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


In 1977, Homer Babbidge, Jack Bandy and Bob Nugent, Members of the International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts (ICCA) were researching American corkscrew manufacturers and contacted William Rockwell Clough Jr. regarding his father's business activities in Alton, New Hampshire.

Bob Nugent, who lived in Deering, New Hampshire, just a few hours drive from Alton, met with Colonel William Clough Jr. (USAF Ret.) in December 1977. His purpose was to try to learn more about the Clough corkscrew business, but the son knew few details about his father's manufacturing life. However, he did give Bob photos of one of the Clough 1900 patent corkscrew manufacturing machines, the Clough residence (The White Lodge), the Gilman Road factory and some of the medals awarded to W.R. Clough Sr. Obviously here was a story asking to be researched.

In the years that followed, Bob saved all items he found regarding William Rockwell Clough and started to compile a chronological history. Several years of work elapsed, and in 1993 Bob asked me if I would take on the project. I agreed only if he promised to help. There followed a period of considerable fervour as we jointly tried to piece together the life of this corkscrew giant. We spent time together at the Historical Societies in Concord and Alton, New Hampshire, where we were warmly greeted and encouraged to pursue our quest. We unearthed a lot of new information that helped immeasurably in our research.

Then on January 4th, 1996 Bob Nugent died unexpectedly, and for a long time so did my enthusiasm for completing this work. It just wasn't the same without Bob on the other end of the phone with his sage advice, wisdom and encouragement.

In the ensuing years, the life and work of W.R.Clough has been rather an albatross around my neck!! I have drifted in and out of working on the project in between doing other things which could easily tempt me away!

Every such author needs a slave driver to alternately crack the whip and offer useful carrots to tempt him on. Mine was Webmaster Don Bull, whose offer to publish the completed research on his Virtual Corkscrew Museum Website gave me the much needed push to slowly (and I have to emphasize the slowly!!) bring the project to a conclusion. Don's help has been considerable. Any photographs I was unable to supply have come from his extensive photo archive and have greatly enhanced the visual appeal of the text. Most importantly he has spent countless hours, days and probably weeks, dealing with the technical side of translating the manuscript into an "Internet literate" format. My gratitude is immense and most sincere.

In reaching this final published state, I must acknowledge that this document in no way claims to be the last word on the subject. Many of you will have nuggets of information of which I have been blissfully unaware!! I would be happy to add them to the document.

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©2002, 2003 Ron MacLean

Book Designer and Webmaster: Donald A. Bull

The Virtual Corkscrew Museum