adding to Barry’s list

In the most recent issue of The Bottle Scrue Times, Barry Taylor wrote an excellent article on Clough medicine corkscrews, both the flat band and wire types. And, at the end of the article he included a comprehensive list of known Cloughs with advertising.

This, ultimately, will be published on the ICCA’s website for all to see, with hopes that the corkscrew collecting community will continually contribute to it as we discover “new” Cloughs with advertising.

The other day, an interesting Clough with advertising–that of the flat band version–was put up on eBay for a low buy it now. Not really really low, but low enough that it was a fair price.

I grabbed my copy of the BST, and skimmed to Barry’s article (pausing repeatedly to gander at all the Spanish corkscrews from Don Bull’s article in said issue). And, there was the list.


Okay here we go…

Jefferson Club
Jiffy Wire
Judson’s Gold Paint

Okay, Judson’s. But, the seller of the Clough is explained it was an ad for Judson’s Dye.

I went back to the listing, and checked again.

Interestingly, while there are pictures of the advertisement it only shows the tail end of the ad, and nothing regarding to Judson’s.




I also checked Don’s website for his listed Clough corkscrews, no Judson’s Dye there. And, I went back to some old emails from Bob Gilbride, and on his list of Clough’s, no Judson’s Dye there either.

I don’t have a Judson’s Paint, nor a Judson’s Dye, so why not…

So. I clicked the button, and will wait for it to arrive.

But, it looks like we have found another Clough (flat band advertising) variation to add to Barry’s list.

Sampson Mordan

A few days ago, an interesting perfume corkscrew was listed on UK eBay. And, it was being offered up with a buy it now or best offer.

After looking at the photos, I send an offer in.

After thinking for about 12 seconds, I instead clicked the buy now option, and paid the full price.

Several years ago, in conversation with a good friend and fellow collector, he explained, that if it is under 100 dollars and he had never seen it before, he was going to buy it.

Now, this could lead one to make a mistake now and then, but with the amount of corkscrews we all have handled, collected, examined, read about, drooled over in other collections or in the various books published, to find something different can lead to a few questions.

Is this real?

Is this made up?

Is this a one of?

Is this of recent vintage?

Should I throw caution to the wind, and take a chance that this is something special?

I threw.

Some of these questions have crossed my mind since I made the purchase. I have sent pictures to a few folk, and none have seen similar. That said, Joe Paradi has done presentations on the “only one known.” And, these corkscrews are not usually called into question. And, it is during these presentations that what was the only one known, an Addict might say, “Joe, I have that one too.”

Is there another Sampson Mordan corkscrew out there. I would guess so, but might it be in a Sampson Mordan’s collectors collection, rather than in one of the usual suspects’ collections.

So, let’s work under the assumption–given the asking price, and the signature on the piece, that it does have a certain age to it. Sampson Mordan was a known silversmith, and in later years, “S. Mardon & Co.” was used on many silver items.

Sampson Mordan was also awarded many patents, any several of these pertained to the mechanical pencils that he created. Still, many of his other patents were for cases for tools and the like. And, he certainly knew what a corkscrew looked like, as some of his mechanical pencils were shaped like corkscrews.


And, there is the fact that Sampson Mordan made scent bottles as well. If one has a scent bottle in silver, one would have to open a bottle (most likely with a cork) so said scent could be added to that Sampson Mordan scent bottle.



So for the time being, I am going to believe this to be real and original. And, hopefully in the coming weeks, more answers will present themselves.

Happy B-day to me…

Okay, my birthday was two months ago, but the other day a belated birthday gift from Tommy arrived, with a note that read:



Knew what I wanted to give you but couldn’t find it… Found it! Happy birthday Brother. See you in a few weeks.


Thanks Tommy, and I can’t wait until we meet up in Madrid!

What was in the box you ask?

A few years ago, at the JFO in Las Vegas (with Tommy), I found this same piece, but moved it along. And, I have since been on the hunt for another one. It actually attaches to a Napier bar tool / spoon. And, on one trip to Brimfield, I found the complete piece.


The blue ribbon was a nice touch…


Thanks TC!!!

Now the hunt for the appropriate Napier spoon can start.

Another nice grouping, and a best 6 candidate…

The other day reader, PW, sent in a photo of his obsession (and a collection within his collection) that of Thomasons. Fabulous collection PW!


Keep those photos coming!

On another corkscrew note, or cork puller note rather, I came home the other day from the wine shop, and there was a voicemail from BT, he had run into a hard to find cork puller, but since it was a double for him, wondered if we might work out a trade over a brief phone call.

On the voicemail, he laid out what he was looking for.  It all sounded fair to me, so I picked up the phone, in a couple of minutes, the deal was done (trading with Tommy or RL takes a bit longer than that, months sometimes).

So, in short order a nice cork puller will be heading to the collection. It is a pretty hard piece to come by, and a patent. Kahlen and Jordan’s design patent of 1948. When found, the sheath is marked BOTTLEKING.








Kahlen and Jordan’s patent description explains that, “…we respectively, Fritz Kahlen, a citizen of Germany, residing at New York, in the county of New York and State of New York, and Peter P. Jordan, a citizen of the United States of America, and residing at Jackson Heights, in the county of Queens and State of New York, have invented a new, original, and ornamental Design for a Combined Bottle Opener and Cork Remover, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, forming a part thereof.”

In the patent drawings they provide several illustrations.

Figure 1 is a front elevational view of a combined bottle opener and cork remover, showing our new design,



Figure 2 is a side elevational view of the device shown in Figure ‘1,


Figure 3 is an exploded view of the device shown in Figure 1,


Figure 4 is a side elevational view of the device as shown in Figure 3.



A great addition to the collection!

Thanks for the trade BT!

The Bottleking Cork Puller, could very well make the best 6 of the year!


That is one ugly corkscrew Ian…

This just in from Ian Hunter:

I reckon I’ve nailed it! In the hand it’s even uglier than it looks. The nails feel seriously gross!

This is no grapevine rubbish. It’s marked with a registered design number (Australian). And also marked “Australian Kangaroo paw”. A genuine quality item made in Melbourne in the 70’s I believe:



Sometimes comes with a can punch;


It also has great provenance. Purchased from the Nick Hunt Collection in a moment of weakness (Nick’s….) in 2008 for a mouth watering 30 bucks….

I’m sure Nick made a good profit.

I was also sure that I had the winning entry until I googled “Kangaroo paw corkscrew” and found this beauty!

and don’t miss the video:

I’ve seen them before and never bought one. But I’ve just ordered one now to make sure I don’t have any fresh competition…..

Thanks for the note Ian, those are some ugly corkscrews!

Nice Grouping


As mentioned yesterday, there are certain corkscrews (or types of corkscrews) that can become a bit of an obsession; collections without our collections. And, Don Bull sent in a grouping of his ring handled corkscrews:



Nice grouping Don!

What group of corkscrews do you obsessively collect?


The ugliest corkscrew, beyond Don’s submission, which just begs for me to do my best Ian Hunter impression, “It’s a piece of shit…really,” hasn’t garnered many photos.

(for those that don’t know Ian, please feel free to do your best Australian accent here)

So, let’s come up with an alternative.

You have submitted your favorite. And, a few of you even gave a reason why.

So, let’s take the favorite another way. What is your obsession, that guilty pleasure, that group of corkscrews or type of corkscrews that you are excited to find, but might be less than desirable to other collectors.

As all of you well know, I am obsessed with Frary corkscrews. I have also been obsessed with Syroco, Detroit/Puddefoot, Curley, Mumford, etc., but Frary certainly is the thing:


And, while the Frarys do have a bit of value and are fairly rare, I also go after Converse cork pullers.

These don’t carry a huge value, but I love finding oddball advertising on them. And, I am guessing that most collectors might find it a little odd to have 15-20 Converses laying around.

And, I keep looking for more…

Ian has a thing for Adelaides. And, we all know Tommy has more Flashes than anyone in the world. For BT it is signed Clough medicine wires. But, what is your guilty pleasure. What corkscrew, of the more or less common variety, have you become obsessed with?

Feel free to send pictures and comments to

Ugly Corkscrews

It has been fun receiving the multiple “favorite” corkscrew submissions, and maybe we can keep it going, but in a different direction.

I was emailing back and forth with AB, not AB from Rochester mind you, but AB from the DC area, and we were chatting about ugly corkscrews that are in our respective collections. Not those silly grapevine handled corkscrews, but those corkscrews that we have, but are…well…not particularly attractive.

Much to his chagrin, I put the Syroco Golden Knight in that category.

Is it rare, sure. Is it aesthetically pleasing? Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when I got my fist one, I did think it looked like a hood ornament from a 77 Monte Carlo.  Not that the 77 Monte Carlo had a hood ornament, but if it did…

Or perhaps, it resembles a wayward award for some acting accomplishment–best supporting portrayal of a knight whilst engaging in cinematic fisticuffs.

Whenever I do pick it up, I do feel compelled to thank the academy…


Still, I have a Syroco Knight in the collection, which stands proudly, and somewhat hood-ornamently, with the other Syrocos in the collection–he also is still adorned with the five dollar price tag from when I bought him. To this day, it brings a smile to my face, knowing that on a shelf in some random antique mall, such things can be found.

And, that the academy enjoyed my performance…

So, I will ask all of you. what is the ugly corkscrew in your collection–no grapevines.

What rare or hard to find corkscrew, when it arrived, or when you first got it in your hands, did you say, “really???”

Maybe it is a poor mechanism. Maybe it is just less than aesthetically pleasing. Maybe it just was poorly made. What say you?

Feel free to send pictures, and a few comments to

Definitely Not my favorite

Every once in a while, an item that is thought to be rare or unusual and looks like it could be corkscrew, is advertised as a rare corkscrew. And, having not seen it before, it garners some attention.

Yesterday, one of these rare corkscrew imposters was listed on eBay as “DATED-1880-Corkscrew-Cork-Pull-Screw-Wooden-Handle-Vtg-Old-Antique-RARE-COLLECT.”


And, the piece does indeed have a patent date. However, if one was to simply do a google patent search, you would find out that this is NOT a corkscrew, cork puller, or a “Corkscrew-Cork-Pull-Screw-Wooden-Handle-Vtg-Old-Antique-RARE-COLLECT.”

What it is, is Spencer C Cary’s July 27, 1880 patent for a “Clothes Hook.” In fact, if one was to use google patents, and search July 27, 1880 it is the very first patent that comes up.


Given this bit of information, as I too wondered what it really was, I messaged the seller that what he was selling wasn’t a corkscrew at all, and provided him with a link to google patents.

He responded by explaining that he would revise the listing. Of course, his revision only says it is an unknown piece. I followed up with telling him, that given that we have established that the item is NOT a corkscrew, that he should end the listing and re-list with an appropriate title and description.

The “Corkscrew-Cork-Pull-Screw-Wooden-Handle-Vtg-Old-Antique-RARE-COLLECT” remains, and it has 13 bids at this moment.

Perhaps the bidders recognize that it is a Clothes Hook, and are bidding for that reason. Still, would it not be better to provide the appropriate information?

In the past I have blogged about not having a buyer beware attitude, but instead making an informed buying approach.

So, if you are in the market for a 1880’s clothes hook, by all means bid away.

If you are hoping to acquire a 1880’s patented corkscrew look elsewhere.