The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Birmingham, England - On this date in 1880, William Burton Baker was issued British Patent No. 2950 his "Improvements in Corkscrews." Baker's patent was the first double lever corkscrew. To use the corkscrew, the two levers are placed in the down position and the worm is turned into the cork. As the worm turns, the arms raise. Once fully inserted, pushing the levers down will extract the cork.
Baker's corkscrew was produced by James Heeley & Sons of Birmingham. Heeley really didn't like Baker's design because it did not function smoothly. He found the concept worked better by attaching the arms to a collar which would ride on the shaft. In 1888 he received a patent for this (see The Daily Screw April 23 edition). The Baker design was abandoned very early and replaced with Heeley's improvements in the A-1 Double Lever. They were produced well into the 20th Century.
In light of the change made by Heeley, the Baker is much rarer. The differences can be seen in the photos below. The Baker patent is on the left and the Heeley on the right.
My First Screw by Bernard Schwartz
It was a hot day in July, 1967. I had taken a flight from hot and steamy Mobile, Alabama to hotter and steamier New Orleans. I checked into a hotel in the French Quarter, unpacked my bags, took a shower, and dressed for an evening on the town. I was walking up Bourbon Street and suddenly there was a cloudburst, drenching me. The skies quickly cleared and there in my line of sight was a beautiful lady glistening in the wet. She was laying down with her arms stretched out. Her bright red painted lips looked lucious
I went over to her, reached out, and touched her. I turned her over and she looked fine on the backside too. I moved her arms up and down. I turned her head. All of her parts seemed to be in working order. And then a voice boomed "She's yours for $20.00." I reached in my pocket and pulled out my wad of bills. I stripped off a twenty dollar bill, handed it to the street vendor, and walked off with my prize, my First Screw. Her name was Lulu.
©2003 Don Bull, Editor