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The bottle top is a deceptively simple object made strong by its precise and complex shape. It withstands the pressure of carbonated drinks and keeps them fresh, easy to transport and simple to store.


The metal bottle top was invented by William Painter in 1892. Until then carbonated drinks bottles had round bottoms and were stored on their side to prevent the corks from drying out and letting the gas seep away. The moulded cap is pressed over the bottle grabbing onto the flange around the neck and forming an airtight seal.


The basic cap is formed from a coated steel blank which is pressed into a mould by a shaped former. Initially a paper layer was fitted inside the cap to prevent the liquid from making contact with the metal. Today this has been replaced with a plastic seal. 


The form of the elevation [side view] is compact and complex which makes it challenging to observe and therefore to draw. The curved undercuts contrast with the bright ‘ridges’ and change as they catch the light, casting shadows in a variety of ways.

The base view shows a slightly concave inner circle of plastic coating, surrounded by raised rings and deep recesses enclosed within the serrated outer rim, the edge of which reflects varying amounts of light and creates deep shadows.

An image of the elements that were created to make the drawing

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