“Be it known that I, William Stanley … have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Heat-Insulated Receptacles,” wrote the founder of Stanley Bottles in an application to the United States Patent Office. His innovation, discovered while he experimenting with welding, was to insulate vacuum bottles with metal instead of glass. “The common vacuum receptacle has its shells or walls constructed of glass and accordingly such receptacles are very liable to breakage and cannot withstand hard usage,” he noted.
By 1915, the Stanley company was mass-producing metal-insulated vacuum bottles. They were quickly adopted by the U.S. military, and the bottles were commonly carried aboard B-52 bombers in World War II. In 1995 William Stanley was inducted to the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame for his work on over 129 patents.