In 1991 an English corkscrew collector* mailed pictures of his corkscrew find to a number of other collectors. He was not able to learn anything about his corkscrew other than "It is know to have been in Japan 'for many years' and there is an inscription on the metal cap of the wooden handle, in characters ... which I take to be Japanese."
He states that the mechanism is plain metal and the form is simple and nicely finished. In describing the photographs below, he says "...the ring sits well down the neck, such that the lever mechanism gives a very limited lift to the cork, and perhaps it was designed for bottles with shorter necks or less acute taper."
His request for further information on the corkscrew brought no response. Until now!
*The owner asked for anonymity in this newsletter.
The secret to the corkscrew was revealed in the 2004 publication of Corkscrew Patents of Japan. It is Japanese patent number 15,499 from 1909. Here is the patent copy and drawing:
One has to wonder how many more of the intriguing patents shown in the book will identify the mysterious corkscrews in the hands of other corkscrew collectors.
For book detals see: http://www.bullworks.net/virtual/books/2004bks.htm
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