Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 2
January 2007
 
What Is It?
 

The Cork Press

Cork Press

Prior to the widespread manufacture of the screw top for bottles and small glass vessels, which began sometime between 1920 and 1930, the scientific and apothecary standard for small container closure was the cork stopper. Given the proliferation of glass vials in different shapes and sizes made by different manufacturers, a universal solution was needed to compress and taper cork to fit this vast range of openings. At that time, a workable system was already in place for cutting the cork. Once a cork close to the size of the opening was found, it could be gently rolled and compressed using the cork press. This would taper the cork to fit the opening of the vial or vessel and thereby seal it.

The Enterprise Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, manufactured the tool shown above, which was patented by C. L. Lochman of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, whose patent No. 68,093 was issued on August 27, 1867. This tool is an accurate representation of the diagram in the patent papers. The gold leaf pinstriping and fine casting detail work are indicative of the ornamentation often found on seemingly ordinary tools and devices of that era.

Still commercially available, the cork press is used today primarily in the scientific community, for whom glass blowers create purpose-built vessels.

Compressing the cork


  
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