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"The Soda Pop Candy".

A bite-sized sugary confectionary now made by the Wonka candy company (a subsidiary of Nestlé). Similar to SweeTarts, but with distinctive Root Beer and Cola flavors mixed in with the usual Grape, Orange and Cherry. Increasingly hard-to-find in most areas, except around Halloween time.

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Also, quite obviously, the little bits of metal they put on the end of glass bottles to keep their contents in. They come in two main varieties: twist-off and pry-off-with-a-miniature-crowbar.

Back in the day, a lot of kids in my area used to have bottle cap collections. In recent years, though, I think that hobby has become somewhat frowned upon by parents. Probably has something to do the many sharp serrated edges, and the fact that discarded bottle caps usually support vast thriving colonies of bacteria. But that's just a guess...

... plus the fact that most soft drinks now come in plastic bottles, with glass reserved almost exclusively for beer. Apparently there just aren't enough hard-drinkin' youngsters out there these days to sustain the hobby.

More incredibly useless facts about bottle caps:

  • The world's largest producer of bottle caps is the American aluminum mega-corp Alcoa, producing between 10 and 15 billion caps every year.
  • The "Crown Cork Bottle Seal", ancestor to the modern bottle cap, was patented in 1892 by William Painter, a Baltimore machine shop operator.
  • Twist-off caps weren't invented until the early-1960's, and were mainly designed not for convenience, but to prevent drunks from breaking beer bottles when trying to open them on the edge of the bar.
  • The standard outside diameter of a bottle cap is 32.1 mm.

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