The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper

Sunday, June 29, 2003

News Index

Woodman's Patent

Newark, New Jersey, June 29, 1886 - Wilbur B. Woodman has been granted U. S. Patent No. 344,556 for his corkscrew invention. Woodman says he wanted to "obviate the awkward pulling operation." He adds, as so many others have said in their patent applications, that he wanted "to provide a corkscrew which shall be simple and economical in construction, and at the same time durable and efficient in use."

Woodman attached a frame to a cast handle. At the top of the handle is a hook and at the top of the shaft is a hanging ring which also serves to lock onto the pin when the worm is inserted into the cork. The ring is then released and continuous turning lifts the cork into the frame. The worm and the shaft are formed from one piece of wire.

Editor's note: Woodman's corkscrew handle has the patent date cast into one side and his own name prominently displayed on the other.

Letter to the Editor

But it is a Helix

I refer to your "Helixophiles Beware" article in yesterday's edition of The Daily Screw - According to Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and MSN Encarta, it appears that a helix can be formed around a cylinder or a cone.

Webster's Collegiate Pronunciation: 'hE-liks

Function: noun Inflected Form(s): plural he·li·ces /'he-l&-"sEz, 'hE-/; also he·lix·es /'hE-lik-s&z/ Etymology: Latin, from Greek; akin to Greek eilyein to roll, wrap Date: 1563

  1. something spiral in form: as a : an ornamental volute b : a coil formed by winding wire around a uniform tube
  2. the incurved rim of the external ear
  3. a curve traced on a cylinder or cone by the rotation of a point crossing its right sections at a constant oblique angle

MSN Encarta

Helix, shape in the form of a spiral coil, either cylindrical or conical, along its length.

Of course a helix could be part 'conical' and part 'cylindrical', as most are.

Alf Erickson

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©2003 Don Bull, Editor


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