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Accession number 1988.1.0024
Caption Capper, Bottle
Cataloged by Clayton, Pete
Description Bottle capper used to cap bottles of Root Beer
Vintage Adjustable "Indestro" Beer Bottle Capper Wine Corker Works Great. Some Rust.
3 holes in the base for mounting Comes apart for easier storing Made of Heavy Steel w/ Rivets{ No nuts & bolts}Stands: 17 1/2" tallWeighs: 3 pounds 4 ounces
Company History

For even a brief look at the history of these companies, we first need to clarify the relationship between Duro Metal Products and Indestro Manufacturing. A casual observer might at first think that Duro and Indestro were unrelated businesses, but on closer examination Duro and Indestro look and behave more like a single company, with a dual organization set up to promote the branding of their products.

For example, both companies listed their headquarters at the same address, 2649 N. Kildare Ave. in Chicago, and both companies' catalogs show the same two illustrations of their factory buildings. Numerous items in the Duro catalogs were actually products branded Indestro, and Indestro products often listed patents granted to Duro Metal Products. The Indestro catalogs show most of the same products as the Duro catalogs, but with different model numbers assigned to the Indestro pieces.

From these considerations, for our present purpose Duro and Indestro can be treated as a single company with two major product brands. In fact, it appears that the main reason for Indestro may have been to allow production of inexpensive or economy lines of tools, without diluting the high-end reputation of the Duro products.

With the above in mind, Duro Metal Products was founded in 1916 by Norris F. McNaught and William H. Odlum, both of whom would play an active role in product development for many years. The Indestro Manufacturing operation was formed around 1922 or so, and the companies produced tools primarily for the automotive service market. Their early products included such items as hex-drive socket sets, socket wrenches (the early variety, with sockets permanently attached to a bar), and specialty tools. Indestro also produced a variety of other products, including bottle-cappers and kitchen utensils such as egg-beaters. Examples of their early production can be seen in the Duro 634 Socket Wrench and Indestro Socket Wrench.

Sure Seal Bottle Capper Company
[Sure Seal Bottle Capper Logo]
Fig. 1. Early Sure Seal Bottle Capper Logo, ca. 1920s.

A recently discovered early logo provides another view of the origin of the Indestro operations. Fig. 1 shows the detail from an early Indestro wrench set, marked "Sure Seal Bottle Capper Co." and "Chicago" around the outside, with "Mfrs. Indestro Products" in the center. This suggests that the Sure Seal Bottle Capper Company was the earlier entity using the Indestro mark, and that bottle-cappers were an important early product. Several patents for bottle-cappers were issued to Harold G. Rice before and after 1920, and some of the later patents were assigned to Indestro.

Additional research has confirmed that the Sure Seal entity was the originator of the Indestro mark. A trademark search found that the Sure Seal Bottle Capper Company filed an application on September 10, 1921 for an "Indestro All Steel Capper" mark in a graphic design, and the trademark was issued as #156,066 on June 13, 1922. The trademark application noted that the Sure Seal company was a copartnership of Harold G. Rice, Louis M. Rice, and Landor Penne, and that the trademark was used on bottle-capping machines. The first use date was listed as January 20, 1921.

Fig. 2 below shows the graphic design included in the trademark application.
[Indestro All Steel Capper Trademark]
Fig. 2. Indestro All Steel Capper Logo, 1922.

With the information from the trademark application, it's reasonable to infer that the Sure Seal Bottle Capper Company was acquired by Duro Metal Products to form its Indestro Manufacturing division.

By the late 1920s and '30s the companies were very actively developing and marketing products for the growing automotive service market. Many patents were granted to Duro Metal Products during this period, covering both new product designs and better ways of producing existing items. By the time the 1939 Duro-Chrome catalog (#39M) was issued, the companies were offering a broad line of tools with both high-end and economy selections.

Duro Metal Products also manufactured a well-regarded line of woodworking machines and other power tools, and produced a separate catalog of such equipment.

During the 1930s, Duro/Indestro was a supplier to at least three major retailers, Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, and Western Auto. The tools supplied included socket sets, drive tools, and wrenches, and were sold both under existing Duro or Indestro brands, as well as private brands produced for the particular retailer. The paragraphs below will show some examples of these supplier arrangements.
Search Terms Food Service
Hughes Family
Subjects Food Service
Hughes Family