The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

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Thanks to William Painter

Cambridge, Massachusetts, Feb. 19, 1901 - In February, 1894 William Painter, an employee of the Baltimore's Crown Cork and Seal Company,was granted a patent for the first bottle cap lifter. Just two years prior to that, the crown cap was invented and began to appear on many bottles that had previously been sealed with corks or rubber seal mechanisms. Many brewers and bottlers, however, have not accepted the newfangled cork lined caps and still continue to put their product up in corked bottles.

A number of designs for cap lifters followed Painter's and now Cambridge resident Augustus W. Stephens has patented a keyring/pocket version. His design is covered by U. S. Design Patent 34,096 for a "Bottle Seal Remover." The patent drawing shows only a cap lifter, but Stephens is also incorporating a corkscrew for those customers who desire it.

Dubuque Brewing & Malting Company (Iowa) purchased the cap lifter with corkscrew through the Chicago Specialty Box Company to advertise their Vimalt Health Tonic. They are marked with the Feb. 19, 1901 patent date.

Pop Your Cork

Yonne, France, February 19, 1968 - Robert Louis Rigard obtained French Patent No. 1,519,085 today for his "Dispositif pour l'extraction de bouchons á tête, notamment de bouteilles de champagne ou autres récipients" (Device for the extraction of corks, notably of bottles of champagne or other receptacles). The invention is in the shape of a champagne bottle with cork top. The metal stamping has an arch in the base which slides under the bulbous cork top. Pushing down on the handle against the bottle top moves the cork up until it "pops."

Rigard's invention is ideally suited to producers of Champagne as an advertising piece. The example pictured reads "Champagne Brut, Vve Maitre Geoffroy, Cumières."

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©2003 Don Bull, Editor

The Virtual Corkscrew Museum