The History of the White Cap Company

W.P. & H.B. White Foundation

Continuous innovation, constant growth and global expansion are all part of the history of White Cap, Inc. From a production capacity of one million closures in the first year of operation, White Cap now produces billions of closures annually, making it the world leader in the manufacturing of vacuum closures.

William P. White and his two brothers, George and Philip, formed the White Cap Company in 1926. They operated from an old box factory on Goose Island in Chicago, Illinois. White Cap entered the market with a single product - the ''Side-seal'' pry-off closure. In 1929, White Cap developed the ''Vapor Vacuum®” high-speed sealing process, allowing packages to be sealed at speeds of 100 jars per minute and, in turn, revolutionize the food industry.

As the 1930s approached, White Cap continued to grow. New types of closures, increased sales and greater demands on production dictated the need for a new factory. In 1932, they moved to 1819 North Major Avenue, Chicago. During this time, White Cap also signed its first overseas license agreement with Wallace Tin Stamping in England.

The 1940s brought expansion as well as more changes for White Cap. White Cap and H.J. Heinz Company co-developed and distributed lid-flippers for removing crown-style and snap-on side seal vacuum closures. While World War II put a halt to this project, the war limited the use of metal, forcing some food packers to switch from cans to glass, thus increasing the demand for closures. As a result White Cap's employment increased from 200 to 1,100 employees.

Innovation flourished at White Cap during the l950s. The new “Twist-Off®” Vapor Vacuum lug closure was introduced – the first such closure that did not require a tool for removal. In addition, the safety button, glass unscramblers and glass cleaners were developed.

In 1955, through an exchange of stock, Continental Can Company acquired White Cap Company and changed the name to Continental White Cap, a division of Continental Can.  Continental Can expanded White Cap into West Germany.

Since that time, Continental Can Company was acquired by Peter Kiewit Company and subsequently, Continental’s divisions sold to various other companies.  Today White Cap remains a major presence in the vacuum-sealed closure business worldwide.