The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper

Saturday, March 1, 2003

News Index


Alton, New Hamphire, March 1, 1910 - Prolific inventor William Rockwell Clough just got United States Patent No. 950,509 for his "Bottle Cap Lifter" which he fondly refers to as the "Decapitator." Two versions of the cap lifter are shown in the patent drawings: a swinging sheet metal form and a wire form.

Clough says "The object of the invention is to provide a suitable individual implement which may be conveniently carried in the pocket and used either for extracting a cork or lifting a cap, the presence of the cork-extracting means serving to increase the utility of the device."

Like his previous inventions and designs, Clough expects to sell "Decapitator" corkscrews with advertising on the wooden sheath to many firms. He feels that eventually his firm will produce over a billion corkscrews.

Free Clough Book

Wirtz, Virginia - For more information on Clough, see the book William Rockwell Clough Inventor and Manufacturer of over a Billion Corkscrews by Ron MacLean and Bob Nugent. The book has been published online in The Virtual Corkscrew Museum at

What the Hell is that?

Wirtz, Virginia - Corkscrew collectors beware! Here's another new corkscrew being sold on an Internet auction site without any indication that it is new. The headline for one closing today is "Pewter Devil Wine Cork Screw - Unusual!!!" Before you get into a bidding frenzy, you need to know that this corkscrew is currently offered by Design Toscano for $12.95 or three for $24.90.

Conworth Obituary Corkscrew

England, March 1, 1855, Job Conworth, a Lieutenant in the 3rd Nottinghamshire Militia passed away today at the age of 73.

A corkscrew with butterfly handle and centering button in frame has been engraved with "Job Conworth, Obit. March 1st, 1855, 73 Years" on the sides of the frame. This is called an "obituary corkscrew."

Women's History Month

In 1978 the Education Task force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women started a "Women's History Week" celebration .

Two years later, in March of 1980, President Jimmy Carter urged Americans to recognize and celebrate the historical accomplishments of women. By the end of the year a Joint Congressional Resolution that declared the week of March 8th in 1981 as National Women's History Week.

In 1987, several women's groups petitioned Congress to expand the national celebrations to the entire month of March. Both the House and Senate quickly approved a National Women's History Month Resolution.

Thoughout the month of March, The Daily Screw will celebrate Women's History with Women and Corkscrews.

Letters to the Editor

Kudos - Comments

Thank you for interesting and informatiive "news" each morning. As the Vice-President of Cork Pops, Inc. I have to admit that yours is one of my favorite "trade" publications. The interest in corkscrews and wine accessories continues to be a major part of the retail scene in the United States. Having just returned from Ambiente in Frankfurt--it is apparent that the universal language is no longer "love" but is " wine" -- the variety of wine accessory products that will be appearing in the next few months is amazing!

Your desire to inform the public about "knock-off" corkscrews is something we have in common. Cork Pops, Inc. is faced with the the "passing off" of similar products each day---most of them products that are inferior in both design and quality. It is the nature of the business to have companies attempt to cash in on a products success --our concern is that these products may be unsafe when used as they are not made to the same specifications nor do they carry the same use disclaimers as the original product.

Our product continues to be made in our US factory under the watchful eyes of Bill Federighi, the son of the original patent holder, George Federighi, Sr. Thank you for your commitment to inform, entertain and educate the public.

Linda D. Bridges Vice-President Cork Pops, Inc, California


Thanks for the article. I had them all pegged, but some were sure enticing enough to watch closely. I suspect China, but who knows. They also seem to be prevalent in Argentina.

Bob Roger, Virginia

Too Late

Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy The Daily Screw very much. However, I wish I had received today's issue yesterday. You guessed it! I bought a "very old, carved ivory" chef corkscrew today at an estate sale for $40. It was marked "Syroco" on the bottom. As you mentioned, the workmanship is really very good, but the worm is very poorly executed. It was marked $60, but "since we have had such bad weather," the seller said she would take $40 for it. My husband asked if it were old and she said: "Oh, yes. I can tell you it's very old. You can tell by the color of the ivory." "Ivory?" I asked and she said yes it was ivory.

I actually thought it was plastic, but liked it and thought it would be a good addition to my brother's corkscrew collection. $40 sounded pretty cheap if it were, indeed, ivory. But, as I said, I liked it, and since I really thought it was plastic - I bought it anyway. When we got home, I looked in The Ultimate Corkscrew Book and couldn't find it. Then, I went to my computer and there was today's issue of The Daily Screw. Talk about timing!! Just thought you would like to know that they are showing up in the Dallas, TX, area, too. K

Shirley Chesney, Texas

Buyer Beware

I bought the same "1892 Champagne" corkscrew a few years ago in London, at the regular weekly flea market on Portobello Road. I paid about 10 GBP, or about US$15 back then. I doubt it is older than 10 years old. My guess is that this was someone's idea of a promo item, since a corkscrew would never be used to open a champagne bottle. Certainly an interesting collector's piece, but not worth any money.

Ellen Flanagan, Maryland


Just read your The Daily Screw with the news of the fake bone and bronze corkscrews. I attend local live auctions from time to time and if the listing has corkscrews I will investigate - I went to Boos Gallery here in Michigan to investigate a few lots listed to contain corkscrews I picked them up and looked them over closely something wasn't right. I had never seen them before - this is an upmarket seller - Boos is often seen on The Antique Roadshow. I came home from the preview and searched ebay with keywords to reflect what I had seen - sure enough they showed up. Actually none of them are exactly as featured in your daily screw - as you say it is wider than your list. What I saw was an ivory bird sitting on a vertical log concealing the worm. A bronze cherub with grapes aloft and a brass / gold colored banner or sash, the worm came from the feet. The nicest was a bronze horse with all four feet close together as if the horse was balancing on a rock - his head was down as if feeding, worm out of feet. There were a good amount of other bone and bronze items mixed in with and in adjacent lots - probably all suspect. Needless to say I did not attend the sale.

I will bet these are coming out of the UK. You've got to laugh at the "Syroco" ones. I did notice also that the same sellers do not restrict themselves to one type. In other words SOME are selling the champagne bottle corkscrew as well as the bone type and the bronze type. SOME have multiple sales of the same identical item - well spaced timewise of course.

Brian McCann, Michigan

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©2003 Don Bull, Editor

The Virtual Corkscrew Museum