James Terry Bottle Stoppers (3)

U.S. Patent Numbers: 320,192                       Patented: June 16, 1885

James Terry’s patent application was filed January 21, 1885 and specified:

I, James Terry...of HartfordConnecticut, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Removable Internal Bottle-Stoppers, of which…

In the accompanying drawings, Figure 1 is a side elevation of my bottle-stopper, and Fig. 2 is a side elevation of the same together with grasping-nippers, and a sectional view of the bottle-neck.

The stopper-wire is formed of two spring-arms, a a, the outer ends of which terminate in a short bend or bow, b, preferably upon the outer end of each arm, the lateral width of which bend is a little in excess of the diameter of the hole through the neck of the bottle, so that when the stopper is forced downward into the bottle the bow or bows are caught within the bottle-neck and prevent the stopper from falling down into the bottle.  At the inner end of the stopper is the ordinary pressure disk or head, A, above which is the usual flange or plate, c, both of which perform their usual functions.  Both the pressure-disk and the flange c are immovably fixed upon the inner end of the spring arms a a, and are separated by the neck d a distance materially greater than the thickness of the packing-disk.  The packing-disk is placed upon this neck, and the space between the confronting edges of the pressure-disk A and flange c is such that the packing-disk may be caught over its edge by any suitable grasping nippers at two or more points and pulled far enough away from the pressure disk to allow other parts of the edge of the packing-disk to be bent inward by the neck of the bottle…so that the stopper may be removed.  In thus removing the stopper the packing-disk has its edge bent upward at the points by which it is grasped and downward at other points.

The grasping nippers or tool herein shown consists, in brief, of two spring arms, C, having confronting hooked ends and a sliding sleeve, D, with which to force the spring-arms together.  Any other instrument may be substituted therefore which will take over the edge of the packing-disk at two or more points.  In fact, two hooks formed of a bent-up piece of wire will answer the purpose…

The spring-arms bb…are long enough so that they will spring back into place whenever pressed to or from each other, while at the same time the short bend or bow at the outer termination of said arms is so short as to have but little, if any, give or spring, and so the width of these bows is greater than the diameter of the hole in the neck of the bottle.  Said bends effectually prevent the stopper from being forced so far into the bottle as to let the stopper fall there-in.


This is the third of three closely-related patents filed by James Terry.  The stopper removal tools are interesting, but one is left wondering just how easily Terry apparently obtained patents for his stopper designs, in spite of their obvious similarity to Hutchinson’s patents.  The references to an “ordinary pressure-disk or head” and “usual flange or plate” and “usual functions” suggest Hutchinson’s Patent Spring Stopper fast became the industry norm and by 1885 was fair game for other inventors hoping to improve upon it and steal a portion of W. H. Hutchinson and Son’s significant market share in North America.  It is unknown whether or not Terry achieved any success at marketing his stoppers or stopper removal instruments.