The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
Wallingford, Connecticut, May 28, 1878 - The United States Patent Office has assigned Number 204,389 to Alfred W. Sperry's patent application filed two weeks ago.
One of Sperry's concerns is that in most corkscrews, the worm is a permanent part of the corkscrew assembly. If the worm becomes damaged it renders the whole corkscrew useless unless, as he states, "...it be sent to a mechanician competent to repair it." Sperry's solution is to construct the corkscrew with several screws so "any person unskilled may remove the screw or introduce a different one."
The patent date mark on Sperry's corkscrew can be found next to the hinged worm.
Wirtz, Virginia - An excerpt from The Ultimate Corkscrew Book ©1999:
I need to relate a "corkscrew find" story....several years ago my wife and I visited a newly opened consignment shop. When we entered, I went directly to some shelves in the corner which appeared to have a number of small things. There I spotted a worm. I moved aside the covering rubble and saw my prize. My hands were trembling as I read the price tag. $4.00! I grasped it tightly in my hand waiting for my wife to finish rounds of the store. I went to the cashier and, without even bargaining, I forked over my $4.00 (plus tax). Safely in my car with my new found treasure, I showed it to my wife and asked her if she would have purchased it if she had come by herself. She responded that it looked like a brand new kitchen implement and she probably would pass it up.
The "kitchen implement" - in mint condition is Sperry's 1878 patent. It is distinctly marked May 28, 1878. Simmons Hardware of St. Louis, Missouri offered "Sperry's Improved Lever" in their 1881 catalog for $1.25! Current value: $2500-3500. If only I had more such stories to tell!
Benzhausen, Germany, May 28, 1934 - Adolf Menz has come up with an unusual locking mechanism for a corksrew. There is a spring in the shaft which can be depressed into a recess to push the frame up in order to remove the self-extracted cork. German registration number 1,308,467 has been assigned to his design.
©2003 Don Bull, Editor