Best 6 for 2015

I know that we still have a couple of weeks until the year ends, but given that several Addicts have been sending out their Best Sixes, I went back through the many many corkscrews I have acquired this year, and narrowed the list from 16, to 12, to 8, and to 7.

After thinking about the best fit in the collection, along with some pieces that I have long been after, I finally got it to 6.

I will add here, that there have been many many great corkscrews that have come my way this year, and let’s hope 2016 is similar!

And, here are the best 6 for 2015!


1 – James D. Frary nickel-plated decorative handle corkscrew with bell assist and spike, but with no hammer. This makes the 21st variation within my collection of Frarys (see L’Africain, 2010 and L’Africain, 2013 )

2 – Empire corkscrew, made by the Empire Portable Forge Company of Lansingburgh, NY. Advertisements from the time, explain that Empire Forge was making Curley’s corkscrews, but clearly they adapted the design as well. Note there is no movable bell or moveable screw. Instead of utilizing that principle of Curley’s designs, the screw present on the Empire allows for the worm to be replaced. The resemblance to the Curley with the patent date, however, is remarkable. Embossed EMPIRE across the handle, with no other markings.


3 – 1933 William S. Elter’s patent (# 1,906,454) Culinary Tong; a combination tool with canning jar lift hooks, a serrated jar wrench, can opener, crown cap lifter and wire helix, marked “VISE-O-LIFT INC. PAT PEND DAYTON, OHIO U.S.A.” (See Morris, 2012 )

vise-o-lift mark

4 – 1882 J. Henry Zeilin patent (#254,760) Dose Cup Bottle Stopper. In his patent description he explains, “The cup may be made of metal, glass, or any other suitable material…” I think the glass cup on this one is quite suitable. Unmarked, except for a line on the glass denoting how high to fill the cup (See O’Leary, 1996, p. 63).


5 – Oversized Walker Bell. As mentioned in my 2010 Best Six, which included the oversized Williamson, at the 2010 ICCA AGM, Paul Luchsinger presented evidence that the oversized Walker and Williamson were designed to pull a cork from a demijohn of Welch’s juice—note that the bell and shaft on the Walker is one solid piece.

6 – 1914 Josephine M. Spielbauer patent (#1,116,509) Cap Remover. In doing research into Miss Josephine, little information has come to light. What we do know, is her father owned a boarding house and saloon, and perhaps an improved cap remover (with corkscrew) could prove useful in her father’s bar. Marked “Rainier BEER” and “PAT. PEND” (See O’Leary, 1996, p. 244 and Morris, 2012, )


Here is to a great year of corkscrew collecting!

Good Hunting Everyone!

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