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.
Browse 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.
According 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.
We 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.
All 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!