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Who Invented the Koozie?

Koozies are foam sleeves that wrap around bottles, cans, and glasses to keep beverages at the perfect temperature. Yet while many people appreciate the koozie, no one can say for certain who invented it.

Red-Leather-KoozieBrowse the Internet for information, and you’ll find all sorts of stories, tales, and urban legends. Some sources suggest that the koozie was invented during the 1960s, when beachgoers needed to keep their drinks cool while they surfed, played bingo, and sang musical numbers beneath the hot summer sun. Other sources simply point to the koozie’s rise in popularity during the 1980s. Heck, one source says that if you stand in the bathroom and whisper “Quality Logo Products” three times fast, an image of a koozie will appear in the mirror.

Okay, we made that last part up. But here’s what we can say with more certainty.

Boot-KoozieAccording to historical records, during the 19th century, people made use of items called tea cozies and egg cozies. A tea cozy (or cosy, if you prefer British spellings) was a cover for a teapot; an egg cozy (or cosy) sat on top of an egg like a cute little hat. Both items were made of cloth, and both items served as insulators to trap warmth. (And both items can be found for sale today from crafters everywhere.)

Fast-forward to the early 20th century. In 1919, David C. Duncan and Russell C. Duncan filed an application for a patent for a “cozy for portable gas generators.” Several years later, in 1926, William H. Waggoner filed a patent for a “linoleum jacket,” which could be used to pack and protect rolls of linoleum for shipping.

Green-KooizeWe don’t know what made the inventors of that era so interested in wrapping things up in sleeves, but it wasn’t until decades later that the government registrars recorded information on items closer to the koozie that we know and love today.

In 1980, a Texas company called Radio Cap Corporation registered the name “Koozie” as a trademark. Just a little later, in 1981, Bonnie McGough of Caldwell, Idaho, filed a patent for what she called “an insulated beverage cozy for use with cold drinking utensils…” From the north to the south, koozie madness apparently was beginning to sweep the United States!

Koozie mania kept going throughout the 1980s and early 1990s:

  • In 1985, Robert A. Tunberg of Whitey’s Ice Cream Manufacturers received a patent for a paper sleeve to wrap around paper cups while making malts and shakes.
  • At the same time, Scott Henderson got his patent for a “one piece beverage insulator.”
  • Michael Stuber and Charles Effertz of the Cantainer Corporation applied for a patent for an insulated beverage jacket in 1989.
  • Later, Joel Carlson received a patent for an insulated sleeve in 1993.

Koozie-TrioAll of this work came together in 2003, when Kyle Brandon Jones filed his patent application for the Krazy Koozie. Referring to the inventions that came before his, Jones noted that the Krazy Koozie combined several of their functions, allowing the Krazy Koozie to wrap around different kinds of containers (bottles, cans, and cups), not just one.

We might not know exactly where or when the foam koozie was created, but what we do know today is that it’s a must-have accessory for drinkware everywhere. With a custom imprint on the side, it makes a mighty fine piece of advertising, too!

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Sheila Johnson

Sheila Johnson is a member of the Content Team at Quality Logo Products. Prior to joining QLP, she worked freelance in a number of capacities, including writing, editing, digital art restoration, and sorting stuff in a warehouse, because money is money. She enjoys birdwatching, hiking, and reading, which doesn't make her sound old at all. Other likes: dark chocolate, comics, science, socks with bright patterns. Dislikes: how cold her toes are ALL THE TIME. You can connect with Sheila on

Comments

  1. Anthony

    Koozies are da bomb! Totally a fan favorite for anyone that wants to promote themselves & since everyone is drinking either soda or beer at almost any event, it’s a must have! It’s cool to think that the idea of the Koozie was around the 19th Century and hearing the history behind it makes this product a tiny legend among the pack of promo goodies! Keep up the good work koozie! Protecting our hands from frostbite-due-to-serious-cold-drinkage since 1800!

  2. mike wenger

    The koozie has been a staple in Promotional Products as long as I have known about promotional products. Such a simple invention as the koozie has changed the way we insulate mugs, beer, steins, and a whole host of different items. What RCC brilliantly did was recognize that the koozie not only was a great insulator but an even better way to advertise. With billions of cans and bottles sold each year, the market opportunity was huge. They capitalized on that opportunity with the Koozie and created a forever-known product in the marketing industry.

    Fast forward to today, and market is flooded hundreds of beverage insulators. Some of the most innovative I have seen would be the BritePix full color custom made can koozie, the magnetic can coolie (the magnets on this insulator are strong enough so that when you tail gate, you can ‘stick’ your can drink wherever there is a metal surface), gel insulated coolers, and now they even make mix and match color panel coolers. Only time will tell what the next chapter in the koozie story will be, but from everything I see, I have the feeling it will be a good one.

    So whether you are looking to stay cool or make your next marketing event cool, a koozie will do the trick. Stay thirsty friends!

  3. Angie

    Ah the koozie. Who doesn’t have several of these, in various forms, lying around the house? I know I do. It’s a staple for events. It’s an easy form of advertising that is recognized around the world. With a multitude of styles and pricing points, there is sure to be one that fits every budget or project. Order yours today.

  4. Ashley

    Koozie, koozie, koozie, koozie rockin’ everywhere! Thanks to Sheila’s research, I found you, Ms. New Koozie! Well, I found out when it was new, at least. Now it’s a staple in the promotional product game, quite literally rocking everywhere.

    This article makes for a great fun fact of the day. It’s cool to think versions of our hand-protecting friend were developed a couple centuries ago, but it definitely is not surprising. Koozies have evolved into a promotional marketing powerhouse, and generally speaking it’s hard to imagine going to any gathering without spotting a few of these guys doing exactly what they were designed to do. What makes them even better is the accessibility and customization of these. You can get can coolers for bottles, cans, or both! Some include magnets strong enough to hold a full drink! The evidence is clear that when it comes to using koozies for your promotional marketing, that’s the best way to get it right!

  5. Ryan

    Close your eyes and picture this scenario. You and all your friends are sitting around a bonfire, enjoying a six pack of bee..I mean soda and you’re holding a can in your hand. You have to use the rest room so you put your can down on the edge of the fire, because that’s the only place you’ll be able to see it when you get back! Here comes the curve ball, your buddy happens to have the exact same idea, and puts his can on the edge of the fire as well. You come back and reach for your can, but there’s two now, which one is yours?

    If you have been in this situation before then you know the emotional toll it can take. But don’t worry, there is a solution, it’s called the Koozie. Aside from all the obvious benefits (cold beverage, warm hands) you would have had no problem differentiating between cans if one of those cans had a koozie! Heck, if both cans had koozies (with your custom logo) and they were both different colors (we can assort colors), we wouldn’t have had this problem in the first place! Long story short, I love koozies. Koozies save the day, on a daily basis. Who wouldn’t want their logo on a koozie?

  6. Doc

    Great post, Sheila!! We work so much with koozies but I’ve never taken the time to learn about the origin of such a prominent product withi this industry. This has evolved so much. You can now get koozies in all shapes and sizes for cans, beer bottles and even larger receptacles. They’re great for parties and bars looking to promote their brand.

  7. Jay

    WOW! I thought “maaaaybe the 70’s?” but had no idea! Either wikipedia is SUPER thorough on koozie history or that took some real digging through microfiche 😉

    To echo almost everyone…. you can’t go wrong with a koozie, in any format. The old school foam ones, collapsible, bottle, digitally printed, one color, etc. They will always get used over and over and that’s the exact purpose of promo products across the board. They generally change hands quite a few times too. Heck, I think I’ve probably lost 90% of every koozie I’ve ever owned (or had them stolen!). Either way, given away for free, super-customized for retail, lost or stolen, they’re effective AND they keep your pop cold because we all know, you don’t drink beer out of cans unless you’re a savage!

  8. Stacy

    So I am a huge fan of a brewery near Chicago and about once a month I load up my growlers and head down to the city for my fillups. One issue, by the time I get all the way home (which is about 1.5 hours from the city) the beer is warm! While I would love to embrace the European warm beer drinking standards- I cant stand having to wait for my beer to re-chill and then enjoy. Then I started working at QLP and discovered that they make growler sized Koozies! Mind Blown! So, to whomever out there that came up with this idea is fabulous and will forever hold a special place in my heart! Thanks for the blog Sheila!

  9. David

    But I invented the coolest koozie ever it’s a koozie it’s a flashlight and it makes your drink glow :)

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