49 years off…

A corkscrew was listed on eBay recently. It was actually 4 corkscrews, and one was described as being marked "Pat. Jan. 4, 25." However, there was something about the corkscrew that didn’t look right. It looked too old to be circa 1925.

So, I grabbed O’Leary (the book, not the actual person) and looked at the section that would contain a 1925 corkscrew. Nothing! I thought, perhaps the mark might be 1928, or 1923… still nothing!

Then I perused the back of O’Leary’s book. And, none of the patent drawings, in that age range, resembled it at all. I called RL to see if he could look at Fletcher Wallis’ book on British patents, as I didn’t have it with me in Maine. After I got home, I double checked. Still Nothing!!!

If any other text might have a reference, it would be Ferd Peters and Bert Giulian’s book on pocket corkscrews, and I started leafing through the pages. And, there it was. It isn’t marked 25…demarking 1925. The mark was mis-read by the seller–she was merely 49 years off–it is instead marked 76, for 1876…which btw, means the piece is F.T. Witte’s American patent for a key ring "cork-screw." This is indeed in the back of O’Leary!

As the patent explains, "The combinations of an efficient cork-screw adapted to be attached to a key-ring, and thus carried on the person without danger of loss, has never been before known. My invention is intended to supply this want…"

Well, Francis T. Witte of Brooklyn, your invention did satisfy my want, and I am pleased that an example of the patent is on its way!!!

I am currently on the hunt for an circa 1876 key-ring to which the Witte patent could be attached. I don’t want to have to worry about, "…the danger of loss…" : )

The lovely and I are heading to Vermont this morning, and will be offline until Monday–good hunting all!!!

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