And, a few more poison indicators…

Not that I have actually discovered any poison indicator corkscrews since we last spoke–not that I am speaking–but, I thought I would thumb through the back of O’Leary and check out the patent drawings (once again).

As mentioned the other day, the first mention in O’Leary of a corkscrew with a poison purpose, is the Bailey Safety Alarm of 1890.


That said, I found another reference on pharmacy history that has an illustration of the both the 1883 Stites Bottle Stopper and the 1890 Bailey Safety Alarm with the words “Stites Cross Bones Stopper and Corkscrew.” In visiting the patent, no corkscrew is mentioned in the Stites patent description, but it would certainly be cool if it actually had one–or if we could find one for that matter.


The Blake patent of 1914, mentioned the other day is the next poison related corkscrew illustrated in O’Leary.


In looking at the dates, and while no patent has been found, we then go into 1915 with the Hall’s Red Devil Skull.  And, the newly identified as a patent, so not pictured in O’Leary, Hudson patent of 1915.


In 1916, we see T.E. Higgins “Poison Alarm Device.”  Again, a piece that I have never seen in person, or pictured, and one that certainly should do its job, with a large skull hanging above a corkscrew inserted in a bottle.


In 1917, there is the Ketler patent for a “poison bottle indicator.”  Similarly themed, it has a skull and crossbones in a circular frame.  Again, as far as I know, this has yet to be discovered within our respective collections.


In 1921, we are introduced to the Teece patent “poison bottle top.”


And, finally in 1924, there is another Skull and Crossbones styles corkscrew: the Fleisher patent, with folding corkscrew attached to the top of the skull, and a spike to insert into the cork:


There are lots of other poison indicators without corkscrews.  Many patents, with largely the same theme, spikes and sharp edges.  Like the Hall’s Red Skull, where the horns are intended to serve as a warning in the middle of the night, and the sharp edges of the Blake (which we haven’t found) or the serrated disk, which is similar to, and could very well be the Bailey’s Safety Alarm, there are sharp edges, spikes, prongs, barbs, and the like which are intended to serve as a deterrent.

This is going to hurt you, so don’t drink this.

As far as I know, most of these patents haven’t been found in a real life form.  Do you have one of these poison related corkscrews?  Do you have a different poison related corkscrew?

Feel free to drop me a line.

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