History of Koozies Timeline
Today, the koozie is a staple of backyard barbecues and tailgates all over the world, but where did it come from? Take a look at its fascinating history!
Koozies have origins all over the world, starting in 19th century Britain, moving to Australia, and eventually ending up in a patent war in the United States! You probably didn't think a piece of foam could have so much history.
So why exactly was the koozie created? Let's give this party favorite its moment in the spotlight!
David and Russell Duncan filed a patent for “a cozy for portable gas generators.” Eventually, these “huggies” made the transition from their original industrial use to our favorite drinks.
William Waggoner from Kansas City introduced his wrapping jacket for packing and shipping linoleum. This jacket served as a protective covering to use instead of heavy crates or boxes.
Stanley R. Moore of Dallas, Texas filed a patent for his refrigerated beverage holder. This cylindrical sleeve can be frozen in any refrigerator, keeping a beverage cold while it’s consumed outdoors.
Australia kicked off the koozie craze with their Stubby Holders. These short, stout sleeves are named after the popular bottle sizes found down under.
Bonnie McGough of Caldwell, Idaho filed a patent for an insulated sleeve she called a "cozy." Her design inspired many other companies to create their own versions in the future.
Whitey’s Ice Cream Manufacturers, a small shop in Moline, IL, filed a patent for their own custom koozie. This was a paper sleeve used around their delicious malts and shakes so the candy would stay inside.
Scott Henderson of Plano, Texas filed a patent for a fold-up insulated beverage container. This was the first design that was completely collapsible while also being able to stand upright on a table.
Joel Carlson filed a patent for his own insulated beverage cup sleeve. In the patent, the felt sleeve is said to be “simple to use, inexpensive, and reusable.” Just like the best promo products!
Kyle Brandon Jones is credited with the invention of the Krazy Koozie. This insulated container easily expands and contracts around a variety of bottles, cans, and cups.
Koozie makers started getting creative with their designs and imprints. For instance, this boot-shaped koozie makes for a great giveaway at a country-themed dive bar or rodeo.
Bevometer is a digital upgrade to the traditional foam or neoprene can cooler. This koozie tracks the number of drinks you’ve consumed when it’s in use.
In America, the first koozie was invented by Bonnie McGough and patented in 1981. However, during that same time, Texas-based Radio Cap Corporation (RCC) began mass-producing their own version. This set the momentum for the future, with patents flying left and right for different versions of insulated sleeves.
Despite all the trouble in their origins, koozies have been valuable advertising items since their inception. The first koozies were used to promote welders’ unions, U.S. States, pop culture characters, the Olympics, car dealerships, weddings, and even funeral homes!
A tea cozie is a knit sleeve designed to keep tea kettles and cups nice and warm! Before koozies became mainstream products, Victorians in the 1800s used tea cozies to keep their tea kettles warm.
In the 19th century, the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Russel, introduced tea parties to entertain guests before mealtime. The tea would often get cold during these social gatherings due to the lively conversations. The solution was a knit tea cozie! These were often hand embroidered and became a fashionable addition to afternoon tea.
The short answer is that both are correct, however, the difference between the two has to do with how you use it! A cozy (or cosy) keeps the heat in, while a koozie keeps heat out. For example, a tea cozie is designed to go over a tea pot to keep the tea warm. A koozie slides on a bottle or can to prevent outside air from warming the drink.
In Australia, Shane Walsh invented a “stubby holder” in the mid-1970s. Down under, this is the name for a koozie due to its short, squat design. The Stubby Holder became particularly popular with surfers who used these foam drink sleeves as they hit the waves.
Today, the Stubby Holder remains a popular advertising item in Australia. They come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, keeping them fresh and always exciting as marketing materials.
In America, a Stubby Holder is commonly called a can cooler or a koozie. A Stubby Holder and a koozie both refer to the same cylindrical-shaped sleeve you slide on your drink to keep it cold!
Canhandlers International introduced the very first collapsible koozie in the 1980s. The inventor, Scott Henderson, created a portable design that made it easy for the koozie to be stored in a pocket, bag, or cooler without taking up too much space.
The collapsible koozies at Canhandlers were extremely popular with the NFL and state colleges. Fans loved using koozies decorated with their favorite mascot, team logo, or school name. Eventually, the collapsible koozies also became popular with other industries, such as banks, realtors, and most notably, KERA channel 13 news in Dallas who gave away custom koozies in exchange for donations to their station.
Unfortunately, Canhandlers eventually went out of business. The can holders were heat-sealed and looked smooth, but the foam on the inside didn’t hold up very well due to moisture. Still, they contributed enormously to the future of koozies.
Invented by Justin Richmond, the Bevometer is a drink counter that tracks the number of drinks you’ve consumed in a lifetime! It works like an automatic scoreboard, tallying each new can as it slides into the sleeve.
Richmond was inspired to create this fun item after seeing his dad’s beat-up Budweiser koozie. Believing fully in the value of a good koozie, Justin’s dad held on to this Budweiser sleeve for over 35 years. It started as a family joke and eventually turned into a full-blown enterprise. To date, Richmond’s company has sold around 20,000 digital Bevometers with no plans of slowing down.
If you’re interested in monitoring your soda intake or just want to make sure you won’t need an Uber at the end of the night, the Bevometer has your back!
While it may not be the most glamorous item, the custom koozie has a special place in the world of promotional products. Whether you’re using a polyurethane coldy-holdy, a rubber stubby holder, or a stainless steel coastie, your next promotional event will be that much cooler thanks to these insulated beverage holders.
Alyssa is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. As a promo expert, she's uncovered the world's first custom tote bag, interviewed the guy behind rock band ACDC's logo, and had a piece published by the Advertising Specialty Institute, a leader in the promotional products industry.
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