Dorri Partain

Whether you need to open your glass bottle beverage or reseal it for freshness, these handy gadgets courtesy of local landmark Hotel President are useful souvenirs.

Originally sealed with corks, bottled beverages needed a new tool to open them when bottlers began using metal crown caps in 1892. Two years after inventor William Painter (1838-1906) developed the metal cap for his Crown Cork and Seal Company, he also created a simple opener, the church key. Inventors have since devised numerous styles, both plain and fancy. This wire-style metal opener, designed around 1910, has Hotel President stamped on one side of the handle and Kansas City, Mo., stamped on the opposite.

To reseal the bottle, one could reuse the metal cap if it wasn’t too crooked from the removal process. Following the popularity of plastic kitchen wares following World War II, several companies began offering plastic caps that were more effective for an airtight seal.

While some versions were just a snap-on cap, as shown, others had an attached ring that would slip over the bottle’s neck, keeping it handy for resealing. Tupperware’s Keep-Kap #198 was made of opaque, flexible plastic while the snap-on caps were a more rigid plastic. Both styles could be imprinted with a business name for promotional giveaway items.

Hotel President, located at 1329 Baltimore, opened in 1926 as one of Kansas City’s grand hotels. A 1950’s promotional brochure touts the location as “adjacent to shopping, financial, business, and theatrical districts and just 1 block from Kansas City’s great Municipal Auditorium. The Hotel President has just about every type of room the traveler demands – to fit every size pocketbook. Yet every room is carefully finished for 100 percent comfort, including circulating ice water, free radio and permanent television sets or provision for one if desired.”

After several years of decline, the hotel closed for nearly a decade. Renovations followed the guidelines of the National Historic Preservation Society and reopened in 2006 as the Hilton President.