The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Number 533

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News Archive

Dog Tax

In January 1933 the Pearson-Page-Jewsbury Co. Ltd. of Birmingham, England registered designs for the solo dog shown above left and the pair shown in the center. And in the piece on the left we find a third dog watching whatever the other two are doing.

We recently found this June 28, 1953 International News Service story entitled "Corkscrew Dogs Tail Will Wag in Parliament":

LONDON, June 28 (INS)- The House of Commons takes up Tuesday the case of "the dog with the corkscrew tail." The dog in question is manufactured by Birmingham companies for use as a bottle opener. The case involves long-standing dispute between British tax authorities and Birmingham manufacturers, and a Laborite MP from that industrial city is trying to bring it to a head.

P. L. E. Shurmer, the MP, has served notice he will ask Chancellor of the Exchequer R. A. Butler "why one part of the dog's anatomy results in the imposition of a 75 per cent tax rate, while another part of the same animal should escape with a 25 per cent imposition?" The tax people ruled a while ago that because the corkscrew and tail are one and the same thing, the dog can be displayed on a mantelpiece and therefore is "ornamental." Therefore, the purchase tax on it is 75 per cent.

The tax authorities, with complete disregard for the anatomical facts of life, pointed out that if the manufacturers would put the corkscrew in the dog's back instead of in the tail position the purchase tax would be only 23 per cent. Then, they said, it would be "utilitarian" and non-ornamental." "But then," asked an incredulous spokesman for the manufacturers, "who in the world would buy a dog with a tail coming out the middle of its back?"

On the same date as the aforementioned British registrations by the Pearson-Page-Jewsbury Co., the firm registered the design shown in the center of the photograph. They also registered a double dog design on a two finger pull as well as a standing dog with the corkscrew in the same position. So what was all the fuss about twenty years later in the House of Commons? Already in production with worms below the figures were Terriers, Setters, Spaniels, Bulldogs, and more. Or did the House of Commons consider also that these were extensions of a part of the dog's anatomy other than the tail? We haven't seen one with the corkscrew coming out of the dog's back so we wonder whatever happened to the controversy over taxation.

Corkscrew Art

Albert Anker

Still life by Swiss painter Albert Anker (1831-1910] including a folding bow corkscrew on the tray.


Still life by Gillson?

Postal Cancellation

1956 - submitted by Jean Grignon

News Index

©2008 Don Bull, Editor


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