The Corkscrews of Anton Trunk


Several years ago, while I was doing research into corkscrews made by James D. Frary and the Frary Cutlery Company, I ran across a few interesting bits of information that linked another corkscrew maker with Frary, and that would be Anton Trunk of Bridgeport, Connecticut who was awarded the first U.S. design patent for a corkscrew (# D-16,799) on April 15, 1886.

In an entry the William Steinway's 1861-1896 diary--available through the Smithsonian--there is an entry that explains that Trunk, President of the Frary Cutlery Company visited Mr. Steinway.

The entry for July 23rd, 1883 reads:

July 23d Monday.

Read in the papers that young Dr. Patchin shot himself last night at 427 E. 50th street. George Lyon in town. Weather sultry, 80 degrees Anton Trunk Pres. of Frary Cutlery Co. calls on me, and looks with Fr. St. at our property in Astoria.

And, the other piece of information is a simple slip of paper, a check from The Frary Cutlery Company made out to the Bridgeport Steamboat Company, that bears the signature of our man Trunk.

While I have long been after an example of the Trunk patent, the link to Frary gave me that much more drive to acquire his patented design. I should add that there are two variations of the Trunk, both topless, but one example is bottomless. In the patent drawings, as shown below, initially madam maintained her britches.

Trunk's patent description reads as follows:

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, Anton Trunk, a citizen of the United States, residing at Bridgeport, in the county of Fairfield and State of Connecticut, have invented and produced a new and original Design for a Handle for Corkscrews and Analogous Articles; and I do hereby declare the following to be clear, and exact description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same.

Reference is to be had to the accompanying drawings, in which Figure 1 is a view in side elevation of my newly-designed handle, and Fig. 2 plan view of the same.

The leading feature of my design consists in the representation of a conventionalized figure of a female form distended across the shank of a corkscrews, so that when viewed in the elevation said form will appear in a horizontal plane at right angles to the shank, the arms of the figure represented as extended upwardly and crossing each other above the head, and the feet shown as interlocked.

A is the shank, and B the conventionalized figure.

I claim—

The design for a corkscrew herein described and shown, the same consisting of the corkscrew having the shank A and the handle B at right angles hereto, which latter consists of a conventionalized figure having arms represented as extended upwardly and crossing each other above the head and the feet shown as interlocked.

In testimony whereof I affix my signature in the presence of two witnesses.


Interestingly, Trunk mentions in his patent description, "Corkscrews and Analogous Articles..." which would suggest that there are other tools out there that would have the same handle.

To that, I say, let the hunt begin!!!


As mentioned above, there are two variations of the Trunk patent, one with a wire worm, and one with a bladed worm--the bladed was given her britches while the wire is wearing even less. You will note there are a few differences to her figure as well--which one was made first?

If you have any information that would add to the Trunk story, or anything that would add to the Trunk/Frary connection, it would be greatly appreciated! Also, if there are any catalog references for this particular corkscrew, or an advertisement showing it for sale from the late 1880's, I would love to add it to the website!


The hunt continues!

I will buy your Trunk Corkscrews!!!