No. 105 Key-Knife

From a June 7, 1928 issue of Hardware Age

The No. 105 Key-Knife

A handy and serviceable knife has recently been placed before the trade by the Meriden Knife Co., Meriden, Conn.  This product, known as No. 105 key-knife, has a blade, a bottle opener, a corkscrew, and a combination key blank.  The bottle opener is incorporated into the blade, while the key blank can be cut to individual requirements.

The knife is made of white metal with either rolled gold plate, gold, or sterling silver finish.  T has a loop at one end permitting it to be carried on a watch

chain.  The knife is said to be serviceable in all its parts and has an attractive appearance.

Back from Brimfield…

The lovely bride and I somehow managed to make the last ferry back to the island after a three day jaunt to Brimfield.

After 2 years of COVID, Brimfield is mostly back. There are some fields that were a little smaller than usual, but New England Motel, Herman’s, and May’s were pretty packed. And, both the buyers and the sun was out.

Lot of treasures to be found, but not a lot in the way of corkscrews.

I did manage to pick up a couple, and I did buy 5 vintage beer taps, that I actually sold while walking down the road to the next field.

I was walking at a fair clip, when I passed the dealer who asked, “are those for sale.” And, when I stopped and turned, I recognized him, and we struck a deal. I had sold brewery items to him in the past, and my plan was to seek him out the following day and offer them up.

This visit, the lovely and I rented an airbnb in Holland, MA, which is about 7 miles from the show, and because of our location, we managed to avoid any traffic coming into Brimfield–this made for less early early early mornings, and replaced them with early early mornings.

We did buy a few things for the house, and we will be back in July and September.

A few days antiquing in near perfect spring weather.


This morning, we begin our journey south, as Brimfield starts tomorrow at daybreak.

Rockland to Portland–for supplies.

Portland to Pepperell Cove–for “lunch.”

Pepperell Cove to Portsmouth, NH–for more supplies.

Portsmouth, NH to Holland, MA–where we have rented an airbnb for a few days.

And, tomorrow morning. Brimmy!

Last September, the Brimfield show was quite a bit smaller than years past. Of course, COVID-19 was much of the reason for that. So, this will be our first May show in two years, and word on the street is that Brimfield will be abuzz with dealers and buyers.

If any corkscrews are found on our journey down, I will report back here. And, of course, I will provide news from Brimfield each day.

Stay tuned!

Looking for Löffler

In an 1886 issue of Scientific American, his Karl Löffler’s patent as described as follows:

Cork Puller —Charles Loeffler, Hoboken, N. J.—This invention relates to a cork puller which consists of a thin shank provided at one end with a suitable handle, and at the opposite end with a curved, sharp-edged tooth, in such a manner that by passing said tooth down between the cork and the neck of the bottle and turning it so that the same bears on the under surface of the cork, said cork can be withdrawn without being injured ; and, furthermore, by the very act of passing the tooth down between the neck of the bottle and the cork, said cork is loosened and the operation of withdrawing the same Is facilitated.

In looking back at his patent drawing, it is a pretty straightforward looking piece, but the figure 2. in the drawing is important, as it shows the sharpness of the tooth, as well as the curve of that tooth that will fit in between the neck of the bottle and the curve of the cork.

Several years ago, an example of the Löffler was sold at auction, and that example does look similar to the patent drawing, and the cork puller is marked PATENT on the shaft.

Another example sold on the auction, but it was unmarked. It too looks close to the patent drawing:

with the upper part of the shaft looking closer to the drawing.

That said, in looking at past auction listings, there are several similar tooth-type cork extractors that operate in a similar fashion, with the tooth itself taking on various shapes–thicker, longer, barbed.

Still, we need a Löffler patent in the collection, so if you have a spare on laying about, drop me a line. And, if it is marked Patent, with a Pat. Apld For marking, or better yet with a patent date from 1866, I would be very interested.

New corkscrew pursuit vehicle…

7 years ago, I traded in the Mini for a Tacoma, and the truck has been the vehicle of choice for countless antiquing (and construction) adventures.

But, as the miles have been adding up, it was clearly time that it was time to send the truck over to the mainland, and get a new corkscrew pursuit vehicle.

And, with a couple of texts and a couple of phone calls, a deal was struck with a dealer on the mainland.

They actually offered to deliver the new vehicle and drive the truck back on the ferry so we didn’t have to leave the island.

Of course, with the ferry system being what it is, and COVID having contributed to a lack of available crew to sail on said ferry, I suggested we wait a few days until we can ensure that the ferries are running, and that I will make it across and swap out the vehicles.

So, tomorrow, the Tacoma will be on the morning ferry to Rockland, and at 10 am, or so, I will drop it off at the dealer, and drive away in the new corkscrew pursuit vehicle–and, just in time for some corkscrewing adventures.

“The Art of Antiquing” is having their opening show on Friday.

Montsweag Flea opens this coming weekend.

Brimfield is opening soon.

And, the lovely and I will be hitting all of them.

Tales of our latest antiquing adventure will be reported back here. Stay tuned.

Zeilin arrives…

The bottle opener auction lot arrived today, and it arrived safely–all wrapped up together as one lot, in bubble wrap, in a box.

And, after carefully removing the tape, and unwrapping the contents, the Zeilin looked to be in nice shape, but with a fair amount of tarnish.

With a jar of Wright’s Silver Cream at the ready, I gave it a quick polish.

Much better:

Marked with S. Cottle’s makers mark, STERLING, and 10, it is a lovely addition to the Zeilin collection.

The embossed one on the right is also marked for S. Cottle, STERLING and 11.

If you have a dosage cup corkscrew with which you would like to part, I would love to add a few more.

Drop me a line!

That is some auction estimate… (updated)

There is a corkscrew ending in a few hours in a non-eBay auction with quite the auction estimate.

Somewhere between $25 – $99,999.


It can sell for as little as $25.00 or as much as $99,999.00?

Why not have a range of 25.00 to $100,000? I mean, if I am willing to spend ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine dollars on a corkscrew, an extra dollar to make it an even hundred thousand isn’t much of a stretch.

Not that I am spending ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine dollars on a corkscrew. Nor would I throw in an extra dollar to make an even 100K.

That said, the auctioneer is indeed correct, it will sell within that range. It is worth more than 25 bucks, after all.

But, I am guessing a few hundred will be the ending price.

In visiting the auctioneers 580 listings, and only one is a corkscrew, every item has the same estimate–and…

I will do the math for you.

On the low estimate, if everything sold for 25 dollars each, that would be $14,500–although there is a buyer’s commission of 24 %. If everything sold for $99,999.00, that would be $57,999,420.00…

On the low end, the commission would be $3,480.00. On the high end… that would be $13,919,860.80.

I am guessing they all won’t be on the high end of the auctioneer’s estimated range.

Stay tuned for the corkscrew and the sales price. I will update the blog after it ends!

UPDATE: The corkscrew sold for $600. A good price, but a bit below the $99,999.00 high estimate.

The Perfect Cork Extractor

From an 1890 issue of Iron Age

The Perfect Cork Extractor

Alford & Berkele Company, 77 Chambers street, New York are introducing a cork extractor, as illustrated herewith, and manufactured by E. Donally, Sixteenth street and Third avenue, New York. The body of the extractor is made of a flat strip of metal, the upper end of which is looped over a handle,

Fig. 1.–The Perfect Extractor

while at a short distance from its lower end are outward and upward extending claws ; another set of similar claws being arranged at a point higher up on the strip, Fig. 1.  The extractor is designed to pull corks from the inside of bottles, 

Fig. 2.–The Perfect Cork Extractor as Used.

jugs, demijohns, &c, as illustrated in Fig. 2.  It is stated the operator does not have to see the cork, nor hunt for it as the extractor does both without assistance.  The handle has one tapering end, to be used in forcing the cork down into the bottle, in case of full bottles or where the cork has lodged into the neck, after which the cork is withdrawn as described.

Of course, we know Alford & Berkele’s offering as the Tormey patent of 1890.

20 days later

20 days after I won an auction for a bottle opener lot…

And, after seven emails, two phone calls, and four text inquiries…

I received a phone call yesterday regarding the cost of shipping said lot.

And, as requested, I gave the shipper a credit card number, and as one would expect, they charged my card for the various fees associated with packing up the bottle openers and mailing them off.

I was given two options, USPS first class or UPS ground (apparently USPS Priority wasn’t an option).

I opted for USPS first class, as it was half the cost.

But, the Zeilin lot is finally on its way!!!

Currently, said Zeilin bottle opener lot is somewhere in Wisconsin, and it should be here on Monday.

Better photos upon its arrival.

I was the high bidder for a moment…

Over the past few weeks, there has been a remarkable Singleton corkscrew on an online auction site.

And, while it isn’t your folding version of the Singleton, it was signed, and Silver, and had some fantastic engraving to it reading “Drink and Drive Care Away.”

I placed a bid, and was the high bidder for a few days.

Yesterday, the auction went to live bidding, and my high bid was taken out in short order.

And, I watched, poised to bid.

And, then watched the auction climb price as a flurry of bids quickly surpassed my poised to bid bid.

The winning bid hit 2800 Euros (just $2,990 US).

And, while the bidder’s names were masked, I have no doubt it will turn in someone’s best 6 for this year.

A fantastic piece.

As an aside, the engraved message on the corkscrew, “Drink and Drive Care Away” is a line in an 18th century drinking song Old Chiron: