Unexpectedly Intriguing!
21 June 2006

With apologies to Homer Simpson, we came across this fun tidbit (via PSD Blog):

  • SOMETIMES low tech is much better than no tech. A simple, affordable way to apply crop fertiliser directly to plants looks set to revolutionise the way poor farmers in sub-Saharan Africa grow food. And it all hinges on beer bottle tops.

Beer caps represent a case study in good design - they're attractive, light weight, inexpensive, fun and far more functional than the original designer(s) would ever have expected. So functional, in fact, that we thought it might be useful list a handful of the applications, other than the new agricultural one above, to which we've found this marvelous device put to use:

  1. Keeping carbonated beverages in their bottles. Yes, this application is pretty obvious, and sure, screw tops are effective too, but traditional beer caps are less expensive and use much less material. Also, even though they've been around since 1892, there's still a lot of innovation at work!
  2. Marketing. Not only can they tell you what's inside a bottle, they can also tell you if you've won a promotional contest!
  3. Money. Cameroon is the real leader here, but we're still hoping the U.S. Mint will recognize that the Golden Dollar is a bust and will partner with U.S. breweries for its replacement.
  4. Marking trails. We guess we could leave a trail of beer bottles along our path as we mark where we've been when we've ventured into the wooded wilderness, but beer caps are far lighter and the ridges on the edge are ideal for pressing into tree bark without damaging the tree.
  5. Refrigerator Magnets. For decorating your refrigerator or just holding up important notes or children's artwork!
  6. Jewelry. Or more specifically, earrings. Save hundreds over traditional gold loops and diamond studs!
  7. Clothing. If this bicycle innertube/beer cap belt doesn't convince you that recycling is the future of fashion, nothing will. Then again, perhaps a bikini made from beer caps might convince you....
  8. Collectables. If this E-bay page is any indication, there's a healthy market for beer caps with the collectable crowd! Speaking of collecting, don't forget to visit the Ultimate Beer Cap page.
  9. Catching fish. Beer caps make lures fish can't resist.
  10. High-tech entertainment. All you need is a beer cap and a laptop computer. Hours of fun....

Special hat tip to the ReadyMade blog!

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