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Sunday May 13, 2007

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The Corkscrews of Paul Gladman

by Frank Ellis

There are a number of collectors' items which have the similar feature of a corkscrew clipped behind something. Paul Gladman has been positively identified as the designer of two of them and it is highly likely that he created them all.

Sailor and lifebelt

On 18 January 1958 Paul Gladman of 17, New Buildings, Price Street, Birmingham registered design number 887319 as "A combined mantel ornament and bottle opener". The Copyright expired after the normal 5 years in 1963. The registration document for 887319 is a photograph and the previous entry, 887319, is almost identical but shows a cap lifter.

The actual example of the cast metal sailor corkscrew clipped behind a lifebelt is marked inside the head REG. No. 887319. On the back of the lifebelt it is marked REG. No. 887319 and also 887318. This is not a common corkscrew (would you have bought one?) and one wonders on what basis it was designed, especially as it was a mantel piece ornament. It is not a particular pretty thing to look at. Who was the sailor meant to represent?


Gladman's second design of 9 December 1958, Registration number 891381, was again for "A combined bottle opener and mantel ornament". The registration photograph shows that this shield with lion rampant has a cap lifter clipped behind. In practise it is more common to find it with a corkscrew - and there are two versions : a helmet and a Scotsman. Both shields have a mark cast into the back REG. No. 891381.

Natives and shields

The shields of these benevolent looking African natives are not marked, but are structurally so similar to the previous two pieces that they must be Gladman designs. Some are found with one figure and accompanying arrows as cocktail sticks; others are two or more warriors. Was this one inspired by the film "Zulu" which was released in 1964?

Andy Capp & Flo

These cartoon characters were created by Reginald Smythe and the cartoon strip ran for many years in the Daily Mirror from 1957. Andy has a lazy disposition and always has a cigarette end on his lower lip. His passions are beer, pigeon racing and avoiding work. Flo usually attempts to spur him into action but with little success. The figures and the bar come in a variety of colours. Andy, the cap lifter, is cast in one piece and therefore the corkscrew is always Flo.

An associated piece is the golf bag and turns up with Andy Capp as the cap lifter behind it. It was probably not sold with a corkscrew but it would be very easy to create a "rare addition to your collection" - look out for one on eBay soon.

Lady's Legs

Not the German ones from the 1890s, but surely another novelty item for the bar from Paul Gladman. These lovely legs are not common.

Unfortunately we know nothing more about Paul Gladman.

Editor's note: Frank Ellis is an enthusiastic corkscrew collector with an unquenchable thirst for corkscrew information and history. He is currently working on a book "Corkscrews: British Registered Designs" to be published in July 2007. It will be available at the CCCC meeting in Copenhagen.

Corkscrew photos from the collection of Don Bull.

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©2007 Don Bull, Editor


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