The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper

Thursday, January 15, 2004

News Index

What Cheer

East Cleveland, Ohio - On this date in 1935 Henry G. Thompson was issued United States Patent Number 1,988,057 for his wall mounted corkscrew. Thompson stated his goal was to produce a corkscrew that could be "manufactured so cheaply that it can be retailed profitably at a very low price." We can just imagine Henry dreaming of finding his corkscrew mounted on the wall of every room in every hotel in the country.

Henry complains that pocket and portable corkscrews "have well recognized disadvantages, among which may be mentioned that they are easily misplaced [editor - don't we all do that?] ... and their use is sometimes difficult and sometimes breaks up the cork, resulting in chips passing into the contents of the bottle, while at other times the cork is extracted so vigorously as to spill the contents [editor - especially after several bottles have been consumed!]"

Henry had originally been granted U. S. Patent No. 1,930,492 in October 1933 for this wall mounted corkscrew with the title "Combination bottle opener, jar top remover, and cork screw." The 1935 patent made additional claims to help solidify his patent. In the first patent application he presents this scenario:

"In the past, when it became necessary to open a bottle and no bottle opener was found nearby, the cap of the bottle was placed against the nearest piece of furniture, window sill or any projection, and pounded, resulting in a marking of the furniture and in some instances, when the neck of the bottle broke, the ruining of rugs, curtains, etc."

[Henry must have had some wild hotel room parties]. He continues:

"This was especially true in hotels, where, if a bottle opener was placed by the management in each room, it soon became lost or found its way into a guest's pocket. There have been bottle openers which could be secured in place, but these have been a costly construction, which prohibited their use in every room of a hotel."

[Make them cheap, screw them to the wall and nobody will want them!].

The back of the wall mounting is marked C. S. RIPLEY & CO., CLEVELAND, O., U.S.A. PAT. PEND. On the front on this example is "What Cheer."

James Quality Jewelers

Bangkok, Thailand - On Monday and Tuesday, our Bangkok correspondent, Alf Erickson, reported on his search for the Siam Bar Set sources. One of the sets bore the label of "James Quality Jewellers." When Alf went to the address on the label, he found a locked up building. We did a little further investigating and happened upon a Viet Nam poster at The caption for the poster was "Who could ever forget James Quality Jewelers in Bangkok, Thailand? Bob got this poster from them on one of his visits."

Here was more mystery Was this James Quality Jewelers a shop frequented by military personnel on leave in Bangkok? Would someone really forget it? We wrote the webmaster and got this response:

From: Peter A. Bird
Wednesday, January 14, 2004 7:47 PM
Subject: Re: Bangkok Thailand and C-7A Caribou

James Jewelers was indeed a large shop in Bangkok that specialized in U.S. military personnel (although it was open to all). Bangkok had a large contingent of permanent USAF people, so it certainly wasn't limited to people on leave. I regularly flew a C-141 into Don Muang International and most often that was the end of a duty day, so we spent the night there. Bangkok was also the place where all the major maintenance on the C-7A aircraft based in Vietnam was done. I also had the pleasure of taking a C-7A into Bangkok and bringing a repaired one back in-country after about a three day stay. I really don't know the background on James and his shop, but he developed a reputation amongst military people for being a fair man who didn't cheat people. You could generally spend money in his shop with the assurance that the appraised value of whatever you bought would be far higher back in the states than what you paid. I still have a cigarette lighter he gave away as a souvenir. The address on the back is: 542/13-14 Petchburi Road Bangkok, Thailand Box 2144

Our thanks to Peter for his reply.

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©2004 Don Bull, Editor


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