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 .

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.

half a dudly…

Well, more than half, but an important part is missing…

Over the past week, there was a lot on eBay that within it contained a Dudly patent.

And, over the course of the week, I was in contact with the seller with hopes that he had inadvertently misplaced one of the Dudly’s pieces.

See, the Dudly as a prong puller has a removable prong, that slides into the back of the larger portion, and locks the other prong in place.

And, in the listing on eBay, the removable prong had gone missing.

The seller explained that the openers in the lot came from an estate. And, I am guessing trying to find the missing Dudly piece, would be akin to finding a needle in a haystack…

Still, if anyone has an extra Dudly prong laying around, in search of the larger opener piece with fold out prong, we could create a matching set…

Or, if you have a Dudly that has the removable prong, but the fold out prong has damage…


From the October 19, 1870 issue of American Artisan:


The cork-screw has, in the past years, been the subject of several modifications and improvements, none more ingenious than the one illustrated in Fig. 1 of the accompanying engravings, the essential principle of which, as indicated in Fig. 2, may also be employed in the construction of augers and boring tools.  It was patented through the “American Artisan Patent Agency,” on August 2 1870, by Mr. Walter Dickson, of Albany, N.Y.

The invention consists in the connection of the handle with the shank and screw of the cork-screw or other implement by means of two reverse rag-wheel clutches, whereby the rotation of the shank and its attached parts, when in use, may be obtained without removing the hand from the handle drying the entire operation of the device in any given case.  The screw, A, has its upper end or shank extended into the attached handle, B, in such manner that the handle may have a moment around the axis of the screw.  The shank of the screw is provided with a button, C, affixed thereto, and working within the recess, D, in the handle, the upperside of this button being formed with a series of rachet-teeth facing in one direction, while its lower side is furnished with a similar series facing in the opposite direction.  The handle at the lower side of the recess, D, has an annualar ratchet, a, capable of clutching with the lower ratchet of the button, and at its upper side with a similar ratchet, b, capable of clutching with the upper annular ratchet, the space D, affording such play to the handle that, by moving the same up or down upon the shank, one or the other of the annular ratchets may be clutched with button as may be desired.

To use the cork-screw the point of the screw is inserted into the cork, and the handle is pressed down to clutch the same upon the upper ratchet of the button on the shank.  The handle is then turned back and forth without removing the hand from it, and, the clutch operated only in one direction, the screw is of course screwed into the cork with an intermittent movement.  In order to reverse the motion with reference to the cork, after the withdrawal of the latter, it is only necessary to take the cork in one hand and the cork-screw in the other, so that, the ratchet of the button clutching with the handle, a reverse motion of the latter quickly operates the screw to withdraw the same.  It will thus be seen that the entire operation of Inserting the screw, withdrawing the cork, and removing the same from the screw may be done without once removing the hand from the handle, which in other cork-screws is a source of considerable delay and inconvenience.  The augur, represented in Fig. 2, is made on the same plan, the tool turned in one direction by the clutching of the handle with the upper side of the button, and in a reverse direction by the connection, in like manner of the handle with the underside of the button, and therefore requires no specific description to make the method of its operation understood.

The Dickson is a hard to come by American patent, and there are a couple of variations out there.

If you have an 1870 Dickson patent, ( usually marked PAT AUG. 2, 1870 ) drop me a line at .

unusual roundlet

The other day, there was an unusual roundlet-like corkscrew on eBay with a buy it now or best offer.

After looking at it closely, I threw out an offer, and received a prompt counter offer.

After the fact, I learned that RL had also sent an offer, only to be countered as well.

Interestingly enough, RL’s counter offer was higher than my counter offer, even through our initial offers were identical.

Thanks for balking at the counter RL!

Now, it will take some time for the piece to arrive, as the seller is in Ukraine, but the price was decent enough to take a chance on the piece, and on shipping.

Notice the little slot at the end of the case.

It looks that the inner shell rotates into the outer shell to close the case.

When it arrives, I will post better images, but definitely an interesting roundlet corkscrew.