McDowell's Korkmaster

Marshall T. McDowell from New Jersey was granted Design Patent Number 148,810 on February 24, 1948. His application had been filed almost two years before on April 25, 1946. World War II had helped make aluminum a household word and that was the material McDowell chose for his corkscrew.

On the right is a rack and pinion corkscrew as shown in the Patent. This one is marked TRADE MARK KORKMASTER PAT. PENDING.

The corkscrew in the middle has been nicknamed the Kormaster Junior. The worm with threaded stem slides freely through the top of the barrel. The handle threads on to the stem but it has no locking mechanism when at the top. Therefore the stem, handle and barrel all need to be gripped to penetrate the cork with difficulty. Once the worm is in the cork, the handle is threaded down to facilitate lifting the cork into the barrel. A rather awkward corkscrew.

I had seen the corkscrew on the left but thought it might be homemade. Sometimes I am hard to convince until I see a second or a catalog photo. I have since heard of a couple more and John Stanley recently found this one for me. If you look closely, you can see that it certainly appears to be a McDowell production. This one is simple. There is a short barrel with a worm and stem passing through the top. The handle is fixed to the stem. I tried it last night on a bottle of Cabernet. To my surprise it worked extremely well in loosening the cork and, with a slight tug, the cork was liberated.

The orginal Korkmaster box proclaims THERE'S A "BEST" IN EVERYTHING. On the side panel is: The Korkmaster Co., 1060 Broad Street, Newark, New Jersey. And on the side we learn how to use it:

  1. Pull out top handle of "Korkmaster" as far as it will go.
  2. Place "Korkmaster" on top of bottle as illustrated on cover.
  3. Hold lower neck of "Korkmaster" and upper neck of bottle firmly with left hand.
  4. Turn Top Handle clockwise, exerting a downward pressure to set point of corkscrew into the cork and continue to turn as far as possible.
  5. Turn side handle clockwise with right hand and cork will pop.
  6. Drink Heartily.


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©1997 Donald A. Bull