Walter Ruby's patented corkscrew

Walter Ruby's patented corkscrew

Yesterday I went back to polish up my Walter Ruby story on Treelines, which recounts information from this blog about his business history in the liquor industry in the 1930s. Included is a mention of a barman's tool invented by Walter Ruby, which he manufactured independently after leaving American Spirits in 1938.

Previously we have only heard about this device, never seen photos or other evidence of the so-called invention. So yesterday I was having trouble finding an image file for the story on my computer and so decided to run an image search on "Walter Ruby" in Google, since I knew I had found it online originally.

Well, besides finding the image I was looking for, photographs and drawings of the fabled Walter Ruby invention showed up. The first, above, is from a corkscrew collector's auction site, where an item labeled "Walter Ruby Patent Propelling Pencil & Corkscrew" was listed and sold in 2010 for $250. Further searching revealed that a second copy of the item came up for bid earlier this year. Here is how the item is described in the catalog.

This is an American 1938 Walter Ruby patent corkscrew, caplifter and propelling pencil. It is black with green lettering and is marked "Suggest the Carioca Cooler (Cuba Libre plus lime) Made only with Coca Cola Lime and Rum Carioca 86 proof. Serve in 10 oz Collins glass - Plenty Ice, Gia Ron Carioca Distilleries Inc. San Juan, Puerto Rica, Pat. Pend".

So with all the mentions of patents, I ran another search for patents by Walter Ruby and, lo and behold, there is his full patent filing available as a pdf. Here is the text of his patent claim:


Walter Ruby, Long Beach, Long Island, N. Y. Application August 3,  1937,  Serial No.  70,865 Term of patent 14 years

To all whom it may concern: Be it  known that I,  Walter Ruby, a citizen of the United States and resident of Long Beach, Long Island, in the county of Nassau and State of New York, have invented a new, original, and ornamental  Design for a Combination Pencil, Corkscrew and Bottle Opener, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, forming a part there of, in which Fig. 1 is a side elevation of a combination pencil, corkscrew, and bottle opener with the cork screw element inserted in the top of the as when the article will be used for writing, show ing my new design; Fig. 2 is another elevational view taken at right angles to the disclosure in Fig.  1; Fig. 3 is  an exploded View of the article shown in  Figs. 1 and 2,  the parts being joined by a bracket.

I claim: The ornamental design for a combination pencil,  corkscrew and bottle opener, substantially as shown and described.


Pretty amazing discoveries. I have signed up with the Collector Corkscrews site in hopes to finding one for sale. Meanwhile, I'll consider what new information we can glean from these surprising new finds in the next post.