Crown Cork and Seal logo

Crown Cork and Seal

  • Year Founded: 1892

Crown Cork and Seal was founded in 1892. While it never created asbestos-based products, the company acquired Mundet Cork, which did manufacture items with the cancer-causing mineral. Crown Cork and Seal does not have an asbestos trust, though legal and financial options may still be available.

Compensation for Crown Cork & Seal Workers

Crown Cork and Seal History and Involvement With Asbestos

Crown Cork & Seal has a storied history that dates back well before the Industrial Revolution. It began with a simple invention in 1892 – the bottle cap – when founder William Painter discovered a better way to seal the soft drink and beer containers of that era.

Crown Cork and Seal Facts:
  • Founded: 1892
  • Years Operated: 1892 - present
  • Headquarters: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Business: Metal and Plastic Packaging
  • Asbestos Trust: No
  • Bankruptcy Status: Never filed.

While Crown never created asbestos-based products itself, the company in 1963 acquired Mundet Cork, which did manufacture items with the cancer-causing mineral. This opened Crown Cork & Seal up to later asbestos litigation.

Crown purchased Mundet Cork because it manufactured cork-lined bottle caps. However, it also produced insulation products and cement, both of which contained large amounts of toxic asbestos.

Crown sold everything but the bottle-cap division within two years, but the asbestos liability remained with the company. For its Mundet mistake, Crown has paid out more than $700 million in asbestos-related claims.

Employees of Mundet’s insulation and cement plants and their family members were not the only ones at risk of asbestos exposure. Some customers, including several oil refineries and the U.S. Navy, may also have come into contact with asbestos.

Most of Mundet’s products were used commercially, leaving repair and installation workers also at risk.

Crown Cork & Seal Faces Asbestos Lawsuits

Crown Holdings was dealt a setback early in 2012 when Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton stood up to big business. He vetoed proposed legislation that would have limited the liability for companies that capitalized on past asbestos uses.

Crown was successful pushing legislation in other states, most notably in Pennsylvania, where asbestos victims’ rights were reduced. But in Minnesota, the proposal, drafted by the powerful American Legislative Exchange Council, an antilabor group, was defeated by Dayton’s veto.

Had the bill had passed, it would have reduced the future liability of companies merging with or acquiring corporations still facing asbestos litigation.

In June 2012, a Louisiana jury held Crown 33% responsible in a $12 million verdict awarded to Frederick Schulte, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011.

Schulte worked as a shipfitter and ironfitter for McDermott Incorporated Shipyard, where he installed asbestos pipe insulation made by Mundet Cork.

Mundet Products That Exposed Crown to Asbestos Litigation

Many construction workers were exposed to asbestos from working with finishing cement, insulation and other building materials. Asbestos was inexpensive and ideal for construction products due to its durability and fire-resistant properties.

Magnesia asbestos pipe insulation is made of magnesia alba or magnesium carbonate. Mixing 85% magnesium and 15% asbestos binds the material, giving it strength and cohesion. Chrysotile asbestos fibers were most frequently used in Mundet’s pipe insulation.

Mundet Cork Products With Asbestos

  • Mundet Mineral Wool Finishing Cement
  • Mundet Mineral Wool Insulating Cement
  • Mundet Cork 85% Magnesia Asbestos Insulation
  • Mundet Block Insulation
  • Mundet Pipe Covering

Where Is Crown Cork & Seal Today?

Known today as Crown Holdings Inc., it remains the largest metal packaging company in the United States, and one of the largest overall packaging companies in the world.

Crown serves markets for drinks, food, health & beauty, promotional, luxury and household/industrial products. It covers paper, plastic, metal and everything in between.

Crown has 135 manufacturing plants with 24,342 employees in 41 countries. What started with a “Crown Cork” bottle-cap manufacturing plant in Baltimore, grew into the only full-line global packaging company in the world.

By the 21st century, Crown sold its cosmetic and plastic businesses yet reported a strong $7.9 billion in net sales. Crown has been a leader in industry for 120 years, spanning a myriad of technological advances.

In 2017, Crown Holdings sold its global headquarters building in Philadelphia, where it called home since 1958. The company relocated its Corporate & Americas Division Headquarters roughly 30 miles away to Yardley, Pennsylvania, where it operates today.

Crown Holdings made a $323 million profit in 2017 and carried a market value of $6.8 billion as of March 2018, according to the Fortune 500.

Free Help Finding a Specialist

Get Help Now
Asbestos.com Mesothelioma Packet

Learn About Treatment

Get a Free Guide

Qualify for Free Medical Care

See If You Qualify

Writer and Editor

Matt Mauney is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of professional writing and editing experience. He joined The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com in 2016, and he spends much of his time reading, analyzing and reporting on mesothelioma research articles to ensure people in the mesothelioma community know the latest medical advances. Prior to joining Asbestos.com, Matt was a Community Manager at the Orlando Sentinel. Matt also edits pages, articles and other content on the website. He holds a certificate in health writing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Walter Pacheco, Managing Editor at Asbestos.com
Edited by

5 Cited Article Sources

  1. Fortune 500. (2018, March 29). Crown Holdings.
    Retrieved from: http://fortune.com/fortune500/crown-holdings/
  2. Tawa, S. (2018, May 26). Bottle Cap Creator Crown Holdings Plans To Move HQ Out Of Philly.
    Retrieved from: https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2017/05/26/bottle-cap-creator-crown-holdings-plan-to-move-hq-out-of-philly/
  3. Crown Holdings, Inc. Crown History (2012).
    Retrieved from: http://www.crowncork.com/
  4. Louisiana Jury Awards $12 million to Victim of Mesothelioma. June 29, 2012. :
    Retrieved from: http://redorbit.com/news/health/1112648662/louisiana_jury_awards_12_million_to_victim_of_mesothelioma/
  5. Supreme Court of Texas, Petition for Review from the Court of Appeals for the 14th District of Texas. Argued Feb. 7, 2008. Crown Cork & Seal Co., Inc., Individually and as Successor to Mundet Cork Corporation, Respondent. Retrieved from: http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/historical/2010/oct/060714.pdf
  •  
  •  
  •  

Did this article help you?

Did this article help you?

Thank you for your feedback. Would you like to speak with a Patient Advocate?

On This Page

Back to Top

Share this article

Last Modified August 8, 2019

Get Your Free Mesothelioma Guide Chat live with a patient advocate now