This book is about corkscrews with a Chicago connection. The material was originally presented
at the 2012 Chicago annual meeting of the International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts.
Definition of “corkscrew” from the Merriam-Webster dictionary: “a device for drawing corks
from bottles that has a pointed spiral piece of metal turned by a handle.”
The first Chicago “Corkscrew” wasn’t a corkscrew at all. It was a cork retriever or extractor. C.
Rosenberry obtained U. S. Patent No. 58,889 on October 16, 1866 for his invention entitled
“Cork Extractor.” Curiously, his drawing was entitled “Corkscrew.” Rosenberry stated, “The
object of this invention is to produce a device by means of which corks could be extracted from
bottles and other vessels conveniently, even if those vessels contain some liquid.”
To insert the “Cork-Extractor’ into the bottle, the ring is moved downward to close the four
wires forming a claw. The ring is pulled upward and the claw adjusted to the cork inside the
bottle. Pushing the ring down seizes the cork with the claw and it can then be pulled out.
Many corkscrew patents were granted to Chicago inventors and, although all were apparently not
produced, the drawings and brief descriptions are included in this work.
The first name that comes to mind when thinking of Chicago corkscrews is Vaughan. The firm is
well known for the “Nifty”, the “Quick & Easy”, a number of can openers and bottle openers,