The Napier Company was named after its president, James H. Napier, who led the company from 1920 to 1960. But the company's history can be tracked back to 1875 when it was founded as Whitney and Rice in Attleboro, Mass., manufacturing silver products. The firm changed hands and name in 1882 and became Carpenter and Bliss and shortly thereafter, E.A. Bliss and Co., Inc. After rapid expansion in the late 1880s the company moved to Meriden, CT in 1890. After WWI, the firm shifted emphasis from silver products to production of modern jewelry. James Napier became president in 1920 and the company adopted the name Napier - Bliss Co. In 1922, the name was changed to Napier Company.
Like many jewerly companies they got into lines of art objects and other utilitarian objects like cocktail shakers. In the early to mid 1930s they produced several cocktail shakers and other pieces of barware.
The most famous being the Penguin Cocktail Shaker. It was patented in Oct. 1936 and pictured to the right.
Previous to that though was a shaker with a rotating top with recipes. The inventor was Harry A. Werful. The patent was filed for in Feb. 1933 and called it a "Drink Shaker". It shows a recipe for an "Orange Mint".
1/2 Orange Juice
1/2 Mineral Water
Dash of Mint Essence
Why you might ask? I assume that not refering to alcohol or cocktails made the process easier as Prohibition was not repealed until Dec. 1933.
In Sept. 1932 Le Roy H. Fontan applied for the patent for the "Tells-You-How" shaker. He referered to it as a "Drink Mixer or Cocktail Shaker". In Oct. of that year Fredrick W. Rettenmeyer applied for a patent for a "Cocktail Shaker". Niether of these patents were granted until Sept. of 1935.
The Rettenmeyer shaker has some simularities to the "Tells-You-How" but I don't believe it was ever produced.
As you can see Napier was quite busy in the shaker department. This only covers a fragment of Napier's products for the home bar though. There were measuring cups, spoons, ice buckets, and several other styles of cocktail shakers.
So I hope you have enjoyed this brief jaunt into The Napier Co.