Many years ago, whilst visiting an estate sale in Chicago, I found an 1899 Maschil Converse prong puller in a tool box in the basement of the house being cleared out. And, after asking how much the folk conducting sale wanted for it, the brother of person whose items were up for sale, told me to just put it in my pocket, and have a good day.
It was free. And, given this was early on in my collecting, it was the first Converse I had ever owned. And with a price of FREE!, I was pretty excited.
I still have that Converse cork puller, and sits along side several others (okay, more than several).
Which brings me to an interesting project. Over the years, I have found many other Converse cork pullers, several with advertising on the sheath, and I began to wonder how many different companies used the Converse as a vehicle to advertise.
I have a Converse that advertises:
LEHMANN’S RYE – ARTHUR LEHMANN & CO. – PEORIA, ILL.
And, another recent acquisition advertises:
ALAMEDA COMPANY, WINE AND BRANDIES, 104 TREMONT STREET, BOSTON, MASS.
Another variation sold just last week on eBay, it it carried the advertisement:
COMPLIMENTS OF FRIEDMAN, KEILER & CO., DISTILLERS OF BROOK HILL
My favorite one found to date, is marked:
SAMPLE, THE HAWLEY MFG. Co., STEPNEY, CONN
The Hawley sample is an interesting one as in various publications, they mention Hawley Manufacturing as making cork pullers.
And, this advertisement appeared in the October 13, 1910 issue of The National Tribune.
Apparently hyping their product across the country, a similar ad appears in the October 16, 1910 issue of the Los Angeles Herald:
In a 1912 issue of the Elmira Telegram, Stepney was also seeking agents, with an ad that reads:
“AGENTS, Canvassers, Street men… We manufacture a Novelty Cork Puller. It’s the slickest thing out. Men and women buy instantly, write for particulars. Hawley Mfg. Co., 631 Main Street, Stepney, Conn.”
In 1905, C.D Hawley (this time in New York) got some press from the publication, Hardware: Devoted to the American Hardware Trade for their Quick as a Wink Cork Puller:
Clearly Hawley was one of the manufacturers of the Converse patent. And, whether their cork puller was indeed the “slickest thing out,” or whether “Men and women buy instantly.” They certainly do turn up with plain sheaths, advertising sheaths, and on rare occasions in Sterling.
So, this brings me to all of you. Let’s put together a list of known Converse advertisements. How many variations are out there? And, are there any other “Samples” out there like the Hawley marked cork puller.
Drop me a line at Josef@vintagecorkscrews.com and let the Converse-ation begin. I will gladly swap corkscrews / cork pullers if you have a different variation.