The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper
Sunday, February 18, 2007
On June 20, 1871 Dexter Chamberlain was granted U. S. Patent No. 116,155 for his Improvement in Taps or Faucets for Bottles. Dexter's objective was to "secure the drawing off of champagne and other sparkling wines or liquors, from bottles, more especially in such quantities as may be required for use without necessarily exposing the remaining contents to the air, but securing their preservation intact." Although the tap is frequently found without markings, reader Kenn Cameron has found a marked example.
Kenn writes "I came across this unusual marked tap the other day. It is marked with a patent date 'Patented June 20, 1871' and on the other side of the valve 'S. E. Hayward, New York'. I've found many of these taps over the years, but this is only the second one I've seen with a patent date."
Chamberlain was from West Roxbury, Massachusetts in the corkscrew / Champagne tap hunting grounds of reader Cameron.
Twist Off Caps
Canadian reader Al Haché writes "As a follow-up to Special edition, Feb 4 2007, uncorking Gott, there seems to be a better way to open the screwtop wine bottles and someone has devised it. The circle has a squeeze mechanism to grip the top and just untwist, it also has all the other amenities that the usual waiter's corkscrew have. "
Corkscrews from China
How long will it be before the latest productions from China show up in corkscrew sales as "antiques"?
The China pig at left center resembles the Goberg pig on the left. The Goberg pig was produced in Germany by Hugo Berger in the early 1900s.
The Kurt Rettich penguin at right center is obviously the inspiration for the Chinese penguin at far right. See the Feb 21, 2003 issue for more on Rettich.
ChinaTrader.com also offered a couple of vegetable corkscrews and a Chinese warrior.
We poked around the Internet to see if we could find any more vegetable corkscrews. We found this carrot corkscrew in the World Carrot Museum.
And in the offices of The Weekly Screw we find:
These were purchased several years ago and resemble those currently seen on the Internet at chinatraderonline.com but of somewhat better quality.
Corkscrew for Table
Reader Philippe Steff submitted this drawing which he found in the 1976 book Unobtainable Articles Catalog nr 2 by Jacques Carelman.
A Tale of Two Trees
from an Anonymous Reader
While on vacation several years ago, I happened to be strolling along an upscale promenade along the banks of the Thames in London when I was quite startled at a most amazing sight. It was not only a corkscrew tree, but it was loaded with "fruit"!
Now, I know of such trees, since I secretly have my own in the U. S. which I harvest when it gets loaded with down with nice, ripe Chinnocks, Syroco pieces, etc. I'd always figured there were other such trees around, but I'd never considered that they might yield different "fruit" depending on the variety or where they were grown. But, much to my amazement, this English corkscrew tree on the banks of the Thames was actually loaded with English corkscrews-a Georgian silver bow, Codd openers, and many other grand pieces.
The English Tree
The American Tree
Well, I won't go into details, but undaunted by the "Do Not Pick the Corkscrews" sign, I did manage to persuade the shop owner to let me pick just one-for a handsome price, of course.
I also managed to snip a twig from that tree, which I have now grafted onto my own tree in the U. S. Come harvest time, I hope that branch will yield a nice crop of R. Jones' Henshalls, or even a Hipkins or two.
Now, I'm looking for a Germanicus Ficus Helixicus
Editor's Note: This mysterious letter accompanied by the two photos from "Anonymous" was received shortly after the publication of the large postcard in the last issue.
Yet another offering from Belarus is shown on the right. Although the eBay sale page does not call it a Read's Coaxer there is some resemblance. It is described as "Vintage Corkscrew Bottle Opener. The item is in a good condition. Wooden handle. Full length 15.5 cm."
On the left is the genuine Read's Coaxer. The real one is marked READ'S COAXER 4 PARLIAMENT ST on top of the button. It has a wood handle mounted on brass and an Ivory plaque with crest inlaid in handle. The length is 17 cm.
©2007 Don Bull, Editor