On Apr. 29, 1890, Abram C. Monfort of Pawtucket, RI was awarded patent # 426,510 for his “Champagne or Mineral Tap.”

As the story goes, well over a decade ago, I was at Brimfield, and was traversing the fields, and I saw an unusual shaped champagne tap. The price wasn’t super high, but high enough that I balked, and left it behind. Just prior to the next field opening, I ran into Barry to ask him about this unusual champagne tap.

He responded with, you should have snapped that up, it is a rare American patent. Apparently BT, didn’t balk at the price, and I believe it made his best 6 that year. And, I kicked myself a little bit, for not trusting my instincts of seeing something that was unusual and pulling the trigger.

Several years later, II managed to acquire a Monfort, without balking at the price, and it resides in the collection.

That said, the other day, a pair of champagne taps were listed on eBay, and one of the shapes looked very familiar.

And, now a second Monfort is heading to the island.

Now, I don’t really need two, so if any of you need to add a Monfort to your collection, just let me know….

Another Curley Corkscrew…

The other day, I struck a deal for an unusual Curley patent corkscrew.

While it is not dissimilar to other Curley’s in the collection, this one has a unique marking.

In comparing it with others in the collection, the one that comes closest is the Curley that has the date embossed in the center of the handle with the CURLEY TROY NY on the opposite.

Of course, with most of the embossed Curleys they actually are marked with the wrong date, of MARCH 22, 84, even though the patent was awarded a month later on April. 22, 1884.

This version, isn’t marked across the handle, and instead is incised with the correct patent date around the bell.

A neat addition to the Curley collection!

You’re bidding on a(n) Antique 1800s Multi Tool Combination Screwdriver Can Opener Corkscrew

“You’re bidding on  a(n) Antique 1800s Multi Tool Combination Screwdriver Can Opener Corkscrew…”

So read the eBay listing…

And, I was…

For 10 days…

I was the first bidder at 9.99, and when it received a second bid, put myself in the lead again.

And, when there was a third and fourth bid, I upped the ante once more, and was in the lead, for the rest of the 10 days.

Until, yesterday…when said auction was set to end.

As often the case, when something unusual comes up for auction, there is a flurry of bids, and sometimes snipe-bids, that come through in the closing moments.

And, truth be told, my high bid was taken out, for a brief time, but I too had set up a snipe bid for those same closing moments; not wanting to show my cards to early, I knew the flurry was coming, and hoped that MY price would top THEIR bid.

As it happened, it did. The flurry came, and the “Antique 1800s Multi Tool Combination Screwdriver Can Opener Corkscrew” will soon be added to the collection.

A fascinating piece, it features a corkscrew that folds out and locks into place, and is a can opener, hammer, and screwdriver as well.

And, it is marked PAT. PEND.

Certainly a best 6 candidate, and I will try and figure out if this is indeed a patent.

When it arrives, I will take better photos, and post them here.

Stay tuned!

Schlitz Brew’g Co.

A few years ago (seven actually) at the Just for Openers meeting, I acquired from TWJ an oversized Henshall-Murphy-like button corkscrew that had advertising for SCHLITZ BREW’G CO. ST. PAUL.

A neat addition to the collection, I was quite pleased to acquire it.

At some point along the way, however, the Schlitz ended up in another collector’s collection. And, I have been on the hunt for one ever since.

Just the other day, a deal was struck for another Schlitz to be the replacement …

There is a second version of this type of corkscrew with an advertisement for BERGNER & ENGEL, PHILA . If anyone would like to make a trade, I would love to add that one to the collection as well.

Checking out Brimfield “North”

Several months ago, with COVID-19 restrictions being what they were, and still are in many placed, the organizers of the Brimfield antique show, working with the MA CDC, came to the conclusion that the May show wasn’t going to happen.

And, while one field did indeed open in May, it wasn’t the 3000-5000 dealers that you would normally see there.

Not that I went.

Around that time, however, there was a plan to take Brimfield on the road, and head to Deerfield NH, where the show could occupy the fairgrounds, and provide for a great level of distancing.

The show opened on Saturday, and the lovely and I headed town to Portsmouth on Friday, and would make the drive to Deerfield on Saturday morning–I had pre-bought tickets as soon as it was announced.

Of course, you can’t have a Brimfield show in May without Rain. And, while it was technically Brimfield-North, the rain followed everyone to the new locations, and it drizzled, and poured, and stopped, and drizzled, and stopped, and yet… It was fun to be outside antiquing again!

The show was small in comparison, about 300 plus or minus dealers. And, those of us that paid the extra to get in early, pretty much had the place to ourselves–according to the powers that be, there were at least 3000 buyers that pre-bought tickets at the later arrival time.

I wandered the fields, noting the lack of corkscrews, but did manage to find one; a stag handle direct pull of the ripe price of 5 dollars, and then went about hearing the same (or similar) story from several dealers.

“Corkscrews, oh, I left those at my shop. I thought this was going to be a country show…”

I have no idea what that meant.

“Corkscrews. oh… I just picked one of those up, but I didn’t bring it…”

Only to pull out his phone, and show me a picture of a green and white ladies legs.

In a booth filled with old kitchen utensils, I asked about corkscrews.

“Oh, we have a bunch at our shop.” She promptly have me her business card.

So… no true finds that day, but a good day to be out wandering the non-Brimfield-fields–even in the rain.

E.M. was walking the fields as well, and he collects those pourers with marbles, so I sent him a photo and coordinates of where these were located.

Interestingly, he thought that I was joking about finding three of the very thing that he collects, but after he followed my directions, he found the dealer, and came away with one.

Maybe, this makes sense about the “country show.”

That all said, given that I had to make it down to Portsmouth on Friday, I hit a few antique shops on the drive down

No super corkscrew finds, but I did run across an Ivory knife that looked to be Will and Finck.

I passed on it, as the tip of the blade was short. Still, a neat find and a very fair price.

After telling the lovely bride about it, she suggested that after the show we had back up the coast and pick it up.

We did, and it isn’t Will & Finck, it is instead marked “M. Price.”

And, it will make a nice addition to the S.F. Cutlers corkscrews (and other tools) collection.

Not a bad couple of days antiquing, and today we had back to the island.

Combined Nippers and Cork Extractor

I will admit, that I look at the patent drawings that are present in the back of O’Leary’s book on American patented corkscrews a lot.

And, I mean…



I haven’t memorized them all, but every once in a while, some corkscrew, cork extractor, or tool intended to pull a cork will appear online, or in the ongoing hunt in the wild, which will trigger a mental response that sounds something like…

Okay, it’s inside my head, so I don’t know what it actually sounds like…

But, it goes something like:

“You have seen this before somewhere… You probably should buy this!”

And, the number of exclamation points after “You should probably buy this!” may increase based on the piece itself.

As it happened yesterday, I was doing a little search on eBay when a pair of champagne nippers turned up. And, while it carried advertising for Champagne, it also had a patent date. I looked closely at the piece, and took my internal advice…

“You have seen this before somewhere… you should probably buy this!”

And, so I did.

After securing the purchase, I headed over to my copy of O’Leary and thumbed through the patent drawings. There it was.

The 1880 Combined Nippers and Cork Extractor…

In short order, I pulled up the patent on google patents…

Now… I don’t think this is an earth shattering find, mind you.

I would think that the French advertisement would throw someone off, and it isn’t a corkscrew, although it is designed to remove a cork from Champagne or Mineral Water.

And, it carries the American patent date of DEC. 14, 1880.

A nice addition to the collection from the back of O’Leary, and a combined nippers and cork extractor which, according to the patent description, “…serves thus to facilitate and expedite the drawing of champagne and other corks, and obviates thereby the twisting off the heads of corks, the smudging of the fingers, and other annoyances.”

Akadama Port Wine Corkscrew

Not that I managed to pick this pair up the other day, but for those on the hunt for antique Japanese corkscrews, here are a couple of Clough-like corkscrews, that would make nice–albeit simple–additions to the collection.

If you look closely at the cards upon which the corkscrews would be attached, you will notice that the corkscrews were intended to be used on a bottle of Akadama Port Wine; a beverage launched in 1907 by Shinjiro Torii (the founder of Suntory)

Notice on the Akadama bottle below, the Registered Trade Mark is the same as on the carded corkscrew above…

If you have an antique Japanese corkscrew–Akadama or otherwise–drop me a line…

digging up treasure…

Yesterday afternoon, I set about planting an azalea adjacent to the sunporch steps in Rockland, and unearthed a treasure.

Okay, it wasn’t treasure really, but I did find it amusing.

On Vinalhaven, we have found lots of treasures in landscaping the yard. Lots of granite that was quarried on Vinalhaven, including a large rectangle piece that was hollowed out, which now serves as a bird bath for the random dirty bird in need of a cleanse.

Deserter? Missing in Action? The story surely needs to be researched…

After getting the aforementioned azalea was planted and watered, the Tim-Mee USA green army man was cleaned up, and now we have an official protector of the azalea armed at the ready.

Ward update…

Shortly after the blog was posted this morning, I received an inquiry regarding the Ward patent…

Yes… It is marked, and yes it is intended to open Codd bottles…

It is marked PAT. NO. 128450 21/6/19–although Ward’s patent (British) is actually from 1918

The handle has two cutaways to serve a openers for various types of stoppers from the time, V-slot for glass stoppers, and additional wooden pieces that extend from the handle that were intended as the Codd marble pushers.

Thanks for the question!