The larger bottle has a NEW! No Mess Cap. Less intriguing for sure, with no moving parts, it has a very small dispensing hole, so small that the thixotropic-ness of mustard plus a clever built-in trap keeps it from running out when you tip the bottle into squirting position. It doesn’t dispense mustard as robustly as the Stay Clean Cap does, though, so I’m not sure it is suitable for the high-volume mustard squeezing you’d find at a popular hot dog emporium.
Both bottle tops are intriguing enough to me that I want to keep them for future generations to enjoy.
My collecting-of-containers passion started a long time ago with a collection of roll-on deodorant bottles. They had tiny marble-sized roller balls. It took lots of strokes to get full coverage. I knew in my heart that those rollers would get bigger as time went on. My own armpits were getting bigger as I grew up, and I figured everyone else’s were too. Sure enough, the width of my most recent deodorant stick is a near whole-armpit-wide in size.
When I was a kid, mustard came in a small glass jar. Matter of fact, it seems everything came in a small glass jar. Once I was exploring an old dump in the mountains and found a Listerine mouthwash bottle. Glass, with a cork stopper, it held four ounces! Imagine! Back in the 1920s people must have had very small mouths. Compare it to the bottle of Listerine I recently got from Costco—1.5 liters! That’s a hefty one quart, one pint and 2.7 fluid ounces, twelve-and-a-half times bigger. I must have a big mouth.
Diapers used to be small too. Now you can get them big enough to fit an adult. So far I have no need for them. Wish me luck.
Back to my mustard bottle dilemma. As unbelievable as it sounds, I am sure that as time and technology march onward, another cap will be introduced making mustard dispensing even easier and mess-free. Would I be cheating future discoverers by tossing these bottles and caps into a recycling bin, rendering them faceless and soulless to be reborn as who knows what? Or should I squirrel them away, waiting for some fresh-faced innocent explorer to discover them and be delighted by their cleverness? Or does anyone care? (My unselfish offer to donate them to the Smithsonian was politely turned down even though I offered to pay for shipping!)
Maybe these bottles with their clever caps should rest their souls in cyberspace, memorialized only in this blog post. Who knows?— in a hundred years these bottles’ high density polyethylene could be pronounced highly toxic and ownership of it made a felony. It’s a good thing I didn’t save some other common hardware store items from my youth—cyanide, DDT, lead bullets, blasting caps and dynamite—any one of which could get someone tossed in the pokey nowadays, myself included.
ANATOMY OF TWO MUSTARD BOTTLE CAPSOn the left, the silicone-stoppered cap. On the right, the simple small-hole cap.
The silicone-stopper cap in closeup. What makes it work is the x-shaped slits cut in the silicone, keeping it from dripping when the bottle is inverted but opening wide when squeezed.
The small-hole cap in close-up. Its secret is beneath the outlet, an offset entry which acts kind of like a speed bump on a residential street. The descending mustard has to make a sudden sharp bend to one side in order to flow from the nozzle. A very clever way to prevent inadvertent drippage.
But, as with anything else in commerce, a major determining factor in switching from the silicone-stoppered cap to the small-nozzle-plus-speed-bump cap is cost. Compare the pictures of the two caps. The one on the left is made of three separate pieces which must be assembled! Which is time-consuming and expensive! A potential looming inventory nightmare! What if, at the end of a typical million-bottles-of-mustard production day, you have a million cap bases, a million silicone stoppers, but only 999,999 toppers of silicone stoppers? Fire that cap designer!
On the right, the small-nozzle cap is a single piece of plastic. It only has to be munched together into one elegant mustard-squirting miracle. Winner!