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Ever Wonder Who Makes Plastic Six-Pack Rings?

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The ubiquitous plastic six-pack ring is one of those things that's existed right in front of our eyes forever and ever -- which is likely why no one ever gives it a second (or first, for that matter) thought.

In fact, six-pack rings have not been with us forever and ever. They were invented in 1961by the Hi-Cone company (Now ITW-Hi Cone) of Itasca, Illinois.

The "standard" six-pack ring is what Hi-Cone calls the "Rim Applied Can Multipack":

Hi-Cone explains:

"Their unobtrusive, natural appearance has made Hi-Cone Rim Applied Multipacks a standard in the beverage industry. They are the preferred choice – particularly when small packs need to achieve maximum efficiency with minimal packaging."

But, for six-pack enthusiasts the world over, the question remains: where, how, when? Straight from the horse's mouth, a bit of history:

After years of development, the first commercial use of the Hi-Cone 6-pack ring carrier began at Anheuser-Busch.

A prototype machine with a rotating drum to apply the carrier was also shipped to AB. The system was designed to run at 1200 cans per minute.

HA! 1200 cans a minute... Today, Hi-Cone's standard machine has 2400 can-per-minute capabilities:

Best of all, you can buy stock in the company (it's a subsidiary of Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW).

Investing in six-pack rings may not be the sexiest way to play the stock market, but can you imagine a world without them?
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.