Posted 4 years ago
On June 27, 1876, Joshua Barnes of Brooklyn, NY was awarded a patent 179,090 for an improvement in corkscrews. His patent, which features a double helix as pictured above, mentions that the purpose of the helixes explaining, "My improved corkscrew...thus combines in the same article a corkscrew for drawing corkscrews of vials and small bottles, and also one for drawing the corkscrews of large bottles. By thus duplicating the coils or spirals the advantage is drawing large corks of getting a better hold on the cork, and thus extracting it with more ease than can be done by the use of an ordinary corkscrew."
Definitely an "improvement." But, the esteemed Mr. Barnes wasn't done yet! He was awarded another corkscrew patent on May 27, 1884. Not that he was trying to improve his improvement in corkscrews. Instead, in this patent, Barnes took it upon himself to improve the folding bow corkscrew. The patent specification explains, "The principal part of my invention relates to corkscrews in which the shank of the screw-coil is pivoted on an axis secured to a handle, so that the screw-coil turns in or folds withini the handle. Such folding corkscrews have hitherto been made with the jaws of the handle concave or holowed out; and my improvement in this class of corkscrews consists in making the jaws of the handle convex and fitting into corresponding concavities in the shak of the screw-coil, by which means a stronger and much cheaper corkscrew is produced." Barnes goes on to explain "This improvement can be used in a double or single screw-coil as desired." Further improvements include "cutting edges," as well as a "covering" of the screw shank to prevent separating of the wires.
These are the only two corkscrew patents by Barnes, but clearly he had other interests. Over the years he was also awarded patents for a medicine-dispenser, a yeast-cake, an exhauster and ventilator, a bridge for musical instruments, an improvement in medicine droppers, an improvement in washer-boiler attachments, and my personal favorite (other than his corkscrews) a patent for confectionery; sugar coated licorice to be more specific.
If you would like to learn more about corkscrews, check out my website at http://www.vintagecorkscrews.com
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