The Codds Wallop
Objects,  The Curious World

Curious Objects: Codds Wallop – The Codd Bottle Opener

The codd bottle is a very unusual bottle which was invented in the mid 1800’s and is still manufactured and used today. However, there was a problem with opening it. So, the codds wallop, or codd bottle opener, was cleverly developed to make getting to the carbonated drink much easier.

So, what’s a codd bottle and why did it need a special opener?

Three codd bottles with a codd bottle opener or codds wallop laying in the front.
Three Codd Bottles with a Codd Bottle Opener

Nearly 150 years ago, a man named Hiram Codd from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, England invented the codd bottle. This clever item revolutionised the drinks trade by giving people the opportunity to drink fresh, well-sealed carbonated drinks. However, the pressure from inside the bottles made them difficult to open, resulting in thirsty people with broken finger nails!  This simple little tool took the problem away.

How Did it Work?

The Marble Sitting in its Chamber at the Side of the Bottle
The Marble Sitting in its Chamber at the Side of the Bottle

These clever Codd-neck bottles were developed specifically for carbonated drinks. They worked by using a marble as a stopper in the neck of the bottle and the pressure from the gas from the carbonation kept it in place. There was a rubber washer/gasket at the top to make the marble fit securely.

The bottles were filled upside down, and the pressure from the gas in the bottle forced the marble against the washer, sealing in the carbonation. The marble was stored in this special chamber at the side of the bottle ready to be used again.

However, the marbles at the top of codd bottles were quite well lodged and not easy to push down. This made the bottles difficult to open as the bubbles in the carbonated drink kept the pressure behind the marble.

A Codd Bottle Opener on Top of a Codd Bottle
A Codd Bottle Opener on Top of a Codd Bottle

Therefore, something was needed to make openeing the bottles much easier. The codd bottle opener was devised for this. It was placed on the top of a codd bottle, as shown above, and given a tap (or a wallop!). This quick thrust would shoot the marble to the recess at the side of the bottle where is lodged until it was released. Consequently, the drink could then be easily enjoyed without the marble getting in the way.

An antique Codds Wallop or Codd Bottle opener
An Antique Codds Wallop

Codds Wallops Today

Codds wallops or codd bottle openers are quite a collectors item these days and are becoming rarer. Although the ones pictured here are made of wood, they can also be made of glass. Sometimes they are incorprated into the end of a corkscrew.

So, there you have it – The codds wallop! The codd bottle opener pictured above is currently for sale here.

Have a look at codd bottles and other similar curios in Kim’s Curiosity Shop.

Please also take a look at my other blog for more information about Hiram Codd and the invention of the codd bottle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *