William Painter (inventor)
William Painter (November 20, 1838 – July 15, 1906) was an American mechanical engineer, inventor and the founder of Crown Holdings, Inc., a Fortune 500 company. He most notably invented the crown cork bottle cap and bottle opener.
Painter was born in Triadelphia, Montgomery County, Maryland to Dr. Edward Painter and Louisa Gilpin Painter. He was the third of seven children, although two died in infancy. He moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 1865 to begin a career as a foreman at the Murrill & Keizer's machine shop. He worked with manufacturers to develop a universal neck for all glass bottles and started Crown Cork and Seal in 1892 to manufacture caps that could be used to seal the universal necks. Painter patented 85 inventions, including the common bottle cap, the bottle opener, a machine for crowning bottles, a paper-folding machine, a safety ejection seat for passenger trains, and a machine for detecting counterfeit currency. He was inducted to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.