taking a chance

So, while I was on the ferry this morning to Vinalhaven, I was checking out ebay, and in a non-corkscrew category, a Haynes-Bates Axe had recently been listed with a Buy it Now.

Unfortunately, the seller didn’t opt to open the handle to reveal what should include a fold out corkscrew.


It wasn’t crazy money, so I quickly snapped it up.

When it arrives, I will share the big reveal!  Hopefully there is indeed a corkscrew.  If not, well, ya gotta take a chance every once in a while.

Interesting negotiating tactic…

After our respective yoga studio and gym visits, and requisite showers afterwards, the lovely lovely bride and I hopped in the car and headed down to a monthly antique show in Bath, Maine.

This particular show has about 50 dealers, and I have set up there myself in the past.  I have picked up a couple of corkscrews there over the years, but largely it is just a fun trip down the coast, and our antiquing adventure is usually followed by brunch on the way back up the coast.

We entered the show and made our way through the first few booths.  There were a few interesting primitives, a Kruger cone top beer can, a cool “No Hunting.  No Fishing” sign which was hand-painted, but was also signed by some distant relative of a friend we have, and a couple of intriguing culinary implements.

As we made our way to the end of the first aisle, I looked down at a table, and there were two corkscrews; a Williamson with a price tag of 25$, and a 1885 Weir’s patent marked with the 1885 patent date and…”THE RELIABLE,” also with a 25$ price tag.

IMG_2519 2.JPG

I picked up the Weir, and mentioned to the lovely that I was going to buy it, and I turned to get the dealer’s attention.  He raised two hands in the air, as I asked whose item the corkscrew was.

“Ten” he yelled.

“What?”  I responded.

“Ten, on the corkscrew.”

But, it’s marked 25?  I thought to myself.

I reached into my pocket and handed him the ten dollar bill.

The lovely had moved on to the next booth while this was all taking place.  And when I caught up with her, she asked what I paid.

“Ten”  I responded.

“What?” she asked.

“But it was marked 25.”  She remarked.

Not that I really needed another 1885 Weir’s Reliable, but I am sure someone else might.




Erie Specialty Mfg. Co.

I will preface this by saying, I don’t really collect bar screws.  I mean, I do have the Frary Fifth Avenue, and I would happily add the Frary Sullivan, but usually bar screws that find their way to the island, ultimately… find their way into other collections.

That said, the other day a really cool looking Walker patent bar screw came up on eBay, and I just couldn’t help myself.


I really dig the the red advertising place that reads “”ERIE SPECIALTY MFG. CO. ERIE, PA, PAT APLD.”



Riddle me this…

YE Misses fo fair,

And ye Mafters declare

What I am, where I live, whence I came.

You’ll own that I’m pretty,

And wonderous witty, [name,

When once you have hit on my

I am broad, yet I’m taper,

As fair as white paper,

Yet as ink I am black, without


And tho’ clad in gold,

To declare I am bold,

I am neither coxcob nor fribble.

Altho’ I can’t fpeak

Englifh, Latin, or Greek,

Yet in learning and fense I a-

I am riddled o’er, [bound ;

But behind and before,

And you need not look far e’er

I’m found.


Hochstadter Bottle Roundlet Corkscrew

The other day, I managed to acquire online a Williamson Bottle Roundlet with advertising for Hochstadter.  The price was very fair, and it should be arriving in the coming days.

After securing the deal, I proceeded to do a little research, and ran into Don Bull’s website, where he listed the known examples (at the time) of advertisements on Williamson Bottle Roundlets, and as I perused down the list, and got to the H’s.





Okay, there it is.

But, in his description of the advertisement it reads:

Hochstadter’s Leipziger Burgunder Wein Bitters The Hochstadter’s Co. New York.

I went back to the photos of the roundlet that is currently in the mail.

The advertising on this one reads:

Drink Hochstadters’s Leipziger Burgunder, Wein Bitters, Hochstadter Co, Proprietors, New York.


Just a minor difference of course, except Don also notes that the worm is in the top of the roundlet, and this example folds out from the bottom.


Interesting that there would be two different advertisements on the two variations of the Williamson bottle roundlet.

I will provide better pictures when it arrives, but a neat addition to the collection.

If you have a Hochstadter’s Bottle Roundlet in your collection, which version of the advertisement does it have?


Wishlist for 2020

It is New Year’s Eve, and as we are about to ring in 2020, as is tradition, I figured I would throw out a corkscrew wishlist for the coming year.

As mentioned previously, it was a great year of collecting, and one of the corkscrews that has been on my wishlist for years, found its way into the collection.  And, actually, since I managed to find two different versions of the Sperry, they made their way into the collection.

Here is my wishlist from a couple of years ago:


Frary Sullivan Bar Screw

Something from the back of O’Leary

Frary with can opener

Jenner patent

Philos Blake patent

Sperry patent


So… the Sperry is off the list, and I did manage to find something from the back of O’Leary!

Still, finding something in the back of O’Leary, or a patent that doesn’t appear within his book, is always on the wish list.

And, while someone, I am sure, will be adding an 1862 Russell patent (albeit a broken one) to their corkscrew collection this year, amongst others the piece I would really like to add is another Zeilin.


So, here is the list.  Of course, I would love to add all kinds of corkscrews, but let’s see if we can’t knock a couple of these off.

Frary Sullivan

Something from the back of O’Leary

Frary with can opener

Jenner patent (I do have one, but it is in horrible shape)

Philos Blake patent

Zeilin patent: pictured on page 63 of O’Leary and marked, “ONE TEASPOONFULL PARRISHS HYPOPHOSPHITES, J.H. ZEILIN & CO. PHILA, PA”

Let the hunt continue!

What is on your wishlist for 2020?  

Feel free to email your corkscrew wishlist for 2020 to me.  Maybe some of our readers have doubles or are up for a trade!



Best Six (+1) for 2019


1.1885 Edward P. Haff patent (317,123) corkscrew with frame and spring assist, marked across the metal band for two patents, “HAFF MF’G CO., NEW YORK, PATD APL. 14 85 MAY 5TH 85” (See O’Leary, page 71).


2. Two 1878 Alfred W. Sperry patent (204,389) corkscrews. The normal version with a longer turn-button (the word used in Sperry’s patent description) is on the left. On the right, is constructed differently, with a shorter turn-button, and marked in a different location.  It also comes closer in design to the patent drawing.  Both are marked, “PAT’d MAY 28, 1878” (See O’Leary, page 42).


For those playing along, by placing a thumb on the turn-button, it is easily moved to one side, thus allowing for the helix to be replaced.  Sperry’s patent explains, “The object of this invention is to construct the instrument so that several screws may be supplied with the instrument, or any person unskilled may remove the screw or introduce a different one…”

3. 1888 John W. Milam patent (390,691) cork extractor, as shown at our AGM Show and Tell, and in the most recent issue of The Bottle Scrue Times, the Milam Cork Extractor was marketed as the Kentucky Cork Extractor. It is marked, “J.W. Milam, Frankfort, Kentucky” and “PATAPPLIEDFOR”(See O’Leary, page 201).

4. Double lever corkscrew, marked PAT. APD. FOR. Interestingly, the action of the levers raises the cork by squeezing them together.  Also, marked on the levers with two 9’s (or 6’s should you turn it upside down).


5. Marked PAT APPD FOR this unusual combination tool has a fold out corkscrew. A fellow collector of corkscrews, explained that the serrated edge on the opener part, indicates that the chain attachment is intended to serve as a jar wrench.


6. 1930 Nathan Jenkins patent (1,784,488) combination tool marked “15 TOOLS IN ONE” and “PAT. DEC 9 1930” (See O’Leary, page 145).


A year of corkscrewing around…

While the best six will be published in the next day or so, it is the day before Christmas, and looking back, it has been yet another fantastic year of corkscrewing around.

I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you, to all of you, for your friendship (and readership).

Merry Christmas!  And, good hunting in the New Year!