COOPERMADE: Childproof Caps

childproof caps

In 1952, the New York Times noted that Jack U. Gould ME'27 had been named president of the Cooper Union Alumni Association. His obituary makes note of his dedication to his alma mater and asked that friends make donations to Cooper rather than giving flowers. 

 What the newspaper record doesn’t reveal is Gould’s extraordinary contribution to safety in packaging: the invention of the childproof cap. Shortly after graduation, he took a position at Ferdinand Gutmann & Co., a packaging corporation in Boro Park, Brooklyn. He eventually became Vice President of Manufacturing, Engineering and Research, and it was in that position that he filed a patent for what he called the “safety bottle closure.”  

According to Gould’s 1955 application brief, the purpose of the invention was to make bottles and jars “substantially proof against access by small children who thus are protected from sickness or death by tampering with bottles of pharmaceuticals, vermicides or other toxic substances.” The patent was granted in 1961.  

Gould, who had attended the engineering night school while working at the Eagle Pencil Company in Jersey City, led the merging of the school’s day and night school alumni associations. According to the Cooper Union Alumni Association, he also “drafted the original constitution that guides the college and its alumni.” Like his fellow inventor, William Dubilier, he was awarded Cooper’s Gano Dunn Award for excellence in engineering, industry, science, or finance.  

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.