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Corkscrew Manufacturing in Birmingham: Charles Hull’s Catalogue c. 1865

1800 - 1900 (c.)

Image: Improved Patent Power Corkscrew No 204, Manufactured by Charles Hull, Birmingham c. 1865

The simplest out and well adapted for Ladies’ Use.

Directions for Use.

Place the Corkscrew on the Bottle in the usual way: after starting the Screw into the Cork, keep on turning till the Cork is drawn.

Text: Malcolm Dick

Images: Local Studies and History, Birmingham Central Library, UK

Summary

The corkscrew originated in the 17th century, but it was refined into a piece of elegant engineering in 19th century Birmingham. The images in the exhibition are taken from Charles Hull’s Catalogue dating from about 1865. They show the variety and complexity of corkscrew design by the mid-19th century. Most of the designs based on patents by Samuel Henshall and Edward Thomason were already in production by the early 19th century. Other significant inventors included Thomas and William Lund who developed their patents in the mid-19th century. By the 19th century, Birmingham was the most important centre of corkscrew manufacture in the world.


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Sources and Further Reading

Ellis, Phil, Miller’s Corkscrews & Wine Antiques: A Collector’s Guide (London, Mitchell Beazley, 2001)
Giulian, Bertrand, Corkscrews of the Eighteenth Century (USA, 1994).
Perry, Evan, Corkscrews and Bottle Openers (Princess Risborough, Shire Publications, 2000).
Wallis, Fletcher, British Corkscrew Patents from 1795 (Vernier Press, 1997).
Watney, Bernard M and Babbidge, Homer D, Corkscrews for Collectors (London and New York, Sotheby Parke Bernet, 1981).