The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Eindhoven, Netherlands - On this date in 1987, United States Patent Number 4,637,283 was issued for an electric "Corkscrew Device." The U. S. Patent was assigned to U. S. Philips Corporation, New York. The inventors were Leo Bertram, Stolberg, Germany; Romuald L. Bukoschek and Peter Steiner, Klagenfurt, Austria.
The patent abstract gives this description:
"A corkscrew comprises a sleeve coaxial with a corkscrew spiral and formed to cooperate with a bottleneck provided with a cork. An electric motor drives the corkscrew spiral by means of a reduction gear, the corkscrew spiral being capable of being screwed into the cork in one direction of rotation with the cork being drawn from the bottleneck without the direction of rotation being reversed, the reduction gear providing a reduction ratio of 60:1 to 100:1, the electric motor being a self-starting two-pole single-phase synchronous motor with a diametrically magnetized permanent-magnet rotor. A reversible unidirectional latch is situated at the driven side of the corkscrew spiral for defining the direction of rotation of the motor, such unidirectional latch cooperating with a part of the reduction gear driven by the motor with an integral reduction ratio. Provision is made to reverse the blocking direction of the unidirectional latch to select one of the two directions of rotation of the motor."
The U. S. Patent application was filed May 24, 1985. It was preceded by the first patent in Austria filed June 1, 1984 and issued September 15, 1985 (No. 380,222). The assignee of the patent was N. V. Philips, Gloeilampenfabrieken, Eindhoven, Netherlands.
Subsequent to the Austria patent, the trio had received:
U. K. Patent No. 2,160,183A (filed May 29 1985; published Dec. 18, 1985)
Spain Patent 287,184 (filed May 29, 1985; issued Dec. 16, 1985)
German Patent No. 35 19566A (filed May 31, 1985; issued Dec. 5, 1985)
French Patent 2,565,955 (filed May 31, 1985; issued Dec. 20, 1985)
The electric corkscrew was also patented in Hong Kong (No. 33,689) and Singapore (No. 28,188).
It is interesting to note that an application for a United States Design Patent was filed on August 27, 1984 shortly after the Austrian mechanical patent file date and prior to the filing dates for the other patents. Design Patent No. 288,521 was issued March 3, 1987 to Jan F. Van Asten, Leek, Netherlands, and assigned to U. S. Philips Corporation, New York.
"Cork Fix" electric corkscrews marked NORELCO (110V) and PHILIPS (220V). A review in a 1986 issue of the New York Daily News quoted $37.95 as the retail price. Royal Philips Electronics is a Dutch company marketing products in the United States under the Norelco brand name.
©2004 Don Bull, Editor