Compound Cork Screw…

In 1885 Marshall Arthur Weir was granted patent number 330,357 in the United States for his compound corkscrew.

(Somehow from the patent drawing to the production of this corkscrew, things changed a bit).

Here is the patent drawing, which looks quite similar to the 1884 patent he received in England.


When his corkscrew turns up with the U.S. patent date, it would appear that those producing it for him took the design in a little different direction.

The 1885 Weir does turns up somewhat occasionally carrying the patent date of 1885, but in two variations; The Reliable, and the much harder to find, Peerless, with the addition of the frame at the bottom of the lazy tongs.



But what accounts for the difference in production from patent design?

While I have yet to find an answer, I did recently run into an 1893 article in The Iron Age that does provide images of the two corkscrews, and does explain that Francis H. Loss was putting the two different corkscrews out amongst his wares:

Compound Lever Cork Screws.

Francis H. Loss, Jr., 33 Murray street, New York, is introducing the Reliable 


Fig. 1 – Reliable Cork Screw

 and Peerless compound lever cork screws, as shown in Figs. 1 and 2.


Fig. 2 – Peerless Cork Screw 

Fig. 1 illustrates the Reliable pattern and shows it in its most compact corm. In this position the closed levers are used as a handle and afford an opportunity for inserting the screw in the cork. When this is accomplished the drop handle is grasped and raised until the cork is withdrawn. The levers are made of steel. When closed the greatest width is 5 ½ inches; extended, it measures 8 ½ inches. Emphasis is laid on the ease with which the most stubborn cork is extracted. Fig. 2 represents the Peerless pattern in operation, the difference being the length of the socket, the longer socket having a tendency to steady the cork while it is being withdrawn.

While we have both the Reliable and the Peerless (with the Peerless making the best 6 in 2009) the other day on eBay a seller listed an 1885 Weir Patent that I had seen before, but had a different marking.

Clearly we can see the difference between the Reliable and the Peerless, but I have seen on the Auction that there are further variations in the Peerless where there is a single rivet where the handle attaches and alternatively  a double riveted example—these both carry the 1885 patent date.

The piece listed on eBay indeed has two rivets, but more importantly, instead of the patent date of NOV. 10 1885, it instead reads PAT. APL’D FOR.

With the piece also carrying a Buy It Now option of several hundred dollars, I considered snapping it up, but went back to all of the previous auction listings I could find. Not a single one has a PAT. APL’D FOR marking—and all of them carrying the patent date and PEERLESS.

Now, as with many corkscrews, the price for a PEERLESS has come down a bit. So, given the seller also included a best offer option, I revisited the listing..

and, I made an offer.

He countered.

I submitted a counter offer to their offer.

They countered to my counter offer…

I submitted yet another counter offer

S0, my offer was countered, to which I countered, to which they countered, to which I countered, and eventually…after my last counter to their counter, they agreed.

And, so, a rare example of a nice American patent, which very well could make the best 6 of the year, will soon be arriving on the island.



More pictures to follow once it arrives!