Bottle Openers 

The Crown Cork was invented by William Painter, an American of British descent who lived in Baltimore a century ago. Painter was a keen investor; he took out over 80 patents during his busy lifetime, not all to do with bottles!! His first British patent relating to bottle closure or capping of some sort was obtained in 1885, this patent involved a "disc" capping of flexible material such as linoleum, which could be holed with a special piercing tool. Over the next six years various changes were made to his original ideas, and soon a crimped metal bottle top crowning bottles of a special new lip / neck design evolved, known as the Crown Cork closure. They needed a lever devise know to open the new bottles, so they invented the Crown seal bottle opener or bottle lever. Dating openers is very difficult, but registered numbers on some openers gives us some idea. The number RD. 702661 and 708483 first appeared in 1923 and 1924, the earliest types of openers had a round looped head, they had stamped lettering and usually were only quite small, about 2 3/4 inches long. The other quite common type of cast iron opener that you see has the numbers RD. 811274 on one side and PT. 466444, a design registered in 1936. When you delve into collecting cast iron openers you will see just how many different types are available out there.

Originally written by Richard May, England


Who invented the first corkscrew? Corkscrew historian Ron McLean from the "The Virtual Corkscrew Museum" had this  to say: "It is unknown when and who made the first corkscrew. The first corkscrews were derived from a gun worme, a tool with a single or double spiral end fitting used to clean musket barrels or to extract an unspent charge from the barrel. By the early 17th century corkscrews for removing corks were made by blacksmiths as using a cork to stopper a bottle was well established." The English were the first to seal wine bottles, using cork imported from Spain or Portugal. Corkscrew inventors were inspired by a tool called the bulletscrew or gun worm, a device that extracted stuck bullets from rifles. McLean lists the following corkscrew patents gathered from his research as being firsts in several respective countries.

  •   England: Patent No 2061 granted to Samuel Henshall, Princes Street, Parish of Christchurch, Middlesex, on August 24, 1795.
  •   France: Patent No. 3571 granted to Francois Rever on February 23, 1828.
  •   U. S. A.: Patent No. 27,615 granted to M.L. Byrn of New York, N.Y. for a corkscrew on March 27, 1860. However, a much earlier patent No. 15,325 was granted on July 15, 1856 to George Blanchard of New York, N.Y. for a metallic tube nutmeg grater as the handle of a corkscrew. 
  •   Germany: Patent No 16 granted to Benjamin Loew of Tilsit on July 3, 1877.
  •   Canada: Patent No.16,163 granted to William Addison of Hamilton, Ontario on January 23, 1883.  

        Originally written by Mary Ballis

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