William Rockwell Clough
Inventor and Manufacturer of over a Billion Corkscrews
©2002 Ron MacLean

Clough Related Corkscrew Patents


1902 February 25 Canadian Patent No. 74,941 Applied for August 21, 1901 "Machine for Making Cork Screws" granted to Clough for this same 1900 U.S. Patent corkscrew manufacturing machine.

The convenience of having a small Clough wire corkscrew handy is well illustrated in the May 19, 1903 Patent No. 728,735 granted to W.J. Lowenstein of Statesville, North Carolina for a Bottle Attachment - a recess in the glass under the label for holding a corkscrew or other tool. The patent design shows a Clough 1875 patent corkscrew with a metal advertising tag on the ring. It is not known but suspect that possibly Clough may have had some direct influence or input on the Lowenstein patent.

1904 December 27 U.S. Patent No. 778,593 - Applied for April 6, 1904 - "Closure for Bottles or the Like" granted to Alexander Maconnell possibly the son of James Maconnell, (Clough's frequent partner) for a Closure for Bottles incorporating a Clough type metal band wire corkscrew. The patent attorney was non other than Charles C. Gill, Clough's patent attorney. It may be presumed that Clough had more than a passive awareness of this related invention.


1908 May 7 British Patent No. 20,272 Decapitator was granted to Clough while living in London, England for a number of crown cap lifter devices called "Decapitators" which were normally fitted to the wooden sheaths of his wire corkscrews. English examples (below) with a stamped steel decapitator have been found marked "PATENT NO 20272, 1907".


1910 March 1 U.S. Patent No. 950,509 Applied for October 17, 1907 "Bottle Cap Lifter" (Decapitator) Granted to Clough for decapitators similar to the English Patent 20,272 . Examples of this patent may often be found on sheaths with one variant called the "Newire Combination The Boss" on a handbill (below left) and shows the caplifter wire attachment fitted to one end of a wooden handle. An advertising model which W.R. Clough called "THE BOSS NEWIRE" with the handle (below right) almost completely covered with Clough advertising is marked It's Wise To Advertise! Get Wise And Use This NEWWIRE COMBINATION Corkscrew and Cap-Lifter / The Best We Ever Made / ROCKWELL CLOUGH CO. ALTON, N.H. U.S.A. / WRC Originators of Wire Corkscrews. WIRE CAP-LIFTER PAT. MAR 1, 1910

Jack Bandy's patent files which showed that the 1886 William Crabb patent attorney was no other than W.R. Clough, also answered another question, the meaning of the expression "Patent Allowed". One Clough "Decapitator" corkscrew (March 1, 1910 U.S. Patent) has the words "Clough Patent Allowed" on the caplifter arm. No one seemed to know what this meant but one of the forms in a complete file states "Your patent has been examined and ALLOWED". It then goes on to state that the patent applicant has six months to pay the final fee of Twenty Dollars in order to obtain his patent. By waiting the full six months an inventor could extend the life of his patent by the same period with very little, if any, risk of patent infringement.

1914 December 15 U.S. Patent No. 1,120,906 - Applied for April 16, 1911 Bottle Attachment Clough was granted U.S. Patent No. 1,120,906 of December 15, 1914 for a Bottle Attachment for securing a wire corkscrew. This was simply a piece of bent wire/flat steel to secure a corkscrew to a bottle neck during transport. It is not known if any examples have been found.

1920 May 4 U.S. Patent No. 1,339,164 - Applied for June 28, 1918 - "Pocket Implement" (Wire Helixes for Pocket Knives Granted to Clough for a Pocket Implement (Knife with wire corkscrew). This patent was basically for a wire section for the corkscrew portion of a knife to "materially simplify and lessen the cost of the manufacture of corkscrews" for pocket knives. This patent was presumably pursued to help establish a new market for his wire helix manufacturing interests.

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