Joel B. Miller Bottle Stopper

U. S. Patent Number: 156,302                Patented: October 27, 1874

Joel B. Miller’s patent application was filed January 31, 1874 and specified:

I, Joel B. Miller, of Rondout…New York, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Bottle-Stoppers…in which…

Figure 1 is a vertical section, giving a side view of the attachment, showing the stopper detached from the neck, or loosened so as to allow of the discharge of the contents of the bottle.  Fig. 2 is a vertical section, giving an edge view of the attachment, showing the stopper closing the neck.

This invention relates to that class of bottle-stoppers which are located inside the bottle to close the mouth of the same; and it consists in providing a stopper, arranged in the manner referred to, with a bail or handle hinged or jointed to the top of the stopper, and provided with an enlarged upper end or eye, which is designed to prevent the stopper from falling to the bottom of the bottle, and also serve as a handle or finger-loop to facilitate the drawing of the stopper into the neck of the bottle.

A represents the bottle.  B is the stopper, and C is the attachment.  D is a wire or rod which passes longitudinally through the stopper, or is in any manner substantially attached to it, having an eye at its upper end, to which the handle of bail C is fastened, as seen in the drawing.  The handle or bail is composed of a wire or rod, which is bent to form two parallel arms or legs, and a loop or eye, F, at its upper end, said loop being designed to prevent the handle from slipping into the bottle.  The handle is staple-shaped, and the legs of the staple bow outward, so as to form springs which bear against the sides of the throat.

To fill the bottle or discharge its contents the stopper is forced down and suspended in the bottle, as seen in Fig. 1.

For closing the bottle, the stopper is drawn up, as seen in Fig. 2, as tightly as it could be if forced down from the outside in the usual manner.  It is forced down, and raised up for opening or closing with perfect ease, the peculiar form of bail or handle greatly facilitating the opening and closing of the bottle.

I am aware that internally-located bottle-stoppers have been provided with vertical rigid handles or stems, for manipulating the same, but owing to the rigid character of the handle the stopper is apt to be forced down into the bottle during transportation, and, furthermore, in dispensing the contents of the bottle, a rigid handle will interfere with the free flow of the liquid.

My invention is designed to avoid these defects, for, by hinging or jointing the handle to the stopper, the same can be turned away from the mouth of the bottle in dispensing the contents thereof, and, furthermore, by making the handle of a bow shape, or with two legs or branches, the latter will, owing to their elasticity, spring against the throat of the bottle, so as to render the casual displacement of the stopper impossible.


Joel B. Miller’s 1874 patent is the earliest reference noted concerning the use of a flexible, internal wire with attached stopper.  Unfortunately, the patent application didn’t specify the material used for B, the stopper.  There is no evidence Miller achieved any marketing success with his closure.  One is left wondering, however, if the flexible wire provided inspiration for the design and patenting of Hutchinson’s Patent Spring Stopper five years later.

Note: See Miller’s 1881 patent for improvements to his 1874 patent.