not a huge fan of antiques in general, but there are times when certain items do catch my interest. After my wife and I moved into our new house, I decided that I wanted to mount a stationary bottle opener somewhere in our kitchen.
After researching these for a while, I remembered all of the old, classic Coca Cola bottle openers that I used to see mounted in stores near the coolers --- I remember them from the 1980s while growing up and would see in a store whenever I would get a glass coke bottle to drink. Maybe this is a southern thing -- I have no idea if this was prevelant elsewhere. Anyway, I decided I wanted one.
Having done a little research, I came across this post at Coca Cola Collectors, a blog about what you think it's about.
An original Coca-Cola bottle opener would have the “STARR X” logo with “Brown Co” written on the front. According to Brown Manufacturing Company, producers of the bottle openers, the first ‘Drink Coca-Cola’ STARR “X” bottle openers started to appear around 1929. Around this time, the ‘Coca-Cola’ STARR bottle opener evolved to the Starr “X” design.
Thomas C. Hamilton, a citizen of Boston, Massachusetts, filed for a patent on September 18, 1924 for a Bottle Cap Puller. The patent, 1,534,211, was issued on April 21, 1925. In 1943, certain modifications were made to the patent allowing a new patent for #2,333,088 to be issued to Raymond Brown, the owner of Brown Mfg. Company. Prior to the early 1970’s, all bottle openers were cast in various foundries throughout the USA. Since then and until December 31, 2006, all ‘Drink Coca-Cola’ STARR “X” bottle openers have been cast at the Brown foundry in Germany.
The site goes on to say there are two versions of this opener. Both versions look like this on the front:
All Starr "X" openers look like this on the front, with the only difference being the patent number it lists. All openers made after 1943 will have the newer patent number.
The other difference is on the back. Any opener made between 1929 - the early 1970s would say "Made in the USA". This meant it was molded at any of the foundries throughout the USA that the Brown Co. used. Starting in the 70's, the Brown Manufacturing Company shifted their foundry to West Germany. Any openers made from the early 1970s - 1991 say "Made in W. Germany". Finally, any that say "Made in Germany" were built from 1991 - 2006.
As best I can tell, the Brown Manufacturing Company stopped making these bottle openers in-house in 2006 and now outsources their construction to various other companies, mostly in China. From online reviews, their quality doesn't compare to the vintage openers.
After scouring Ebay for a few days last Novemeber, I managed to win an auction for a vintage Starr "X" opener that was made in West Germany (so in between 1970 - 1991) still in the original box with the original screws. Tonight I finally decided where in our kitchen I wanted to mount it and did so. I'm quite happy with how well it mounted -- it feels very sturdy.
Below are a few more pictures of the box and the opener, mounted.