Robert Jones of Cheapside Birmingham

- Steel toy and corkscrews manufacturing

Robert Jones is regarded as one of the most prominent corkscrew manufacturers of England. The quality was excellent with exceptional designs, crisp detailed badges and markings as well as details worked into the barrel of the corkscrew. The Jones family worked for generations in Birmingham as corkscrew and steel toy makers. Robert Jones was first mentioned in 1829 as a manufacturer of Birmingham. Birmingham was the center for smithy shops during the victorian era of the industrial revolution in England.


In 1841 he lived in Cheapside as "grandfather" for several persons named Jones. Their relationships have not been able to be established properly. Generally, the name Cheapside derives from an old English word meaning "to buy". Traditionally "Cheapside" therefore was used as a term for a market area in several places in England not only Birmingham.


In the 1800 th century the Jones manufacturing business made a variety of products ranging from corkscrews to key rings. Robert Jones was native of Birmingham and known as supporting bible studies and religious teaching at schools. He was opposed to drinking of wine and liquor. Manufacturing corkscrews must have been hard for him as being opposed to alcohol. Logically, at the end of his life he moved away from manufacturing corkscrews.


In 1841 the "Son" was introduced to the brand. The Sons name was John Jones. The Jones continued to make fascinating corkscrew designs and still produced exceptional quality. The firm was established as Robert Jones & son in 1840. Prior to 1840 the firm was solely Robert Jones.


Robert Jones registered two English corkscrew designs. The second made him famous. He also made Thomason's and a side winder design as well as traditional straight pulls CS.


The Robert Jones I was patented in 1840 and the famous patent no II in 1842. The first design has two spikes that are pushed into the cork. The frame uses a counter clockwise rotating action to extract the cork.


The second design has also two spikes preventing the cork from moving. The first variant had a tube to help the rotary pull. The second variant has a threaded shaft to assist the withdrawal of the cork.


There are at least 3 variations in the markings of the Jones II corkscrew. One is marked with a diamond mark sometimes called lozenge. The second is marked " Robert Jones and Sons Birmingham VR " and lozenge. VR stands for " Victoria Regina " who was Queen  during the victorian era when the CS was made. A third is as the second variant with same marks but with a badge. There are 2 types of badge sometimes applied, one which is very fancy and one plain badge. Details of when the variations were produced are unknown.


Robert Jones died in 1875. After his death the business started to decline and the last notice of Robert Jones & Son was in the 1905 Birmingham directory of manufacturers. The decline of business was surely due to the end of the industrial era and thus, the end of manufacturing patented corkscrew designs.  The massproduction of corkscrews era was emerging with large volumes, low prices and diluted weak quality.


However, the pieces are still present and have survived. The Jones II is regarded as the corkscrew top of the pops, but the Thomason's are also  exceptional pieces. The feeling holding a Jones Thomason with it 's distinct barrel is fantastic. This is MY favourit of Thomasons. Robert Jones at his best moments !

This is a nice example of a Jones blade pull corkscrew. The mark is & son i.e. manufactured after 1840.

The patented Jones II registred 1842. This one is without a badge an has the details " VR " inscripted i.e. the second variant above. The first "variant" is incredible difficult to find. Badges are more common but still difficult to get hold of.

A Robert Jones Easer With 4 Gripping Claws and marked Robert Jones & son. Above is an example of a similar CS but with a blade.

The badge is familiar. The badge does not say R Jones as is common. However, the engravings signify a Jones patented corkscrew. Ca 1860. Exceptional quality.

The spikes of a Jones I.

A Robert Jones straight pull. A simple direct pull cork-screw. However, simplicity tells you a history of the corkscrew manufacturer. In this case a full productline.

The Robert Jones & son mark on the shaft on the 4 gripping claws direct pull CS.

The patented famous Jones I. Registred 1840. Nice item !

A two finger pull cs made by Robert Jones. Ca 1810 isch. This design must have been one of the earlier in the Robert Jones CS line.

The claws of a four gripping easer.