“…millions of corks that have been ruthlessly torn with a crude, brutal jerk from the mouth of loving bottles …”

From a 1902 issue of Iron and Machinery World:

A Wonderful Invention.

Some of our Japanese friends are evidently making up for lost time. One of them has just invented a new kind of cork-screw and got it patented. It only requires eight operations before you get ready to let the cork know that its time has come.

  1. You use the corkscrew as though it is an ordinary corkscrew and screw it into the cork, but you must not forget yourself and pull out the cork. That would finish everything at once and leave nothing to do for the patent. Of course you have the diagram with you with detailed instructions what to do to draw that cork.
  2. You pull No. 2 with two fingers.
  3. This has the effect that a pipe inclines No.4, the handle.
  4. Upon this something gives way. Part No. 5 now bends.
  5. You lower it
  6. Hook No. 6 to the mouth of the bottle, which presumably is a patent bottle, too, so that you can find a place to which to hook the hook to.
  7. Now press on part No. 7 and firmly hold the neck of the bottle with one hand.
  8. The serious and practical part of the work begins; you now work the handle up and down with the hand you have left.
    “And, then the cork will gradually come out.” Just think of the millions of corks that have been ruthlessly torn with a crude, brutal jerk from the mouth of loving bottles before this benevolent invention was made—Eastern World, Yokohama.

No illustration was provided in the issue of Iron and Machinery World, but could this be a description of the operation of Ian’s fantastic Japanese ratchet corkscrew patented in 1901? The patent drawing does use a hook-like end that rests on the lip of the bottle.

Translation anyone?

After digging around at the Japanese patent office, I managed to find the patent description for the 1910 Japanese patent corkscrew.

Of course, with my command of the Japanese language being nonexistent, and the patent description being in a jpg to pdf format, getting any kind of translation online is…well…not happening.

So, why not throw it out to our corkscrewing-around-bloggy-blog readers, can anyone translate the patent description that we have here?

At the very least, I would like to figure out who the patentee is. I would like to be able to name the inventor, so we can attach a name to the corkscrew.

Have at it folks!

And, thank you in advance!

1910 Japanese patent…

A couple of years ago, I was doing an appraisal of a corkscrew collection (for those that don’t know, both the lovely and I are certified appraisers), and in amongst the various pieces–the bulk of which were American, was an unusual corkscrew that was clearly broken, and also clearly of Japanese origins.

As was my practice, I took photos, and included it in the appraisal.

I was intrigued by the sillcock-like handle, and when I got back to Maine, I grabbed Don’s book on Japanese corkscrews, and thumbed through.

Surprisingly, there are a couple of corkscrews in the patent illustrations that have similar handles…

I settled on the piece being an 1910 patent, as illustrated in Bull’s book.

Of course, knowing that this broken example existed, I have been on the look out for a complete example.

And, keep in mind, with the exception of the illustration that is present in Don’s book, a complete 1910 patent has yet to turn up in any book on corkscrews.

As of last week however, after a bit of searching, a complete example is headed to the island.

When it arrives, I will provide better pictures and try to decipher all of the writing upon it.

Stay tuned.

And, if you have an antique Japanese corkscrew, drop me a line!

Smith II

On Jun. 03, 1884, Joseph A. Smith was granted patent # 299,864 for his “Corkscrew.”

In 2016, I managed to pick an example up and it made my best 6 for that year.

Not marked, and I have yet to hear of one that is, it does mirror Smith’s patent drawing.

And, there are some similarities with the pewter Scandinavian figural corkscrews, with the telling difference of the twisted wire worm.

At some point, in the not so distant past, a fellow collector shared with me their Smith patents, and they had a variation with a different handle, but the same twisted wire worm–in some ways, this would be the Smith signature–no markings, but a telling twist.

As of this morning, a deal was struck for an example of that variation.

In Smith’s patent description, he explains:

“Referring by letter to the accompanying drawing, designates the twisted shaft, and be the screw, of cast-steel hardened and tempered.  The shank and the screw are of one piece, the shank being bent and twisted upon itself down the screw.  I cast the handle upon the shank, as shown in the drawing.”

What other variations are out there?

Uncorking (Mechanical Cork Screw)

From the 1865 edition of Chemical Technology; or, Chemistry Applied to the Arts or to Manufactures Vol. I Part IV.

Uncorking (Mechanical Cork Screw).

We shall finish this sketch of artificial mineral waters with the description of an ingenious cork-screw invented by M. Batard for extracting corks from ordinary bottles without shaking the liquid.  It may be very serviceable when it is necessary to analyze waters containing a sediment which must be collected.  This corkscrew, Fig. 119, consists of : 1st, two points of steel D D’, which penetrate the cork after the lower spiral is fixed in it ‘ 2nd, a plate A A’, furnished with two pillars, B B’, penetrating into two penings in the upper plae, and pressing against two pegs X X’, which act as a lever.

The plate A A’, is surmounted by a spring, which, in proportion as the cork-screw enters the cork, becomes flattened and allows A A’ to press against the plate above it.

When the pillars A A’ press on C C’, it is easy to turn the cork in the neck of the bottle and extract it without the least shaking.

Invincible Cork Puller

From a 1904 issue of Iron Age:

Invincible Cork Puller

Hugo Reisinger, Bowling Green Building, 9-15 Broadway, New York, has recently put on the market the Invincible cork puller, here illustrated.  The puller is compact, of neat and attractive appearance and simple, durable construction.  It is entirely nickeled with the exception of the self-centering safety bottle grip handles, which are japanned.  The handle is 10 inches long, the body being 6 inches high.  The handle rests below the table, shelf or bar to which the puller is clamped.  No springs are used and the handle drops out of the way after use.  The operator incurs no risk from broken bottles, as the rubber cushioned grips are made as to automatically self center the cork under the worm screw.  The puller can be adjusted so that a long cork will be drawn entirely out, although a valuable feature of it is that by a turn of a screw the cork can be so drawn as to have a small portion of it still in the neck of the bottle, which can be readily removed by hand. 

 With many beverages especially those of costly character, this serves the double purpose of preserving the contents until actually needed, at the same time indicating the originality and freshness of the package.  The manufacture dwells on impossibility of error, as is often occasioned by a withdrawn cork accidentally left in the machine, which if undiscovered in the rush of business, is liable to drive the cork or a fresh bottle in, frequently breaking the bottle.  This puller withdraws the cork quickly and easily and strips the cork from the worm screw in a single movement of the lever handle, without removing the bottle from the mouth of the puller.  The same manufacturer makes the Invincible bottle corkscrew, which has already been illustrated in these columns.

Dudly II

As I have mentioned in the past, and if I haven’t, I should have…one of the best pieces of advice that I ever received in corkscrew collecting was from the late Lehr Roe.

We were at a Just for Openers meeting, and I had just made a trade with Tipped Worm Johnny, and had then visited Lehr’s room where we were discussing corkscrews. I showed him new acquisition, and explained that it was a double.

Lehr responded to my comment, with “are you sure?”

He went on to explain that on this particular cork extractor, that there can be variations. Variations in the markings. Variations in the materials used…

A few days later, I had returned home, and compared my JFO acquisition with the “duplicate” piece in my collection.

It was indeed a duplicate, but Lehr’s advice was indeed valuable, as whenever I run across a corkscrew that I would assume is a duplicate, I hear Lehr’s voice and ask myself “are you sure?,” and then make a comparison. And, there have been many many many times, where I thought a new acquisition is a duplicate, only to find that it is a variation of a patent.

Which…brings me to my point.

And, I actually have one.

Clearly the Dudly mentioned the other day is missing the prong that is used to make it a functional cork extractor, but this morning I once again took Lehr’s sage advice, and compared the two pieces.

They are different…

Yes, the missing prong thing would make them different, but there are differences in their construction. Minor, but different.

The most obvious (other than the missing prong thing) is that the opening through which the front prong is released have two different shapes; one is arched and the other is squared.

Not that these variations mean that we each need to find two versions of the Dudly, but interesting that two versions exist. Which leads me to a question for all of you that have a Dudly in your collections. Which version do you have? Squared or Arched…?

Send photos to Josef@vintagecorkscrews.com .

As you like to have all the new wrinkles…

From the September 24, 1869 issue of English Mechanic and Mirror of Science


SIR, –As you like to have all the new wrinkles, I send you a clipping which contains a new description of corkscrew, which has recently been patented by Messrs. Jafroy Brothers of Paris, which is less complicated, has fewer parts, and is more effective and cheaper than those already before the public.  I t is represented in the accompanying cuts a, and a brief description will render it perfectly intelligible.  

Owing to the disposition of the levers the cork can be extracted very gently and with great facility.  There are five parts in this crew, but they are not detached, as is frequently the case, and consequently there is no chance of the screw being rendered useless by the loss or mislaying of any one piece.  Referring to the cuts, b is the handle, which may be made of wood, horn, ivory, or any other suitable material.  The screw is screwed into the socket d, which allows for its being replaced when broken or worn out without necessitating the loss of the rest of the apparatus.  The spring c is mounted in a manner which permits of its ready replacement by any locksmith, and the cap is lined with an internal leather collar.  The screw itself presents no feature of particular novelty, being identical with those of common use.  

T. W. B.